Aerosol black carbon over Svalbard regions of Arctic

Gogoi, Mukunda M. ; Babu, Suresh S. ; Moorthy, Krishna K. ; Thakur, Roseline C. ; Chaubey, Jai Prakash ; Nair, Vijayakumar S. (2015) Aerosol black carbon over Svalbard regions of Arctic Polar Science . ISSN 1873-9652

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In view of the climate impact of aerosol Black Carbon (BC) over snow covered regions (through enhanced absorption of radiation as well as snow-albedo forcing), and in view of the increasing anthropogenic presence and influence in the northern polar regions, continuous long term measurements of airborne BC have been undertaken from the Svalbard region of Norwegian Arctic (Ny-Ålesund, 79°N, 12°E, 8 m a.s.l.). This study, employing data over a period of 4-years (2010–2013) have shown a consistent spring-time enhancement in BC concentrations, having a (climatological) seasonal mean value of ∼50.3 ± 19.5 ng m−3, nearly 3-times higher than the lowest BC concentrations in summer (∼19.5 ± 6.5 ng m−3). Spectral variation of absorbance indicates that long-range transported biomass burning aerosols contribute as high as 25% to the high BC concentrations in the Arctic atmosphere in spring. Concurrent estimates of BC concentrations in the Arctic snow (for an ensemble of snow samples collected over a period of time during spring) showed values ranging from 0.6 ppb to 4.1 ppb. These values have been used to estimate the BC scavenging ratio (SR). Our studies revealed a mean value of SR∼98 ± 46, which varied over wide range from 40 to 184 for individual samples. In a broader perspective, the seasonal variations of atmospheric BC concentrations at the Arctic are similar to those seen at the high altitude Himalayas; even though the concentrations are much lower at Arctic. It is found that synoptic conditions mainly influence the high altitude Himalayas, while the influences of local anthropogenic influences are not negligible at the Arctic in modulating the seasonal variations of absorbing aerosols.

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