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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2019-04-30
    Description: The occurrence of frequent aerosol nucleation and growth events in the Arctic during summertime may impact the region's climate through increasing the number of cloud condensation nuclei in the Arctic atmosphere. Measurements of aerosol size distributions and aerosol composition were taken during the summers of 2015 and 2016 at Eureka and Alert on Ellesmere Island in Nunavut, Canada. These results provide a better understanding of the frequency and spatial extent of elevated Aitken mode aerosol concentrations as well as of the composition and sources of aerosol mass during particle growth. Frequent appearances of small particles followed by growth occurred throughout the summer. These particle growth events were observed beginning in June with the melting of the sea ice rather than with the polar sunrise, which strongly suggests that influence from the marine boundary layer was the primary cause of the events. Correlated particle growth events at the two sites, separated by 480 km, indicate conditions existing over large scales play a key role in determining the timing and the characteristics of the events. In addition, aerosol mass spectrometry measurements were used to analyze the size-resolved chemical composition of aerosols during two selected growth events. It was found that particles with diameters between 50 and 80 nm (physical diameter) during these growth events were predominately organic with only a small sulfate contribution. The oxidation of the organics also changed with particle size, with the fraction of organic acids increasing with diameter from 80 to 400 nm. The growth events at Eureka were observed most often when the temperature inversion between the sea and the measurement site (at 610 m a.s.l.) was non-existent or weak, presumably creating conditions with low aerosol condensation sink and allowing fresh marine emissions to be mixed upward to the observatory's altitude. While the nature of the gaseous precursors responsible for the growth events is still poorly understood, oxidation of dimethyl sulfide alone to produce particle-phase sulfate or methanesulfonic acid was inconsistent with the measured aerosol composition, suggesting the importance of other gas-phase organic compounds condensing for particle growth.
    Print ISSN: 1680-7316
    Electronic ISSN: 1680-7324
    Topics: Geosciences
    Published by Copernicus on behalf of European Geosciences Union (EGU).
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2019-02-28
    Description: Motivated by the need to predict how the Arctic atmosphere will change in a warming world, this article summarizes recent advances made by the research consortium NETCARE (Network on Climate and Aerosols: Addressing Key Uncertainties in Remote Canadian Environments) that contribute to our fundamental understanding of Arctic aerosol particles as they relate to climate forcing. The overall goal of NETCARE research has been to use an interdisciplinary approach encompassing extensive field observations and a range of chemical transport, earth system, and biogeochemical models. Several major findings and advances have emerged from NETCARE since its formation in 2013. (1) Unexpectedly high summertime dimethyl sulfide (DMS) levels were identified in ocean water (up to 75 nM) and the overlying atmosphere (up to 1 ppbv) in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago (CAA). Furthermore, melt ponds, which are widely prevalent, were identified as an important DMS source (with DMS concentrations of up to 6 nM and a potential contribution to atmospheric DMS of 20 % in the study area). (2) Evidence of widespread particle nucleation and growth in the marine boundary layer was found in the CAA in the summertime, with these events observed on 41 % of days in a 2016 cruise. As well, at Alert, Nunavut, particles that are newly formed and grown under conditions of minimal anthropogenic influence during the months of July and August are estimated to contribute 20 % to 80 % of the 30–50 nm particle number density. DMS-oxidation-driven nucleation is facilitated by the presence of atmospheric ammonia arising from seabird-colony emissions, and potentially also from coastal regions, tundra, and biomass burning. Via accumulation of secondary organic aerosol (SOA), a significant fraction of the new particles grow to sizes that are active in cloud droplet formation. Although the gaseous precursors to Arctic marine SOA remain poorly defined, the measured levels of common continental SOA precursors (isoprene and monoterpenes) were low, whereas elevated mixing ratios of oxygenated volatile organic compounds (OVOCs) were inferred to arise via processes involving the sea surface microlayer. (3) The variability in the vertical distribution of black carbon (BC) under both springtime Arctic haze and more pristine summertime aerosol conditions was observed. Measured particle size distributions and mixing states were used to constrain, for the first time, calculations of aerosol–climate interactions under Arctic conditions. Aircraft- and ground-based measurements were used to better establish the BC source regions that supply the Arctic via long-range transport mechanisms, with evidence for a dominant springtime contribution from eastern and southern Asia to the middle troposphere, and a major contribution from northern Asia to the surface. (4) Measurements of ice nucleating particles (INPs) in the Arctic indicate that a major source of these particles is mineral dust, likely derived from local sources in the summer and long-range transport in the spring. In addition, INPs are abundant in the sea surface microlayer in the Arctic, and possibly play a role in ice nucleation in the atmosphere when mineral dust concentrations are low. (5) Amongst multiple aerosol components, BC was observed to have the smallest effective deposition velocities to high Arctic snow (0.03 cm s−1).
