Articles | Volume 16, issue 19
Research article
11 Oct 2016
Research article |  | 11 Oct 2016

Vertical profiles of aerosol and black carbon in the Arctic: a seasonal phenomenology along 2 years (2011–2012) of field campaigns

Luca Ferrero, David Cappelletti, Maurizio Busetto, Mauro Mazzola, Angelo Lupi, Christian Lanconelli, Silvia Becagli, Rita Traversi, Laura Caiazzo, Fabio Giardi, Beatrice Moroni, Stefano Crocchianti, Martin Fierz, Griša Močnik, Giorgia Sangiorgi, Maria G. Perrone, Marion Maturilli, Vito Vitale, Roberto Udisti, and Ezio Bolzacchini

Abstract. We present results from a systematic study of vertical profiles of aerosol number size distribution and black carbon (BC) concentrations conducted in the Arctic, over Ny-Ålesund (Svalbard). The campaign lasted 2 years (2011–2012) and resulted in 200 vertical profiles measured by means of a tethered balloon (up to 1200 m a.g.l.) during the spring and summer seasons. In addition, chemical analysis of filter samples, aerosol size distribution and a full set of meteorological parameters were determined at ground. The collected experimental data allowed a classification of the vertical profiles into different typologies, which allowed us to describe the seasonal phenomenology of vertical aerosol properties in the Arctic.

During spring, four main types of profiles were found and their behavior was related to the main aerosol and atmospheric dynamics occurring at the measuring site. Background conditions generated homogenous profiles. Transport events caused an increase of aerosol concentration with altitude. High Arctic haze pollution trapped below thermal inversions promoted a decrease of aerosol concentration with altitude. Finally, ground-based plumes of locally formed secondary aerosol determined profiles with decreasing aerosol concentration located at different altitude as a function of size.

During the summer season, the impact from shipping caused aerosol and BC pollution plumes to be constrained close to the ground, indicating that increasing shipping emissions in the Arctic could bring anthropogenic aerosol and BC in the Arctic summer, affecting the climate.

Short summary
This study reports results from systematic vertical aerosol profiles measured in the Arctic using a tethered balloon platform. The collected data allowed for finding common rules of aerosol behavior along height and seasons. Transport events, secondary aerosol formation and ship impact are examples of the issues investigated along height. The importance of these issues is related to their climatic implications in reference to the aerosol direct and indirect effects in the Arctic atmosphere.
Final-revised paper