Please wait a minute...
img img
Adv. Search
Advances in Earth Science  2010, Vol. 25 Issue (7): 682-690    DOI: 10.11867/j.issn.1001-8166.2010.07.0682
Atmospheric Deposition of Nutrients and Trace Elements to the Coastal Oceans: A Review
Chen Ying, Zhuang Guoshun, Guo Zhigang
Center for Atmospheric Chemistry Study, Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, China
Download:  PDF (1047KB) 
Export:  BibTeX | EndNote (RIS)      

Atmospheric transport and deposition of pollutants to the coastal oceans increase dramatically due to the impacts of climate change and human activities. The paper summarizes a number of researches after 1997 on the atmospheric inputs of nutrients and trace elements to the world coastal oceans with emphasis on the eastern China seas. The atmospheric fluxes of nitrogen and phosphorus to the coastal oceans range from 13 to 73 mmol N /(m2·a) and 0.11 to 1.6 mmol P /(m2·a), respectively. North Sea appears to be influenced by relatively higher atmospheric flux of nitrogen (70 mmol N /(m2·a)) compared to the eastern coast of North America (50 mmol N /(m2·a)) and eastern China seas (50 mmol N /(m2·a)). Mediterranean Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba (Red Sea) receive the lowest fluxes of nitrogen as well as phosphorus from the atmosphere. The deposition fluxes of trace elements vary significantly in both time and space with the highest flux approximately 3 orders of magnitude higher than the lowest one. The flux variations of crustaldominated trace elements such as Al and Fe are strongly related to the dust transport and agricultural activities of adjacent land, while atmospheric fluxes of non-crustal trace elements like Cd, Zn and Pb are mainly determined by industrial and mobile emissions. Atmospheric inputs of trace elements can partly dissolve into the seawater with the solubility ranging from a few percent to >50% and that portion may become bioavailable and thereby influence the costal ecosystem. For many coastal oceans including East China Sea and Yellow Sea, atmospheric fluxes of nutrients and certain trace elements may exceed their riverine inputs. Atmospheric deposition contributes significantly to the coastal eutrophication, and its episodic nature can enhance primary productivity within a short period, which may induce a harmful algal bloom (red tide). Trace element deposition may have toxic effects on specific phytoplankton and influence both primary productivity and ecosystem structure of the coastal area. Further studies should be conducted for accurate estimation of atmospheric fluxes of various pollutants to the coastal oceans and for understanding their roles in marine phytoplankton growth. 

Key words:  Coastal Ocean      Atmospheric deposition      Nutrients      Trace elements      Eutrophication     
Received:  05 May 2009      Published:  10 July 2010
Corresponding Authors:  Chen Ying     E-mail:
E-mail this article
Add to my bookshelf
Add to citation manager
E-mail Alert
Articles by authors

Cite this article: 

Chen Ying, Zhuang Guoshun, Guo Zhigang. Atmospheric Deposition of Nutrients and Trace Elements to the Coastal Oceans: A Review. Advances in Earth Science, 2010, 25(7): 682-690.