    Print ISSN: 1680-7316
    Electronic ISSN: 1680-7324
    Topics: Geosciences
    Published by Copernicus on behalf of European Geosciences Union (EGU).
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2018-03-07
    Description: The first multi-year contributions from organic functional groups to the Arctic submicron aerosol are documented using 126 weekly-integrated samples collected from April 2012 to October 2014 at the Alert Observatory (82.45°N, 62.51°W). Results from the particle transport model FLEXPART, linear regressions among the organic and inorganic components and positive matrix factorization (PMF) enable associations of organic aerosol components with source types and regions. Lower organic mass (OM) concentrations but higher ratios of OM to non-sea-salt sulfate mass concentrations (nss-SO4=) accompany smaller particles during the summer (JJA). Conversely, higher OM but lower OM∕nss-SO4= accompany larger particles during winter–spring. OM ranges from 7 to 460ngm−3, and the study average is 129ngm−3. The monthly maximum in OM occurs during May, 1 month after the peak in nss-SO4= and 2 months after that of elemental carbon (EC). Winter (DJF), spring (MAM), summer and fall (SON) values of OM∕nss-SO4= are 26, 28, 107 and 39%, respectively, and overall about 40% of the weekly variability in the OM is associated with nss-SO4=. Respective study-averaged concentrations of alkane, alcohol, acid, amine and carbonyl groups are 57, 24, 23, 15 and 11ngm−3, representing 42, 22, 18, 14 and 5% of the OM, respectively. Carbonyl groups, detected mostly during spring, may have a connection with snow chemistry. The seasonally highest O∕C occurs during winter (0.85) and the lowest O∕C is during spring (0.51); increases in O∕C are largely due to increases in alcohol groups. During winter, more than 50% of the alcohol groups are associated with primary marine emissions, consistent with Shaw et al. (2010) and Frossard et al. (2011). A secondary marine connection, rather than a primary source, is suggested for the highest and most persistent O∕C observed during the coolest and cleanest summer (2013), when alcohol and acid groups made up 63% of the OM. A secondary marine source may be a general feature of the summer OM, but higher contributions from alkane groups to OM during the warmer summers of 2012 (53%) and 2014 (50%) were likely due to increased contributions from combustion sources. Evidence for significant contributions from biomass burning (BB) was present in 4% of the weeks. During the dark months (NDJF), 29, 28 and 14% of the nss-SO4=, EC and OM were associated with transport times over the gas flaring region of northern Russia and other parts of Eurasia. During spring, those percentages dropped to 11% for each of nss-SO4= and EC values, respectively, and there is no association of OM. Large percentages of the Arctic haze characterized at Alert likely have origins farther than 10 days of transport time and may be from outside of the Eurasian region. Possible sources of unusually high nss-SO4= and OM during September–October 2014 are volcanic emissions or the Smoking Hills' area of the Northwest Territories, Canada.
    Print ISSN: 1680-7316
    Electronic ISSN: 1680-7324
    Topics: Geosciences
    Published by Copernicus on behalf of European Geosciences Union (EGU).
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2018-05-16
    Description: Stratospheric transport in global circulation models and chemistry–climate models is an important component in simulating the recovery of the ozone layer as well as changes in the climate system. The Brewer–Dobson circulation is not well constrained by observations and further investigation is required to resolve uncertainties related to the mechanisms driving the circulation. This study has assessed the specified dynamics mode of the Canadian Middle Atmosphere Model (CMAM30) by comparing to the Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment Fourier transform spectrometer (ACE-FTS) profile measurements of CFC-11 (CCl3F), CFC-12 (CCl2F2), and N2O. In the CMAM30 specified dynamics simulation, the meteorological fields are nudged using the ERA-Interim reanalysis and a specified tracer was employed for each species, with hemispherically defined surface measurements used as the boundary condition. A comprehensive sampling technique along the line of sight of the ACE-FTS measurements has been utilized to allow for direct comparisons between the simulated and measured tracer concentrations. The model consistently overpredicts tracer concentrations of CFC-11, CFC-12, and N2O in the lower stratosphere, particularly in the northern hemispheric winter and spring seasons. The three mixing barriers investigated, including the polar vortex, the extratropical tropopause, and the tropical pipe, show that there are significant inconsistencies between the measurements and the simulations. In particular, the CMAM30 simulation underpredicts mixing efficiency in the tropical lower stratosphere during the June–July–August season.
