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Volume 17, issue 9 | Copyright

Special issue: NETCARE (Network on Aerosols and Climate: Addressing Key Uncertainties...

Atmos. Chem. Phys., 17, 5775-5788, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-17-5775-2017
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 10 May 2017

Research article | 10 May 2017

Observations of atmospheric chemical deposition to high Arctic snow

Katrina M. Macdonald1, Sangeeta Sharma2, Desiree Toom2, Alina Chivulescu2, Sarah Hanna3, Allan K. Bertram3, Andrew Platt2, Mike Elsasser2, Lin Huang2, David Tarasick4, Nathan Chellman5, Joseph R. McConnell5, Heiko Bozem6, Daniel Kunkel6, Ying Duan Lei1, Greg J. Evans1, and Jonathan P. D. Abbatt7 Katrina M. Macdonald et al.
  • 1Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry, University of Toronto, Toronto, M5S 3E5, Canada
  • 2Climate Research Divisions, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Toronto, M3H 5T4, Canada
  • 3Department of Chemistry, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, V6T 1Z1, Canada
  • 4Air Quality Research Divisions, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Toronto, M3H 5T4, Canada
  • 5Desert Research Institute, Reno, 89512, USA
  • 6Institute for Atmospheric Physics, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Mainz, 55128, Germany
  • 7Department of Chemistry, University of Toronto, Toronto, M5S 3H6, Canada

Abstract. Rapidly rising temperatures and loss of snow and ice cover have demonstrated the unique vulnerability of the high Arctic to climate change. There are major uncertainties in modelling the chemical depositional and scavenging processes of Arctic snow. To that end, fresh snow samples collected on average every 4 days at Alert, Nunavut, from September 2014 to June 2015 were analyzed for black carbon, major ions, and metals, and their concentrations and fluxes were reported. Comparison with simultaneous measurements of atmospheric aerosol mass loadings yields effective deposition velocities that encompass all processes by which the atmospheric species are transferred to the snow. It is inferred from these values that dry deposition is the dominant removal mechanism for several compounds over the winter while wet deposition increased in importance in the fall and spring, possibly due to enhanced scavenging by mixed-phase clouds. Black carbon aerosol was the least efficiently deposited species to the snow.

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Rapid climate changes within the Arctic have highlighted existing uncertainties in the transport of contaminants to Arctic snow. Fresh snow samples collected frequently through the winter season were analyzed for major constituents creating a unique record of Arctic snow. Comparison with simultaneous atmospheric measurements provides insight into the driving processes in the transfer of contaminants from air to snow. The relative importance of deposition mechanisms over the season is proposed.
Rapid climate changes within the Arctic have highlighted existing uncertainties in the transport...
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