Sea surface microlayer

Sea surface microlayer

The sea surface microlayer (SML) is the top 1000 micrometers (or 1 millimeter) of the ocean surface. It is the boundary layer where all exchange occurs between the atmosphere and the ocean.[1] The chemical, physical, and biological properties of the SML differ greatly from the sub-surface water just a few centimeters beneath.[2]


  • Overview of Properties 1
  • Health and Environment 2
  • Measurement 3
  • References 4

Overview of Properties

Organic compounds such as [1][7] Bubbles generate the major portion of marine aerosols.[6][8][9] They can be dispersed to heights of several meters, picking up whatever particles latch on to their surface. However, the major supplier of materials comes from the SML.[3]

Health and Environment

Extensive research has shown that the SML contains elevated concentration of

  1. ^ a b c d e f Liss, P.S., Duce, R.A., 1997. The Sea Surface and Global Change. Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge.
  2. ^ a b c Zhang, Zhengbin et al. (2003). Studies on the sea surface microlayer II. The layer of sudden change of physical and chemical properties. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science. 264, 148-159.
  3. ^ a b c Aller, J., Kuznetsova, M., Jahns, C., Kemp, P. The sea surface microlayer as a source of viral and bacterial enrichment in marine aerosols. Marine Sciences Research Center. Journal of aerosol science. Vol. 36, pp. 553-812.
  4. ^ a b Carlson, David J. (1983). Dissolved Organic Materials in Surface Microlayers: Temporal and Spatial Variability and Relation to Sea State. Limnology and Oceanography, 28.3. 415-431
  5. ^ Carlson, David J. (1982). Surface microlayer phenolic enrichments indicate sea surface slicks. Nature. 296.1. 426-429.
  6. ^ a b Woodcock, A. (1953). Salt nuclei in marine air as a function of altitude and wind force. Journal of Meteorology, 10, 362–371.
  7. ^ a b Wallace Jr., G.T., Duce, R.A., 1978. Transport of particulateorganic matter by bubbles in marine waters. Limnol. Oceanogr. 23 Ž6., 1155–1167.
  8. ^ Gustafsson, M. E. R., & Franzen, L. G. (2000). Inland transport of marine aerosols in southern Sweden. Atmospheric Environments, 34, 313–325.
  9. ^ Grammatika, M., & Zimmerman,W. B. (2001). Microhydrodynamics offloatation process in the sea surface layer. Dynamics of Atmospheres and Ocean, 34, 327–348.
  10. ^ Blanchard, D.C., 1983. The production, distribution and bacterial enrichment of the sea-salt aerosol. In: Liss, P.S., Slinn, W.G.N. ŽEds.., Air–Sea Exchange of Gases and Particles. D. Reidel Publishing Co., Dordrecht, Netherlands, pp. 407-444.
  11. ^ Hoffmann, G.L., Duce, R.A., Walsh, P.R., Hoffmann, E.J., Ray, B.J., 1974. Residence time of some particulate trace metals in the oceanic surface microlayer: significance of atmospheric deposition. J. Rech. Atmos. 8, 745–759.
  12. ^ Hunter, K.A., 1980. Process affecting particulate trace metals in the sea surface microlayer. Mar. Chem. 9, 49–70.
  13. ^ Hardy, J.T., Word, J., 1986. Contamination of the water surface of Puget Sound. Puget Sound Notes, U.S. EPA. Region 10 Seattle, WA, pp. 3–6.
  14. ^ WHO, 1998. Draft guidelines for safe recreational water environments: coastal and fresh waters, draft for consultation. World Health Organization, Geneva, EOSrDRAFTr98 14, pp. 207–299.
  15. ^ Klassen, R. D., & Roberge, P. R. (1999). Aerosol transport modeling as an aid to understanding atmospheric corrosivity patterns. Materials & Design, 20, 159–168.
  16. ^ Moorthy, K. K., Satheesh, S. K., & Krishna Murthy, B.V. (1998). Characteristics ofspectral optical depths and size distributions of aerosols over tropical oceanic regions. Journal of Atmospheric and Solar–Terrestrial Physics, 60, 981–992.
  17. ^ Chow, J. C., Watson, J. G., Green, M. C., Lowenthal, D. H., Bates, B., Oslund, W., & Torre, G. (2000). Cross-border transport and spatial variability of suspended particles in Mexicali and California’s Imperial Valley. Atmospheric Environment, 34, 1833–1843.
  18. ^ a b Marks, R., Kruczalak, K., Jankowska, K., & Michalska, M. (2001). Bacteria and fungi in air over the GulfofGdansk and Baltic sea. Journal of Aerosol Science, 32, 237–250.
  19. ^ Cincinelli A.; Stortini A.M.; Perugini M.; Checchini L.; Lepri L., 2001. Organic Pollutants in sea-surface microlayer and aerosol in the coastal environment Of Leghorn- (Tyrrhenian Sea). Marine Chemistry, Volume 76, Number 1, pp. 77-98(22)
  20. ^ Harvey, George W. (1966). Microlayer Collection from the Sea Surface: A New Method and Initial Results. Limnology and Oceanography, 11.4. 608-613


Devices used to sample the concentrations of particulates and compounds of the SML include a glass fabric, metal mesh screens, and other hydrophobic surfaces. These are placed on a rotating cylinder which collects surface samples as it rotates on top of the ocean surface.[20]


[18] It was also noted that the process which transfers this material to the atmosphere causes further enrichment in both bacteria and viruses in comparison to either the SML or sub-surface waters (up to three orders of magnitude in some locations).[19] was the result of chemicals found in the SML.Livorno in 1999 revealed that signals of pollution from chemicals of petrogenic origin in the harbor of Tyrrhenian Sea A month long study done by scientists in the [18] Evidence suggests that bacteria can remain viable after being transported inland through aerosols. Some reached as far as 200 meters at 30 meters above sea level.[3] These aerosols are able to remain suspended in the atmosphere for about 31 days.[17][16][15] Marine aerosols that contain viruses can travel hundreds of kilometers from their source and remain in liquid form as long as the humidity is high enough (over 70%).[14] can be transported long distances to coastal regions. If they hit land they can have detrimental effects on animals, vegetation and human health.microbes When airborne, these [7].volatilisation These materials can be transferred from the sea-surface to the atmosphere in the form of wind-generated aqueous aerosols due to their high vapor tension and a process known as [13][12][11][10][1]