URL:     OR

[1] Brown C, Corcoran E, Herkenrath P, et al. Marine and Coastal Ecosystems and Human Wellbeing: A Synthesis Report Based on the Findings of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment[M]. UNEP, 2006: 76.
[2] Zhou Mingjiang, Zhu Mingyuan, Zhang Jing. Status of harmful algal blooms and related research activities in China[J].Chinese Bulletin of Life Sciences,2001, 13(2): 54-59.[周名江, 朱明远, 张经. 中国赤潮的发生趋势和研究进展[J]. 生命科学, 2001, 13(2): 54-59.]
[3] Liu Qingchun, Qian Huanshui. International geosphere-biosphere program: Progress and prospect[J].Meteorological Technology and Science,2005, 33(1): 91-95.[刘清春, 千怀遂. 国际地圈—生物圈计划研究进展和展望[J].气象科技, 2005, 33(1): 91-95.]
[4] Duce R A, Liss P S, Merrill J T, et al. The atmospheric input of trace species to the world ocean[J]. Global Biogeochemical Cycles,1991, 5: 193-259.
[5] Paerl H W. Coastal eutrophication and harmful algal blooms: Importance of atmospheric deposition and groundwater as “new” nitrogen and other nutrient sources[J].Limnology and Oceanography,1997, 42(5): 1 154-1 165.
[6] Gao Y A. Atmospheric nitrogen deposition to Barnegat Bay[J].Atmospheric Environment,2002, 36(38): 5 783-5 794.
[7] Jordan C E, Talbot R W. Direct atmospheric deposition of water-soluble nitrogen to the Gulf of Maine[J].Global Biogeochemical Cycles,2000, 14(4): 1 315-1 329.
[8] Poor N, Pribble R, Greening H. Direct wet and dry deposition of ammonia, nitric acid, ammonium and nitrate to the Tampa Bay Estuary, FL, USA[J].Atmospheric Environment,2001, 35(23): 3 947-3955.
[9] PradoFiedler R, Fuenzalida H A. Wet and dry deposition of nitrogen compounds in the southeast Pacific coast: Montemar, central Chile[J]. Journal of Geophysical Research,1996, 101(D17): 22 845-22 853.
[10] Paerl H W, Dennis R L, Whitall D R. Atmospheric deposition of nitrogen: Implications for nutrient over-enrichment of coastal waters[J]. Estuaries,2002, 25(4B): 677-693.
[11] Caccia V G, Boyer J N. A nutrient loading budget for Biscayne Bay, Florida[J]. Marine Pollution Bulletin,2007, 54(7): 994-1 008.
[12] Spokes L J, Jickells T D. Is the atmosphere really an important source of reactive nitrogen to coastal waters?[J].Continental Shelf Research,2005, 25(16): 2 022-2 035.
[13] Markaki Z, Oikonomou K, Kocak M, et al. Atmospheric deposition of inorganic phosphorus in the Levantine Basin, eastern Mediterranean: Spatial and temporal variability and its role in seawater productivity[J].Limnology and Oceanography,2003, 48(4): 1 557-1 568.
[14] Chen Y, Street J, Golan D, et al. Estimate of atmospheric dry deposition and associated input of nutrients to the Gulf of Aqaba seawater[J].Journal of Geophysical Research,2007, 112, D04309, doi: 10.1029/2006JD007858.
[15] Bartoli G, Migon C, Losno R, et al. Atmospheric input of dissolved inorganic phosphorus and silicon to the coastal northwestern Mediterranean Sea: Fluxes, variability and possible impact on phytoplankton dynamics[J].Deep-Sea Research Part I,2005, 52(11): 2 005-2 016.
[16] Russell K M, Galloway J N, Macko S A, et al. Sources of nitrogen in wet deposition to the Chesapeake Bay region[J]. Atmospheric Environment,1998, 32(14/15): 2 453-2 465.
[17] Shi Jinhui, Gao Huiwang, Zhang Jing. Atmospheric organic nitrogen deposition and significance in marine ecosystem[J].Advances in Earth Science,2006, 21(7): 721-729.[石金辉, 高会旺, 张经. 大气有机氮沉降及其对海洋生态系统的影响[J]. 地球科学进展, 2006, 21(7): 721-729.]
[18] Peierls B, Paerl H W. Bioavailability of atmospheric organic nitrogen deposition to coastal phytoplankton[J].Limnology and Oceanography,1997, 42: 1 819-1 823.
[19] Seitzinger S P, Sanders R W. Atmospheric inputs of dissolved organic nitrogen stimulate estuarine bacteria and phytoplankton[J].Limnology and Oceanography,1999, 44: 721-730.
[20] Zhang G, Zhang J, Liu S. Characterization of nutrients in the atmospheric wet and dry deposition observed at the two monitoring sites over Yellow Sea and East China Sea[J].Journal Atmospheric Chemistry,2007, 57: 41-57.
[21] Zhang J. Atmospheric wet deposition of nutrient elements: Correlation with harmful biological blooms in northwest Pacific Coastal Zones[J].Ambio,1994, 23(8): 173-189.
[22] Zhang J, Liu M G. Observations on nutrient elements and sulphate in atmospheric wet deposition over the northwest Pacific coastal oceans-Yellow Sea[J].Marine Chemistry,1994, 47: 173-189.
[23] Chung C S, Hong G H, Lim S H, et al. Shore based observation on wet deposition of inorganic nutrients in the Korean Yellow Sea coast[J].The Yellow Sea,1998, 4: 30-39.
