** Progress in Earth and Planetary Science is the official journal of the Japan Geoscience Union, published in collaboration with its 50 society members.

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    Progress in Earth and Planetary Science

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    Atmospheric and hydrospheric sciences


    Evaluation of aerosol iron solubility over Australian coastal regions based on inverse modeling: implications of bushfires on bioaccessible iron concentrations in the Southern Hemisphere

    Ito A, Perron M.M.G, Proemse, B.C, Strzelec M, Gault-Ringold M, Boyd P.W, Bowie A. R

    Mineral dust, Bushfire, Coal mine, Climate change, Bioaccessible iron, Labile iron

    Variability in the a posteriori model contribution of (a) missing source, (b) lithogenic source, and (c) pyrogenic source to labile Fe concentration in aerosols (%).

    Mineral dust is the major source of external micro-nutrients such as iron (Fe) to the open ocean. However, large uncertainties in model estimates of Fe emissions and aerosol-bearing Fe solubility (i.e., the ratio of labile Fe (LFe) to total Fe (TFe)) in the Southern Hemisphere (SH) hampered accurate estimates of atmospheric delivery of bioavailable Fe to the Southern Ocean. This study applied an inverse modeling technique to a global aerosol chemistry transport model (IMPACT) in order to optimize predictions of mineral aerosol Fe concentrations based on recent observational data over Australian coastal regions (110°E–160°E and 10°S–41°S). The optimized (a posteriori) model did not only better capture aerosol TFe concentrations downwind from Australian dust outbreak but also successfully reproduced enhanced Fe solubility (7.8 ± 8.4%) and resulted in much better agreement of LFe concentrations with the field measurements (1.4 ± 1.5 vs. 1.4 ± 2.3 ng Fe m–3). The a posteriori model estimates suggested that bushfires contributed a large fraction of LFe concentrations in aerosols, although substantial contribution from missing sources (e.g., coal mining activities, volcanic eruption, and secondary formation) was still inferred. These findings may have important implications for the projection of future micro-nutrient supply to the oceans as increasing frequency and intensity of open biomass burning are projected in the SH.