Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Environmental Analysis

Second Department


Reader 1

Charles Taylor

Reader 2

Malkiat Johal

Reader 3

Elizabeth Stone

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2024 David C Gorman


Sea spray aerosols (SSA), formed by the bursting of bubbles at the sea-air interface, are important regulators of atmospheric chemistry and climate. SSA make significant contributions to the total aerosol mass of the atmosphere, impact earth’s radiation balance, and react with various atmospheric elements and compounds. To develop accurate climate models, it is critical to understand the molecular composition of SSA, as it differs from seawater. Various factors, such as complexation with organic species, air-water interface accumulation, and marine organismal emission lead to the enrichment of metals and inorganic ions in SSA. In this study, we aimed to identify and quantify this enrichment as a function of both particle size and wind speed via high-performance ion-exchange chromatography and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Samples were collected using Scripps Ocean Atmosphere Research Simulator (SOARS)4 and concentrations of these inorganic and metallic species were used to calculate molecular enrichment relative to seawater. Our findings revealed a direct relationship between analyte concentration and wind speed, and while enrichment varied significantly by species, smaller aerosols were typically more enriched than larger ones. Additionally, transition metals enrichment was considerably greater than that of alkali and alkali earth metal, likely due to its higher charge and ability to complex with organic matter. Understanding enrichment of metals and inorganic ions in sea spray aerosols gives insight into its governing mechanisms helps explain oceanic influences on atmospheric processes. Our novel quantification will aid in the development of more accurate climate models necessary for the fight against climate change.

Available for download on Thursday, April 22, 2027

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.