    Print ISSN: 1680-7316
    Electronic ISSN: 1680-7324
    Topics: Geosciences
    Published by Copernicus on behalf of European Geosciences Union (EGU).
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  • 5
  • 6
    Publication Date: 2019-09-11
    Description: Despite the potential importance of black carbon (BC) to radiative forcing of the Arctic atmosphere, vertically-resolved measurements of the particle light scattering coefficient (Bsp) and light absorption coefficient (Bap) in the springtime Arctic atmosphere are infrequent, especially measurements at latitudes at or above 80oN. Here, relationships among vertically-distributed aerosol optical properties Bap, Bsp, and single scattering albedo or SSA), particle microphysics and particle chemistry are examined for a region of the Canadian archipelago between 79.9oN and 83.4oN from near the surface to 500 hPa. Airborne data collected during April, 2015, are combined with ground-based observations from the observatory at Alert, Nunavut and simulations from the GEOS-Chem-TOMAS model (Kodros et al., 2018) to increase our knowledge of the effects of BC on light absorption in the Arctic troposphere. The results are constrained for Bsp less than 15 Mm-1, which represent 98% of the observed Bsp, because the single scattering albedo (SSA) has a tendency to be lower at lower Bsp, resulting in a larger relative contribution to Arctic warming. At 18.4 m2 g-1, the average BC mass absorption coefficient (MAC) from the combined airborne and Alert observations is substantially higher than the two averaged modelled MAC values (9.5 m2 g-1 and 7.0 m2 g-1) for two different internal mixing assumptions, the latter of which is based on previous observations. The higher observed MAC value may be explained by an underestimation of BC and possible differences in BC microphysics and morphologies between the observations and model. We present Bap and SSA based on the assumption that Bap is overestimated in the observations in addition to the assumption that the higher MAC is explained. Median values of the measured Bap, rBC and organic component of particles all increase by a factor of 1.8±0.1 going from near-surface to 750 hPa, and values higher than the surface persist to 600 hPa. Modelled BC, organics, and Bap agree with the near-surface measurements, but do not reproduce the higher values observed between 900 hPa and 600 hPa. The differences between modelled and observed optical properties follow the same trend as the differences between the modelled and observed concentrations of the carbonaceous components (black and organic). Some discrepancies in the model may be due to the use of a relatively low imaginary refractive index of BC as well as by the ejection of biomass burning particles only into the boundary layer at sources. For the assumption of the higher observed MAC value, the SSA range between 0.88 and 0.94, which is significantly lower than other recent estimates for the Arctic, in part reflecting the constraint of Bsp 〈15 Mm-1. The large uncertainties in measuring optical properties and BC as well as the large differences between measured and modelled values, here and in the literature, argue for improved measurements of BC and light absorption by BC as well as more vertical profiles of aerosol chemistry, microphysics, and other optical properties in the Arctic.
    Electronic ISSN: 1680-7375
    Topics: Geosciences
    Published by Copernicus on behalf of European Geosciences Union (EGU).
