Journal cover Journal topic
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 15, 9413-9433, 2015
http://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/15/9413/2015/
doi:10.5194/acp-15-9413-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
24 Aug 2015
Current model capabilities for simulating black carbon and sulfate concentrations in the Arctic atmosphere: a multi-model evaluation using a comprehensive measurement data set
S. Eckhardt1, B. Quennehen2,a, D. J. L. Olivié3, T. K. Berntsen4, R. Cherian5, J. H. Christensen6, W. Collins7,8, S. Crepinsek9,10, N. Daskalakis11,12, M. Flanner13, A. Herber14, C. Heyes15, Ø. Hodnebrog4, L. Huang16, M. Kanakidou11,12, Z. Klimont15, J. Langner17, K. S. Law2, M. T. Lund4, R. Mahmood20,21, A. Massling6, S. Myriokefalitakis11,12, I. E. Nielsen6, J. K. Nøjgaard6, J. Quaas5, P. K. Quinn18, J.-C. Raut2, S. T. Rumbold7,22, M. Schulz3, S. Sharma16, R. B. Skeie4, H. Skov6, T. Uttal10, K. von Salzen19, and A. Stohl1 1NILU – Norwegian Institute for Air Research, Kjeller, Norway
2Sorbonne Universités, UPMC Univ. Paris 06, Université Versailles St-Quentin, CNRS/INSU, LATMOS-IPSL, UMR8190, Paris, France
3Norwegian Meteorological Institute, Oslo, Norway
4Center for International Climate and Environmental Research – Oslo (CICERO), Oslo, Norway
5Institute for Meteorology, Universität Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany
6ENVS Department of Environmental Science, Aarhus University, Roskilde, Denmark
7Met Office Hadley Centre, Exeter, UK
8Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, Reading, UK
9Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, USA
10NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory Physical Sciences Division/Polar Observations & Processes, Boulder, Colorado, USA
11Environmental Chemical Processes Laboratory, Department of Chemistry, University of Crete, Heraklion, Crete, Greece
12ICE-HT/FORTH, Patras, Greece
13Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Space Sciences, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA
14Alfred Wegener Institut, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, Germany
15International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Laxenburg, Austria
16Climate Research Division, Atmospheric Sci. & Tech. Directorate, S & T, Environment Canada Toronto, Ontario, Canada
17Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI), 60176 Norrköping, Sweden
18National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, Seattle, WA, USA
19Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis, Environment Canada, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
20School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
21Department of Meteorology, COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Islamabad, Pakistan
22National Centre for Atmospheric Science, University of Reading, Reading, UK
anow at: Univ. Grenoble Alpes/CNRS, Laboratoire de Glaciologie et Géophysique de l'Environnement (LGGE), 38041 Grenoble, France
Abstract. The concentrations of sulfate, black carbon (BC) and other aerosols in the Arctic are characterized by high values in late winter and spring (so-called Arctic Haze) and low values in summer. Models have long been struggling to capture this seasonality and especially the high concentrations associated with Arctic Haze. In this study, we evaluate sulfate and BC concentrations from eleven different models driven with the same emission inventory against a comprehensive pan-Arctic measurement data set over a time period of 2 years (2008–2009). The set of models consisted of one Lagrangian particle dispersion model, four chemistry transport models (CTMs), one atmospheric chemistry-weather forecast model and five chemistry climate models (CCMs), of which two were nudged to meteorological analyses and three were running freely. The measurement data set consisted of surface measurements of equivalent BC (eBC) from five stations (Alert, Barrow, Pallas, Tiksi and Zeppelin), elemental carbon (EC) from Station Nord and Alert and aircraft measurements of refractory BC (rBC) from six different campaigns. We find that the models generally captured the measured eBC or rBC and sulfate concentrations quite well, compared to previous comparisons. However, the aerosol seasonality at the surface is still too weak in most models. Concentrations of eBC and sulfate averaged over three surface sites are underestimated in winter/spring in all but one model (model means for January–March underestimated by 59 and 37 % for BC and sulfate, respectively), whereas concentrations in summer are overestimated in the model mean (by 88 and 44 % for July–September), but with overestimates as well as underestimates present in individual models. The most pronounced eBC underestimates, not included in the above multi-site average, are found for the station Tiksi in Siberia where the measured annual mean eBC concentration is 3 times higher than the average annual mean for all other stations. This suggests an underestimate of BC sources in Russia in the emission inventory used. Based on the campaign data, biomass burning was identified as another cause of the modeling problems. For sulfate, very large differences were found in the model ensemble, with an apparent anti-correlation between modeled surface concentrations and total atmospheric columns. There is a strong correlation between observed sulfate and eBC concentrations with consistent sulfate/eBC slopes found for all Arctic stations, indicating that the sources contributing to sulfate and BC are similar throughout the Arctic and that the aerosols are internally mixed and undergo similar removal. However, only three models reproduced this finding, whereas sulfate and BC are weakly correlated in the other models. Overall, no class of models (e.g., CTMs, CCMs) performed better than the others and differences are independent of model resolution.

Citation: Eckhardt, S., Quennehen, B., Olivié, D. J. L., Berntsen, T. K., Cherian, R., Christensen, J. H., Collins, W., Crepinsek, S., Daskalakis, N., Flanner, M., Herber, A., Heyes, C., Hodnebrog, Ø., Huang, L., Kanakidou, M., Klimont, Z., Langner, J., Law, K. S., Lund, M. T., Mahmood, R., Massling, A., Myriokefalitakis, S., Nielsen, I. E., Nøjgaard, J. K., Quaas, J., Quinn, P. K., Raut, J.-C., Rumbold, S. T., Schulz, M., Sharma, S., Skeie, R. B., Skov, H., Uttal, T., von Salzen, K., and Stohl, A.: Current model capabilities for simulating black carbon and sulfate concentrations in the Arctic atmosphere: a multi-model evaluation using a comprehensive measurement data set, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 15, 9413-9433, doi:10.5194/acp-15-9413-2015, 2015.
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Short summary
The concentrations of sulfate, black carbon and other aerosols in the Arctic are characterized by high values in late winter and spring (so-called Arctic Haze) and low values in summer. Models have long been struggling to capture this seasonality. In this study, we evaluate sulfate and BC concentrations from different updated models and emissions against a comprehensive pan-Arctic measurement data set. We find that the models improved but still struggle to get the maximum concentrations.
The concentrations of sulfate, black carbon and other aerosols in the Arctic are characterized...
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