Articles | Volume 12, issue 14
Research article
24 Jul 2012
Research article |  | 24 Jul 2012

Anthropogenic and forest fire pollution aerosol transported to the Arctic: observations from the POLARCAT-France spring campaign

B. Quennehen, A. Schwarzenboeck, A. Matsuki, J. F. Burkhart, A. Stohl, G. Ancellet, and K. S. Law

Abstract. During the POLARCAT-France airborne measurement campaign in spring 2008, several pollution plumes transported from mid-latitude regions were encountered. The study presented here focuses on air masses from two different geographic origins (Europe and Asia) and from 2 different source types (anthropogenic pollution and forest fires). A first case study is dedicated to a European air mass, which was repeatedly sampled and analysed during three consecutive days. Thereby, the evolution of the aerosol properties (size distributions, CO mixing ratio) is characterised and related processes are discussed. In particular, the role of coagulation, condensation and cloud processing in the evolution of the Aitken and the accumulation mode particles are contrasted.

A second case study focuses on European air masses impacted solely by biomass burning emissions and Asian air masses with contributions from both biomass burning and anthropogenic emissions. The analysis of aerosol modes highlight a similar behaviour for particle originating from biomass burning (from Europe as well as Asia). In comparison to the predominating aged accumulation mode in biomass burning particles, a still larger aerosol accumulation mode related to Asian anthropogenic emissions can be isolated. These findings corroborate the external mixing of such kind of aerosol size distributions. An electron microscopy study (coupled to X-ray elemental analysis) of particles illustrated soot-like inclusions in several samples. Within samples attributed to forest fire sources, the chemical signature is highly associated with the presence of potassium, which is a characteristic tracer element for biomass burning plumes. The single particle images suggest an internal mixing of sampled individual aerosol particles. Thus, particles are found externally mixed as demonstrated from particle size distributions while they appear internally mixed at the particle scale.

Final-revised paper