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2018-10-12
    Description: Motivated by the need to predict how the Arctic atmosphere will change in a warming world, this article summarizes recent advances made by the research consortium NETCARE (Network on Climate and Aerosols: Addressing Key Uncertainties in Remote Canadian Environments) that contribute to our fundamental understanding of Arctic aerosol particles as they relate to climate forcing. The overall goal of NETCARE research has been to use an interdisciplinary approach encompassing extensive field observations and a range of chemical transport, earth system, and biogeochemical models. Several major findings and advances have emerged from NETCARE since its formation in 2013 . (1) Unexpectedly high summertime dimethyl sulfide (DMS) levels were identified in ocean water and the overlying atmosphere in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago (CAA). Furthermore, melt ponds, which are widely prevalent, were identified as an important DMS source. (2) Evidence was found of widespread particle nucleation and growth in the marine boundary layer in the CAA in the summertime. DMS-oxidation-driven nucleation is facilitated by the presence of atmospheric ammonia arising from sea bird colony emissions, and potentially also from coastal regions, tundra, and biomass burning. Via accumulation of secondary organic material (SOA), a significant fraction of the new particles grow to sizes that are active in cloud droplet formation. Although the gaseous precursors to Arctic marine SOA remain poorly defined, the measured levels of common continental SOA precursors (isoprene and monoterpenes) were low, whereas elevated mixing ratios of oxygenated volatile organic compounds were inferred to arise via processes involving the sea surface microlayer. (3) The variability in the vertical distribution of black carbon (BC) under both springtime Arctic haze and more pristine summertime aerosol conditions was observed. Measured particle size distributions and mixing states were used to constrain, for the first time, calculations of aerosol–climate interactions under Arctic conditions. Aircraft- and ground-based measurements were used to better establish the BC source regions that supply the Arctic via long-range transport mechanisms. (4) Measurements of ice nucleating particles (INPs) in the Arctic indicate that a major source of these particles is mineral dust, likely derived from local sources in the summer and long-range transport in the spring. In addition, INPs are abundant in the sea surface microlayer in the Arctic, and possibly play a role in ice nucleation in the atmosphere when mineral dust concentrations are low. (5) Amongst multiple aerosol components, BC was observed to have the smallest effective deposition velocities to high Arctic snow.
    Electronic ISSN: 1680-7375
    Topics: Geosciences
    Published by Copernicus on behalf of European Geosciences Union (EGU).
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  • 8
    Publication Date: 2018-05-08
    Description: The occurrence of frequent aerosol nucleation and growth events in the Arctic during summertime may impact the region’s climate through increasing the number of cloud condensation nuclei in the Arctic atmosphere. Measurements of aerosol size distributions and aerosol composition were taken during the summers of 2015 and 2016 at Eureka and Alert on Ellesmere Island in Nunavut, Canada. The corresponding results provide a better understanding of the frequency and spatial extent of these nucleation and growth events as well as of the composition and sources of aerosol mass during particle growth. These events are observed beginning in June with the melting of the sea ice rather than with polar sunrise, which strongly suggests emissions from marine sources are the primary cause of the events. Frequent particle nucleation followed by growth occurs throughout the summer. Correlated particle growths events at the two sites, separated by 480km, indicate conditions existing over such large scales play a key role in determining the timing and the characteristics of the events. In addition, aerosol mass spectrometry measurements are used to analyze the size-resolved chemical composition of aerosols during two selected growth events. It is found that particles with diameters smaller than 100nm are predominately organic with only a small sulphate contribution. The oxidation of the organic fraction also changes with particle size with larger particles containing a greater fraction of organic acids relative to other non-acid oxygenates (e.g. alcohols or aldehydes). It is also observed that the relative amount of m/z 44 in the measured mass spectra increases during the growth events suggesting increases in organic acid concentrations in the particle phase. The nucleation and growth events at Eureka are observed most often when the temperature inversion between the sea and the measurement site (at 610ma.s.l.) is non-existent or weak allowing presumably fresh marine emissions to be mixed upward to the observatory altitude. While the nature of the gaseous precursors responsible for the growth events are poorly understood, oxidation of dimethyl sulphide alone to produce particle phase sulphate or methanesulphonic acid is not consistent with the measured aerosol composition, suggesting the importance of condensation of other gas phase organic compounds for particle growth.
    Electronic ISSN: 1680-7375
    Topics: Geosciences
    Published by Copernicus on behalf of European Geosciences Union (EGU).