[24] Zhang J, Yu Z G, Raabe T, et al. Dynamics of inorganic nutrient species in the Bohai seawaters[J].Journal of Marine Systems,2004, 44(3/4): 189-212.
[25] Nakamura T, Matsumoto K, Uematsu M. Chemical characteristics of aerosols transported from Asia to the East China Sea: An evaluation of anthropogenic combined nitrogen deposition in autumn[J].Atmospheric Environment,2005, 39(9):1 749-1 758.
[26] Uno I, Uematsu M, Hara Y, et al. Numerical study of the atmospheric input of anthropogenic total nitrate to the marginal seas in the western North Pacific region[J].Geophysical Research Letters,2007, 34, L17817, doi:10.1029/2007GL030338.
[27] Zhang Yan. The Transport of Atmospheric Nitrogen Compounds from the Continent and Their Deposition over the Ocean[D]. Shanghai: Fudan University, 2008.[张艳. 陆源大气含氮物质的传输与海域沉降研究[D]. 上海:复旦大学, 2008.]
[28] de Leeuw G, Spokes L, Jickells T, et al. Atmospheric nitrogen inputs into the North Sea: Effect on productivity[J].Continental Shelf Research,2003, 23(17/19):1 743-1 755.
[29] Carstensen J, Frohn L M, Hasager C B, et al. Summer algal blooms in a coastal ecosystem: The role of atmospheric deposition versus entrainment fluxes[J].Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science,2005, 62: 595-608.
[30] Chen H, Hung C, Fang T, et al. Dry deposition and particle-size distribution of phosphorus in the marine atmosphere over the northeastern coast of Taiwan[J].Continental Shelf Research,2008, 28: 756-766.
[31] Liu Sumei, Huang Weiwen, Zhang Jing, et al. Chemical characterization of atmospheric deposition at Qingdao 1. Trace elements[J].Marine Environmental Science,1991, 10(4): 21-28.[刘素美, 黄薇文, 张经,等.青岛地区大气沉降物的化学成分研究1.微量元素[J]. 海洋环境科学, 1991, 10(4): 21-28.]
[32] Pike S M, Moran S B. Trace elements in aerosol and precipitation at New Castle, NH, USA[J].Atmospheric Environment,2001, 35(19): 3 361-3 366.
[33] Kim G, Scudlark J R, Church T M. Atmospheric wet deposition of trace elements to Chesapeake and Delaware Bays[J].Atmospheric Environment,2000, 34(20): 3 437-3 444.
[34] Lu R, Turco R P, Stolzenbach K, et al. Dry deposition of airborne trace metals on the Los Angeles Basin and adjacent coastal waters[J].Journal of Geophysical Research,2003, 108(D2):4 074.
[35] Guieu C, Chester R, Nimmo M, et al. Atmospheric input of dissolved and particulate metals to the northwestern Mediterranean[J].Deep Sea Research II,1997, 44: 655-674.
[36] Chen Y, Paytan A, Chase Z, et al. Sources and fluxes of atmospheric trace elements to the Gulf of Aqaba, Red Sea[J].Journal of Geophysical Research,2008, 113, D05306,doi:10.1029/2007JD009110.[37] Lammel G, Ghim Y S, Broekaert J A C, et al. Heavy metals in air of an eastern China coastal urban area and the Yellow Sea[J].Fresenius Environmental Bulletin,2006, 15(12A): 1 539-1 548.
[38] Sakata M, Tani Y, Takagi T. Wet and dry deposition fluxes of trace elements in Tokyo Bay[J].Atmospheric Environment,2008, 42(23): 5 913-5 922.
[39] Meng W, Qin Y W, Zheng B H, et al. Heavy metal pollution in Tianjin Bohai Bay, China[J].Journal of Environmental Sciences,2008, 20(7): 814-819.
[40] Deboudt K, Flament P, Bertho M L. Cd, Cu, Pb and Zn concentrations in atmospheric wet deposition at a coastal station in Western Europe[J].Water Air and Soil Pollution,2004, 151(1/4): 335-359.
[41] Injuk J, Van Grieken R, De Leeuw G. Deposition of atmospheric trace elements into the North Sea: Coastal, ship, platform measurements and model predictions[J].Atmospheric Environment,1998, 32(17): 3 011-3 025.
[42] Liu Changling, Zhang Jing, Yu Zhigang. Study of the characteristics of the aerosol and atmospheric fluxes of the heavy metals over the Yellow Sea[J].Marine Environmental Science, 1998, 17(4): 1-7.[刘昌岭, 张经, 于志刚. 黄海海域大气气溶胶特征及重金属的大气输入量研究[J]. 海洋环境科学, 1998, 17(4): 1-7.]
[43] Yang Shaojin, Yang Yi′nan, Chen Bingru, et al. Input of atmospheric trace elements to the nearChina ocean[J].Environmental Chemistry,1994, 13(5): 382-387.[杨邵晋, 杨亦男, 陈冰如,等. 近中国海域大气微量元素输入量研究[J]. 环境化学, 1994, 13(5): 382-387.]
[44] Chester R, Nimmo M, Corcoran P A. Rain water aerosol trace metal relationships at Cap Ferrat: A coastal site in the western Mediterranean[J].Marine Chemistry,1997, 58(3/4): 293-312.
[45] Kieber R J, Williams K, Willey J D, et al. Iron speciation in coastal rainwater: Concentration and deposition to seawater[J].Marine Chemistry,2001, 73(2): 83-95.
