journal article

Air–sea exchange and atmospheric deposition of phthalate esters in the South China Sea


Phthalate esters (PAEs) have been investigated in paired air and seawater samples collected onboard the research vessel SONNE in the South China Sea in the summer of 2019. The concentrations of ∑7PAEs ranged from 2.84 to 24.3 ng/m3 with a mean of 9.67 ± 5.86 ng/m3 in air and from 0.96 to 8.35 ng/L with a mean of 3.05 ng/L in seawater. Net air-to-seawater deposition dominated air–sea exchange fluxes of DiBP, DnBP, DMP, and DEP, while strong water-to-air volatilization was estimated for bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP). The estimated net atmospheric depositions were 3740 t/y for the sum of DMP, DEP, DiBP, and DnBP, but DEHP volatilized from seawater to air with an average of 900 t/y. The seasonally changing monsoon circulation, currents, and cyclones occurring in the Pacific can significantly influence the concentration of PAEs, and alter the direction and magnitude of air–sea exchange and particle deposition fluxes. Consequently, the dynamic air–sea exchange process may drive the transport of PAEs from marginal seas and estuaries toward remote marine environments, which can play an important role in the environmental transport and cycling of PAEs in the global ocean.
QR Code: Link to publication