Project

Aquatic Aerosols

Goal: To advance our knowledge of spray aerosol emission beyond the long-established research area pertaining to sea spray aerosols (SSA).

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Project log

Hosein Foroutan
added a research item
Multirotor sUAS wind sensing capabilities are effective for resolving onshore and offshore atmospheric flow variations in aquatic environments where airborne hazardous agents threaten downwind communities.
Hosein Foroutan
added 2 research items
Little is known about the transport and fate of aerosolized particles associated with harmful algal blooms (HABs). An Airborne DROne Particle-monitoring System (AirDROPS) was developed and used to monitor, collect,...
Lake spray aerosols (LSAs) are generated from freshwater breaking waves in a mechanism similar to their saltwater counterparts, sea spray aerosols (SSAs). Unlike the well-established research field pertaining to SSAs, studying LSAs is an emerging research topic due to their potential impacts on regional cloud processes and their association with the aerosolization of freshwater pathogens. A better understanding of these climatic and public health impacts requires the inclusion of LSA emission in atmospheric models, yet a major hurdle to this inclusion is the lack of a lake spray source function (LSSF), namely an LSA emission parameterization. Here, we develop an LSSF based on measurements of foam area and the corresponding LSA emission flux in a marine aerosol reference tank (MART). A sea spray source function (SSSF) is also developed for comparison. The developed LSSF and SSSF are then implemented in the Community Multiscale Air Quality (CMAQ) model to simulate particle emissions from the Great Lakes surface from 10 to 30 November 2016. Measurements in the MART revealed that the average SSA total number concentration was 8 times higher than that of LSA. Over the 0.01–10 µm aerosol diameter size range, the developed LSSF was around 1 order of magnitude lower than the SSSF and around 2 orders of magnitude lower for aerosols with diameters between 1 and 3 µm. Model results revealed that LSA emission flux from the Great Lakes surface can reach ∼105 m−2 s−1 during an episodic event of high wind speeds. These emissions only increased the average total aerosol number concentrations in the region by up to 1.65 %, yet their impact on coarse-mode aerosols was much more significant, with up to a 19-fold increase in some areas. The increase in aerosol loading was mostly near the source region, yet LSA particles were transported up to 1000 km inland. Above the lakes, LSA particles reached the cloud layer, where the total and coarse-mode particle concentrations increased by up to 3 % and 98 %, respectively. Overall, this study helps quantify LSA emission and its impact on regional aerosol loading and the cloud layer.
Hosein Foroutan
added a research item
Freshwater harmful algal blooms (HABs), caused mostly by toxic cyanobacteria, produce a range of cyanotoxins that threaten the health of humans and domestic animals. Climate conditions and anthropogenic influences such as agricultural run-off can alter the onset and intensity of HABs. Little is known about the distribution and spread of freshwater HABs. Current sampling protocols in some lakes involve teams of researchers that collect samples by hand from a boat and/or from the shoreline. Water samples can be collected from the surface, from discrete-depth collections, and/or from depth-integrated intervals. These collections are often restricted to certain months of the year, and generally are only performed at a limited number of collection sites. In lakes with active HABs, surface samples are generally sufficient for HAB water quality assessments. We used a unique DrOne Water Sampling SystEm (DOWSE) to collect water samples from the surface of three different HABs in Ohio (Grand Lake St Marys, GLSM and Lake Erie) and Virginia (Lake Anna), United States in 2019. The DOWSE consisted of a 3D-printed sampling device tethered to a drone (uncrewed aerial system, or UAS), and was used to collect surface water samples at different distances (10–100 m) from the shore or from an anchored boat. One hundred and eighty water samples (40 at GLSM, 20 at Lake Erie, and 120 at Lake Anna) were collected and analyzed from 18 drone flights. Our methods included testing for cyanotoxins, phycocyanin, and nutrients from surface water samples. Mean concentrations of microcystins (MCs) in drone water samples were 15.00, 1.92, and 0.02 ppb for GLSM, Lake Erie, and Lake Anna, respectively. Lake Anna had low levels of anatoxin in nearly all (111/120) of the drone water samples. Mean concentrations of phycocyanin in drone water samples were 687, 38, and 62 ppb for GLSM, Lake Erie, and Lake Anna, respectively. High levels of total phosphorus