Articles | Volume 16, issue 3
Research article
03 Feb 2016
Research article |  | 03 Feb 2016

Aerosol size distribution seasonal characteristics measured in Tiksi, Russian Arctic

E. Asmi, V. Kondratyev, D. Brus, T. Laurila, H. Lihavainen, J. Backman, V. Vakkari, M. Aurela, J. Hatakka, Y. Viisanen, T. Uttal, V. Ivakhov, and A. Makshtas

Abstract. Four years of continuous aerosol number size distribution measurements from the Arctic Climate Observatory in Tiksi, Russia, are analyzed. Tiksi is located in a region where in situ information on aerosol particle properties has not been previously available. Particle size distributions were measured with a differential mobility particle sizer (in the diameter range of 7–500 nm) and with an aerodynamic particle sizer (in the diameter range of 0.5–10 μm). Source region effects on particle modal features and number, and mass concentrations are presented for different seasons. The monthly median total aerosol number concentration in Tiksi ranges from 184 cm−3 in November to 724 cm−3 in July, with a local maximum in March of 481 cm−3. The total mass concentration has a distinct maximum in February–March of 1.72–2.38 μg m−3 and two minimums in June (0.42 μg m−3) and in September–October (0.36–0.57 μg m−3). These seasonal cycles in number and mass concentrations are related to isolated processes and phenomena such as Arctic haze in early spring, which increases accumulation and coarse-mode numbers, and secondary particle formation in spring and summer, which affects the nucleation and Aitken mode particle concentrations. Secondary particle formation was frequently observed in Tiksi and was shown to be slightly more common in marine, in comparison to continental, air flows. Particle formation rates were the highest in spring, while the particle growth rates peaked in summer. These results suggest two different origins for secondary particles, anthropogenic pollution being the important source in spring and biogenic emissions being significant in summer. The impact of temperature-dependent natural emissions on aerosol and cloud condensation nuclei numbers was significant: the increase in both the particle mass and the CCN (cloud condensation nuclei) number with temperature was found to be higher than in any previous study done over the boreal forest region. In addition to the precursor emissions of biogenic volatile organic compounds, the frequent Siberian forest fires, although far away, are suggested to play a role in Arctic aerosol composition during the warmest months. Five fire events were isolated based on clustering analysis, and the particle mass and cloud condensation nuclei number were shown to be somewhat affected by these events. In addition, during calm and cold months, aerosol concentrations were occasionally increased by local aerosol sources in trapping inversions. These results provide valuable information on interannual cycles and sources of Arctic aerosols.

Short summary
Aerosol number size distributions were measured in Arctic Russia continuously during 4 years. The particles' seasonal characteristics and sources were identified based on these data. In early spring, elevated concentrations were detected during episodes of Arctic haze and during days of secondary particle formation. In summer, Siberian forests biogenic emissions had a significant impact on particle number and mass. These are the first such results obtained from the region.
Final-revised paper