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Volume 18, issue 16
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 18, 11599-11622, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 18, 11599-11622, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 16 Aug 2018

Research article | 16 Aug 2018

Seasonality of aerosol optical properties in the Arctic

Lauren Schmeisser1,3,*, John Backman2, John A. Ogren1,3, Elisabeth Andrews1, Eija Asmi2, Sandra Starkweather1,3, Taneil Uttal3, Markus Fiebig4, Sangeeta Sharma5, Kostas Eleftheriadis6, Stergios Vratolis6, Michael Bergin7, Peter Tunved8, and Anne Jefferson1 Lauren Schmeisser et al.
  • 1University of Colorado, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, Boulder, CO, USA
  • 2Finnish Meteorological Institute, Atmospheric Composition Research, Helsinki, Finland
  • 3National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Earth System Research Laboratory, Boulder, CO, USA
  • 4Norwegian Institute for Air Research, Kjeller, Norway
  • 5Environment and Climate Change Canada, Science & Technology Branch, Climate Research Division, Toronto, Canada
  • 6Institute of Nuclear and Radiological Science & Technology, Energy & Safety, Environmental Radioactivity Laboratory, NCSR Demokritos, Athens, Greece
  • 7Duke University, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Durham, NC, USA
  • 8Stockholm University, Department of Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry, Stockholm, Sweden
  • *now at: University of Washington, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Seattle, WA, USA

Abstract. Given the sensitivity of the Arctic climate to short-lived climate forcers, long-term in situ surface measurements of aerosol parameters are useful in gaining insight into the magnitude and variability of these climate forcings. Seasonality of aerosol optical properties – including the aerosol light-scattering coefficient, absorption coefficient, single-scattering albedo, scattering Ångström exponent, and asymmetry parameter – are presented for six monitoring sites throughout the Arctic: Alert, Canada; Barrow, USA; Pallas, Finland; Summit, Greenland; Tiksi, Russia; and Zeppelin Mountain, Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard, Norway. Results show annual variability in all parameters, though the seasonality of each aerosol optical property varies from site to site. There is a large diversity in magnitude and variability of scattering coefficient at all sites, reflecting differences in aerosol source, transport, and removal at different locations throughout the Arctic. Of the Arctic sites, the highest annual mean scattering coefficient is measured at Tiksi (12.47Mm−1), and the lowest annual mean scattering coefficient is measured at Summit (1.74Mm−1). At most sites, aerosol absorption peaks in the winter and spring, and has a minimum throughout the Arctic in the summer, indicative of the Arctic haze phenomenon; however, nuanced variations in seasonalities suggest that this phenomenon is not identically observed in all regions of the Arctic. The highest annual mean absorption coefficient is measured at Pallas (0.48Mm−1), and Summit has the lowest annual mean absorption coefficient (0.12Mm−1). At the Arctic monitoring stations analyzed here, mean annual single-scattering albedo ranges from 0.909 (at Pallas) to 0.960 (at Barrow), the mean annual scattering Ångström exponent ranges from 1.04 (at Barrow) to 1.80 (at Summit), and the mean asymmetry parameter ranges from 0.57 (at Alert) to 0.75 (at Summit). Systematic variability of aerosol optical properties in the Arctic supports the notion that the sites presented here measure a variety of aerosol populations, which also experience different removal mechanisms. A robust conclusion from the seasonal cycles presented is that the Arctic cannot be treated as one common and uniform environment but rather is a region with ample spatiotemporal variability in aerosols. This notion is important in considering the design or aerosol monitoring networks in the region and is important for informing climate models to better represent short-lived aerosol climate forcers in order to yield more accurate climate predictions for the Arctic.

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Short summary
This paper presents pan-Arctic seasonality of in-situ-measured aerosol optical properties from six surface monitoring sites. The analysis provides insight into aerosol annual variability throughout the region – something that is not possible using only measurements from satellite or temporary aircraft campaigns. This paper shows that the large spatiotemporal variability in aerosol optical properties needs to be taken into account in order to properly represent Arctic climate.
This paper presents pan-Arctic seasonality of in-situ-measured aerosol optical properties from...