were observed in the drone water samples from GLSM (mean of 0.34 mg/L) and Lake Erie (mean of 0.12 mg/L). Lake Anna had the highest variability of total phosphorus with concentrations that ranged from 0.01 mg/L to 0.21 mg/L, with a mean of 0.06 mg/L. Nitrate levels varied greatly across sites, inverse with bloom biomass, ranging from below detection to 3.64 mg/L, with highest mean values in Lake Erie followed by GLSM and Lake Anna, respectively. Drones offer a rapid, targeted collection of water samples from virtually anywhere on a lake with an active HAB without the need for a boat which can disturb the surrounding water. Drones are, however, limited in their ability to operate during inclement weather such as rain and heavy winds. Collectively, our results highlight numerous opportunities for drone-based water sampling technologies to track, predict, and respond to HABs in the future.
Hosein Foroutan
added 2 research items
The evolution of air bubbles after breaking waves plays an important role in gas and particle exchange between water bodies and the atmosphere. To improve our understanding of the impacts of salinity on this process, we systematically investigate the effect of salt concentrations ranging from 0 to 40 g/kg on the volume and size distributions of subsurface bubble plumes and surface foams in a laboratory breaking wave analog. Our experimental setup utilizes an intermittent plunging sheet to simulate breaking waves, while two synchronized digital cameras were used to monitor the temporal evolution of bubble plumes and surface foams. We first highlight the importance of plunging sheet intermittency on surface foam evolution. We then show that increasing salinity enhances the entrainment of submillimeter bubbles but has a less significant effect on larger supramillimeter bubbles. We observed that the foam area in saltier waters is consistently higher than that in freshwater throughout the foam decay phase. Furthermore, our investigation of surface bubble sizes shows that salinity has a more distinct effect on smaller (sub 2 mm) than on larger bubbles. This suggests that salinity may have a more pronounced impact on jet than on film drops ejection mechanisms. Finally, we conclude that the change in salinity within the typical oceanographic range is likely not a major factor for bubble‐mediated interactions at the water surface during breaking waves. However, even low‐salt concentrations greatly alter air entrainment characteristics in freshwater systems.
Increases in the salt concentration of freshwater result in detrimental impacts on water quality and ecosystem biodiversity. Biodiversity effects include freshwater microbiota, as increasing salinity can induce shifts in the structure of native freshwater bacterial communities, which could disturb their role in mediating basal ecosystem services. Moreover, salinity affects the wave breaking and bubble-bursting mechanisms via which water-to-air dispersal of bacteria occurs. Given this dual effect of freshwater salinity on waterborne bacterial communities and their aerosolization mechanism, further effects on aerosolized bacterial diversity and abundance are anticipated. Cumulative salt additions in the freshwater-euhaline continuum (0-35 g/kg) were administered to a freshwater sample aerosolized inside a breaking wave analogue tank. Waterborne and corresponding airborne bacteria were sampled at each salinity treatment and later analyzed for diversity and abundance. Results demonstrated that the airborne bacterial community was significantly different (PERMANOVA; F1,22 = 155.1, r2 = 0.38, p < 0.001) from the waterborne community. The relative aerosolization factor (r-AF), defined as the air-to-water relative abundance ratio, revealed that different bacterial families exhibited either an enhanced (r-AF ≫ 1), neutral (r-AF ∼ 1), or diminished (r-AF ≪ 1) transfer to the aerosol phase throughout the salinization gradient. Going from freshwater to euhaline conditions, aerosolized bacterial abundance exhibited a nonmonotonic response with a maximum peak at lower oligohaline conditions (0.5-1 g/kg), a decline at higher oligohaline conditions (5 g/kg), and a moderate increase at polyhaline-euhaline conditions (15-35 g/kg). Our results demonstrate that increases in freshwater salinity are likely to influence the abundance and diversity of aerosolized bacteria. These shifts in aerosolized bacterial communities might have broader implications on public health by increasing exposure to airborne pathogens via inhalation. Impacts on regional climate, related to changes in biological ice-nucleating particles (INPs) emission from freshwater, are also expected.
Hosein Foroutan
added a project goal
To advance our knowledge of spray aerosol emission beyond the long-established research area pertaining to sea spray aerosols (SSA).