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https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2020-14
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2020-14
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 03 Feb 2020

Submitted as: research article | 03 Feb 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal BG.

Atmospheric deposition of organic matter at a remote site in the Central Mediterranean Sea: implications for marine ecosystem

Yuri Galletti1, Silvia Becagli2, Alcide di Sarra3, Margherita Gonnelli1, Elvira Pulido-Villena4, Damiano M. Sferlazzo3, Rita Traversi2, Stefano Vestri1, and Chiara Santinelli1 Yuri Galletti et al.
  • 1CNR, Biophysics Institute, Pisa, Italy
  • 2Department of Chemistry "Ugo Schiff", University of Florence, Italy
  • 3Laboratory for Observations and Analyses of the Earth and Climate (SSPT-PROTER-OAC), ENEA, Rome, Italy
  • 4Institut Méditerranéen d'Océanologie, MIO – Marseille, France

Abstract. Atmospheric fluxes of dissolved organic matter (DOM) were studied for the first time at the Island of Lampedusa, a remote site in the Central Mediterranean Sea (Med Sea), close to the Sahara desert, between 19 March 2015 and 1 April 2017. The main goals of this work are: to quantify total atmospheric deposition of DOM in this area and to evaluate the impact of dust deposition on DOM dynamics in the surface waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Our data show high variability in DOM deposition rates without a clear seasonality and allow to estimate a dissolved organic carbon (DOC) input from the atmosphere of 120.7 mmol DOC m−2 yr−1. Over the entire time-series, the average dissolved organic phosphorous (DOP) and dissolved organic nitrogen (DON) contributions to the total dissolved pools were 40 % and 26 %, respectively. The data on atmospheric elemental ratios also show that each deposition event is characterized by a specific elemental ratio, suggesting a high variability in DOM composition and the presence of multiple sources. This study indicates that the organic substances transported by Saharan dust at Lampedusa site mainly have natural origin, especially from sea spray and that Saharan dust can be an important carrier of organic substances, even if the load of DOC associated with dust is highly variable. Our estimates suggest that atmospheric input has an impact to the Med Sea larger than to the global ocean and that DOC fluxes from the atmosphere to the Med Sea can be up to 6-fold larger than river input. Longer time series, combined with a modelling effort, are therefore mandatory in order to investigate the response of DOM dynamics in the Med Sea to the change in aerosol deposition pattern due to the effect of climate change.

Yuri Galletti et al.

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Yuri Galletti et al.

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