Articles | Volume 12, issue 9
Research article
04 May 2012
Research article |  | 04 May 2012

The summer aerosol in the central Arctic 1991–2008: did it change or not?

J. Heintzenberg and C. Leck

Abstract. In the course of global warming dramatic changes are taking place in the Arctic and boreal environments. However, physical aerosol data in from the central summer Arctic taken over the course of 18 yr from 1991 to 2008 do not show systematic year-to-year changes, albeit substantial interannual variations. Besides the limited extent of the data several causes may be responsible for these findings. The processes controlling concentrations and particle size distribution of the aerosol over the central Arctic perennial pack ice area, north of 80°, may not have changed substantially during this time. Environmental changes are still mainly effective in the marginal ice zone, the ice-free waters and continental rims and have not propagated significantly into the central Arctic yet where they could affect the local aerosol and its sources. The analysis of meteorological conditions of the four expedition summers reveal substantial variations which we see as main causes of the measured variations in aerosol parameters. With combined lognormal fits of the hourly number size distributions of the four expeditions representative mode parameters for the summer aerosol in the central Arctic have been calculated. The combined aerosol statistics discussed in the present paper provide comprehensive physical data on the summer aerosol in the central Arctic. These data are the only surface aerosol information from this region.

Final-revised paper