Continental scale Antarctic deposition of sulphur and black carbon from anthropogenic and volcanic sources
- 1University of Cambridge, Geography Department, Cambridge, UK
- 2British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, UK
- 3Max-Planck-Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg, Germany
Abstract. While Antarctica is often described as a pristine environment, there is an increasing awareness of the potential threats from local pollution sources including tourist ships and emissions associated with scientific activities. However, to date there has been no systematic attempt to model the impacts of such pollutants at the continental scale. Indeed, until very recently there was not even a sulphur emission budget available for Antarctica. Here we present the first comprehensive study of atmospheric pollution in Antarctica using a limited area chemistry climate model, and a monthly emissions inventory for sulphur from maintenance of research stations, ground and air traffic, shipping and the active Erebus volcano. We find that ship emissions, both sulphurous and black carbon, dominate anthropogenic pollution near the ground. Their prevalence is likely to rise dramatically if recent trends in tourism continue.