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New constraints on the global distribution of sea salt aerosols

Sea salt aerosols are significant players in the climate and chemistry of the marine atmosphere. These aerosol dominate the global top-of-the-atmosphere clear-sky radiative forcing over the oceans and are a major source of cloud condensation nuclei. In addition, sea salt aerosols affect the concentrations of many trace gases in the marine boundary layer. Despite their importance, sea salt aerosols remain one of the most poorly constrained aerosols in the global atmosphere, both in terms of their emissions and atmospheric burdens. In this talk, I will combine in situ measurements of sea salt aerosols from open ocean cruises and ground-based stations together with aerosol optical depth observations from MODIS and AERONET, and the GEOS-Chem global chemical transport model to provide new constraints on sea salt aerosol emissions over the world’s oceans. I will present evidence for a consistent sea surface temperature dependence of coarse mode sea salt aerosol emissions across multiple datasets, in addition to the well-known wind speed dependence.