[46] Zhuang G, Yi Z, Duce R A, et al. Link between iron and sulfur cycles suggested by detection of iron (II)in remote marine aerosols[J].Nature,1992, 355: 537-539.
[47] Zhuang G, Guo J, Yuan H, et al. The compositions, sources and size distribution of the dust storm from China in spring of 2000 and its impact on the global environment[J].Chinese Science Bulletin,2001, 46(3):191-197.
[48] Zhuang Guoshun, Guo Jinghua, Yuan Hui, et al. Coupling between iron and sulfur during atmosphere-ocean material exchange[J].Chinese Science Bulletin,2003, 48(4): 313-319.[庄国顺, 郭敬华, 袁蕙,等.大气海洋物质交换中的铁硫耦合反馈机制[J]. 科学通报, 2003, 48(4): 313-319.]
[49] de Jong J T M, Boye M, Gelado-Caballero M D, et al. Inputs of iron, manganese and aluminium to surface waters of the Northeast Atlantic Ocean and the European continental shelf[J].Marine Chemistry,2007, 107: 120-142.
[50] Williams M R, Millward G E, Nimmo M, et al. Fluxes of Cu, Pb and Mn to the northeastern Irish Sea: The importance of sedimental and atmospheric inputs[J].Marine Pollution Bulletin,1998, 36(5): 366-375.
[51] Duan S W, Liang T, Zhang S, et al. Seasonal changes in nitrogen and phosphorus transport in the lower Changjiang River before the construction of the Three Gorges Dam[J].Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science,2008, 79(2): 239-250.
[52] Zou L, Chen H T, Zhang J. Experimental examination of the effects of atmospheric wet deposition on primary production in the Yellow Sea[J].Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology,2000, 249: 111-121.
[53] Zhang X Y, Zhuang G S, Guo J H, et al. Characterization of aerosol over the Northern South China Sea during two cruises in 2003[J].Atmospheric Environment,2007, 41(36): 7 821-7 836.
[54] Kouvarakis G, Mihalopoulos N, Tselepides A, et al. On the importance of atmospheric inputs of inorganic nitrogen species on the productivity of the eastern Mediterranean Sea[J].Global Biogeochemical Cycles,2001, 15(4): 805-817.
[55] Ozsoy T. Atmospheric wet deposition of soluble macro-nutrients in the Cilician Basin, north-eastern Mediterranean sea[J].Journal of Environmental Monitoring,2003, 5(6): 971-976.
[56] Wong G T F, Gong G C, Liu K K, et al. “Excess nitrate” in the East China Sea[J].Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science,1998, 46(3): 411-418.
[57] Wang B D, Wang X L, Zhan R. Nutrient conditions in the Yellow Sea and the East China Sea[J].Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science,2003, 58(1): 127-136.
[58] Zhang J, Zhang G S, Liu S M. Dissolved silicate in coastal marine rainwaters: Comparison between the Yellow Sea and the East China Sea on the impact and potential link with primary production[J].Journal of Geophysical Research,2005, 110, D16304, doi:10.1029/2004JD005411.
[59] Raven J A, Evans M C W, Korb R E. The role of trace metals in photosynthetic electron transport in O2-evolving organisms[J].Photosynthetic Research,1999, 60: 111-149.
[60] Boyd P W, Wong C S, Merrill J, et al. Atmospheric iron supply and enhanced vertical carbon flux in the NE subarctic Pacific:Is there a connection?[J].Global Biogeochemical Cycles,1998,12(3): 429-441.[61] Paerl H W, Prufertbebout L E, Guo C Z. Iron-stimulated N-2 fixation and growth in natural and cultured populations of the planktonic marine cyanobacteria Trichodesmium spp[J].Applied and Environmental Microbiology,1994, 60(3): 1 044-1 047.
[62] Falkowski P G. Evolution of the nitrogen cycle and its influence on the biological sequestration of CO2 in the ocean[J].Nature,1997, 387(6 630): 272-275.
[63] Bishop J K B, Davis R E, Sherman J T. Robotic observations of dust storm enhancement of carbon biomass in the North Pacific[J].Science,2002, 298(5 594): 817-821.
[64] Wundram M, Selmar D, Bahadir M. The Chlamydomonas test: A new phytotoxicity test based on the inhibition of algal photosynthesis enables the assessment of hazardous leachates from waste disposals in salt mines[J].Chemosphere,1996, 32:1 623-1 631.
[65] Bertrand M, Schoefs B, Siffel P, et al. Cadmium inhibits eposidation of diatoxanthin to diadinoxanthin in the xanthophyll cycle of the marine diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum[J].FEBS Letters,2001, 508: 153-156.
[66] Paytan A, Mackey K R M, Chen Y, et al. Toxicity of atmospheric aerosols on marine phytoplankton[J]. Proceedings of the National Academy Sciences of the United States of America,2009, 106: 4 601-4 605.

No Suggested Reading articles found!