Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2023-1376
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2023-1376
27 Jun 2023
 | 27 Jun 2023

Drivers controlling black carbon temporal variability in the Arctic lower troposphere

Stefania Gilardoni, Dominic Heslin-Rees, Mauro Mazzola, Vito Vitale, Michael Sprenger, and Radovan Krejci

Abstract. Black carbon (BC) is a short-lived climate forcer affecting Arctic climate through multiple mechanisms, which vary substantially from winter to summer. Several models still fail in reproducing BC seasonal variability, limiting the ability to fully describe BC climate implications. This study aims at gaining insights into the mechanisms controlling BC transport from lower latitudes to the Arctic lower troposphere. Here we investigate the drivers controlling black carbon daily and seasonal variability in the Arctic using Generalized Additive Models (GAM). We analysed equivalent black carbon (eBC) concentration measured at the Gruvebadet Atmospheric Laboratory (GAL - Svalbard archipelago) from March 2018 to December 2021. The eBC showed a marked seasonality with higher values in winter and early spring. The eBC concentration averaged 22 ± 20 ng m-3 in the cold season (November–April) and 11 ± 11 ng m-3 in the warm season (May–October). The seasonal and interannual variability was mainly modulated by the efficiency of wet scavenging removal during transport towards the higher latitudes. Conversely, the short-term variability was controlled by boundary layer dynamics, local-scale, and synoptic-scale circulation patterns. During both the cold and the warm season, the transport of air masses from western Europe and northern Russia was an effective pathway for the convey of pollution to the European Arctic. Finally, in the warm season we observed a link between the intrusion of warm air from lower latitudes and the increase in eBC concentration. Changes in synoptic scale circulation system and precipitation rate in the northern hemisphere, linked to climate change, are expected to modify BC burden in the Arctic.

Stefania Gilardoni et al.

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-1376', Anonymous Referee #1, 18 Jul 2023
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Stefania Gilardoni, 27 Sep 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-1376', Anonymous Referee #2, 18 Jul 2023
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Stefania Gilardoni, 27 Sep 2023

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-1376', Anonymous Referee #1, 18 Jul 2023
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Stefania Gilardoni, 27 Sep 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-1376', Anonymous Referee #2, 18 Jul 2023
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Stefania Gilardoni, 27 Sep 2023

Stefania Gilardoni et al.

Stefania Gilardoni et al.

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Black carbon is a key source of uncertainty in regional climate predictions through aerosol-radiation interactions, cloud modifications and enhanced snow melt, and the arctic is particularly sensitive to these effects. Understanding the influence of continental emissions on arctic aerosols is crucial in earth system science, and this influence can be expected to evolve with changes to the atmospheric circulation in response to climate change. This paper uses a machine learning approach to study the factors controlling observations of black carbon in the arctic and quantitatively links these to meteorological processes and trends. This phenomenological assessment will facilitate predictions in the long range transport of black carbon transport under various climate change scenarios.
Short summary
Models still fail in reproducing black carbon (BC) temporal variability in the Arctic. Analysis of equivalent BC concentration in the European Arctic shows that BC seasonal variability is modulated by the efficiency of removal by precipitation during transport towards high latitudes. Short-term variability is controlled by synoptic-scale circulation patterns. The advection of warm air from lower latitudes is an effective pollution transport pathway during summer.