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  • 9
    Publication Date: 2016-09-19
    Description: This paper presents eight years (2006–2013) of measurements obtained from Fourier Transform Spectrometers (FTSs) in the high Arctic at the Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL, 80.05° N, 86.42° W). These measurements were taken as part of the Canadian Arctic ACE (Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment) Validation Campaigns that have been carried out since 2004 during the polar sunrise period (from mid-February to mid-April). Each spring, two ground-based FTSs were used to measure total and partial columns of HF, O3, and trace gases that impact O3 depletion, namely, HCl, and HNO3. Additionally, some tropospheric greenhouse gases and pollutant species were measured, namely CH4, N2O, CO, and C2H6. During the same time period, the satellite-based ACE-FTS made measurements near Eureka and provided profiles of the same trace gases. Comparisons have been carried out between the measurements from PARIS-IR and the co-located high-resolution Bruker 125HR FTS, as well as with the latest version of the ACE-FTS retrievals (v3.5). The total column comparison between the two co-located ground-based FTSs, PARIS-IR and Bruker 125HR, found very good agreement for most of these species (except HF), with differences well below the estimated uncertainties (~ 6 %) and with high correlations (R ≥ 0.8). Partial columns have been used for the ground-based to space-borne comparison, with coincident measurements selected based on time, distance and scaled potential vorticity (sPV). The comparisons of the ground-based measurements with ACE-FTS show good agreement in the partial columns for most species within 6 % (except for C2H6 and PARIS-IR HF), which are consistent with the total retrieval uncertainty of the ground-based instruments. The correlation coefficients (R) of the partial column comparisons for all eight species range from approximately 0.75 to 0.95. The comparisons show no significant increase in the mean differences over these eight years, indicating the consistency of these datasets and suggesting that the space-borne ACE-FTS measurements have been stable over this period. In addition, changes in the amounts of these trace gases during springtime between 2006 and 2013 are presented and discussed. Increased O3 (0.9 % yr−1), HCl (1.7 % yr−1), HF (3.8 % yr−1), CH4 (0.5 % yr−1) and C2H6 (2.3 % yr−1, 2009–2013) have been found near PEARL from the Portable Atmospheric Research Interferometric Spectrometer for the InfraRed (PARIS-IR) dataset.
    Electronic ISSN: 1867-8610
    Topics: Geosciences
    Published by Copernicus on behalf of European Geosciences Union (EGU).
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  • 10
    Publication Date: 2017-08-04
    Description: The first multi-year contributions from organic functional groups to the Arctic submicron aerosol are documented using 126 weekly-integrated samples collected from April, 2012 to October, 2014 at the Alert Observatory (82.45° N, 62.51° W). Results from the particle transport model FLEXPART, linear regressions among the organic and inorganic components and Positive Matrix Factorization (PMF) enable associations of organic aerosol components with source types and regions. Lower organic mass concentrations (OM) but higher ratios of OM to non-sea-salt sulphate mass concentrations (nss-SO4=) accompany smaller particles during the summer (JJA). Conversely, higher OM but lower OM/nss-SO4= accompany larger particles during winter-spring. OM ranges from 7–463 ng m−3, and the study average is 129 ng m−3. The monthly maximum in OM occurs during May, one month after the peak in nss-SO4= and two months after that of elemental carbon (EC). Winter (DJF), spring (MAM), summer and fall (SON) values of OM/nss-SO4= are 26 %, 28 %, 107 % and 39 %, respectively, and overall about 40 % of the weekly variability in the OM is associated with nss-SO4=. Respective study-averaged concentrations of alkane, alcohol, acid, amine and carbonyl groups are 57 ng m−3, 24 ng m−3, 23 ng m−3, 16 ng m−3 and 11 ng m−3, representing 42 %, 22 %, 18 %, 14 % and 5 % of the OM, respectively. Carbonyl groups, detected mostly during spring, may have a connection with snow chemistry. The seasonally highest O/C occurs during winter (0.85) and the lowest O/C is during spring (0.51); increases in O/C are largely due to increases in alcohol groups. During winter, more than 50 % of the alcohol groups are associated with primary marine emissions, consistent with Shaw et al. (2010) and Frossard et al. (2011). A secondary marine connection, rather than a primary source, is suggested for the highest and most persistence O/C observed during the coolest and cleanest summer (2013), when alcohol and acid groups made up 63% of the OM. A secondary marine source may be a general feature of the summer OM, but higher contributions from alkane groups to OM during the warmer summers of 2012 (53 %) and 2014 (50 %) were likely due to increased contributions from combustion sources. Evidence for significant contributions from biomass burning (BB) was present in 4 % of the weeks. During the dark months (NDJF), 29 %, 28 % and 14 % of the nss-SO4=, EC and OM were associated with transport times over the gas flaring region of Northern Russia and other parts of Eurasia. During spring, those percentages drop to 11 % and 8 % for nss-SO4= and EC, respectively, and there is no association of OM. Large percentages of the Arctic Haze characterized at Alert likely have origins farther than 10 days transport time and may be from outside of the Eurasian region. Possible sources of unusually high nss-SO4= and OM during September–October, 2014 are volcanic emissions or the Smoking Hills’ area of the Northwest Territories, Canada.
    Electronic ISSN: 1680-7375
    Topics: Geosciences
    Published by Copernicus on behalf of European Geosciences Union (EGU).
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