Mace Head

The Mace Head atmospheric research station belongs to the National University of Ireland – Galway and is located at the Atlantic west coast of Ireland. The coast is subjected to tidal variations and during low tide, the macro-algae living in the sea bottom gets in contact with air. Iodine emissions from macro-algae have for long known to be related to intense  new particle formation events observed at Mace Head and other costal sites. The exact mechanism and compounds responsible for cluster and particle production still have been unresolved. We carried to a campaign together with NUI-Galway, to figure that out. The campaign took place in September – October 2013 and utilised a nitrate – CI – APi-TOF among with other measurement instrumentation. We learned that clusters are likely formed via homogeneous nucleation of iodic acid, HIO3. What remains still a mystery is the formation mechanism of iodic acid from molecular iodine emitted by the marine algae. Results were published in Nature.

Academy of Finland,  European Commission, ACTRIS, EPA-Ireland, Nordic Centre of Excellence (CRAICC),  and the European Research Council are acknowledged for funding the research.


On our way from Helsinki to Mace Head.

Mace Head research station is located on the west coast of Ireland.


Celebrating the breakthrough: Coastal new particle formation solved!


Northern gannet (Morus bassanus)