Copper complexation in coastal rainwater, southeastern USA


Witt, M
Skrabal, S
Kieber, R
Willey, J

Publication Date: 

1 June 2007


Atmospheric Environment

Last Updated: 











Complexation of dissolved copper (Cu) was studied in Atlantic coastal rainwater using adsorptive cathodic stripping voltammetry (ASCV) with salicylaldoxime as a competing ligand at pH 7.8. Detectable concentrations of strong Cu-complexing ligands possessing conditional stability constants of 1013-1016 were observed in over 80% of the rain events occurring over the course of 2 year. In 11 of the 23 samples analysed, total dissolved Cu concentrations were higher than those of dissolved ligands, indicating that a significant fraction of the Cu occurred as the free ion and as weaker complexes. In the remaining samples, ligand concentrations were equal to or greater than Cu concentrations, indicating virtually complete (>99%) complexation of the ambient Cu. By varying the analytical detection window, two classes of ligands with differing conditional stability constants were detected in selected rain samples suggesting that the Cu ligands most likely represent a spectrum of organic compounds. Back trajectory analysis indicated that continentally dominated rain samples contained higher concentrations of Cu and organic ligands relative to storms of marine origin, suggesting a strong terrestrial and/or anthropogenic source of both Cu and ligands in rain at this location. Variability in Cu speciation may impact a variety of atmospheric redox reactions because free and complexed forms of the metal have very different reactivities. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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Publication Type: 

Journal Article