Cluster analysis of the impact of air back-trajectories on aerosol optical properties at Hornsund, Spitsbergen
Abstract. In this paper, spectra of aerosol optical thickness from the AERONET (AErosol RObotic NETwork) station at Hornsund in the southern part of Spitsbergen were employed to study the impact of air mass history on aerosol optical thickness for wavelength λ=500 nm – AOT(500) – and the Ångström exponent. Backward trajectories computed, using the NOAA HYSPLIT model, were used to trace air history. It was found that in spring, the changes in AOT values over the Hornsund station were strongly influenced by air mass trajectories 8 days or longer in duration, arriving both in the free troposphere and at an altitude of 1 km above sea level. Nevertheless, free tropospheric advection was dominant. AOT variability in summer was best explained by the local direction and speed of advection (1-day trajectories) and was dominated by the effectiveness of cleansing processes. During the ASTAR 2007 campaign, the aerosols near Hornsund displayed low AOT values ranging from 0.06 to 0.09, which is lower than the mean AOT(500) for spring seasons from 2005 to 2007 (0.110±0.007; mean ± standard deviation of mean). 9 April 2007 with AOT(500)=0.147 was exceptional. The back-trajectories belonged to clusters with low and average cluster mean AOT. Apart from the maximum AOT of 9 April 2007, the observed AOT values were close to or lower than the means for the clusters to which they belonged.