Marine emissions of glyoxal and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can affect climate processes by changing the nature of cloud formation and the lifetimes of climate-active gases. Recent evidence demonstrates that the sea surface microlayer of organic surfactants must be a source of VOCs through as yet unknown chemistry. 

This project identifies carboxylic acids as a potential source of VOCs. We investigate a proposed pathway in which carboxylic acids first undergo a photoreaction with UV light to form alkenals, and then are oxidized by ozone to form glyoxal.