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Volume 16, issue 13
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 16, 8405–8421, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-16-8405-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Special issue: Chemistry, microphysics and dynamics of the polar stratosphere:...

Atmos. Chem. Phys., 16, 8405–8421, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-16-8405-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 12 Jul 2016

Research article | 12 Jul 2016

Chemical analysis of refractory stratospheric aerosol particles collected within the arctic vortex and inside polar stratospheric clouds

Martin Ebert1, Ralf Weigel2, Konrad Kandler1, Gebhard Günther3, Sergej Molleker2, Jens-Uwe Grooß3, Bärbel Vogel3, Stephan Weinbruch1, and Stephan Borrmann2,4 Martin Ebert et al.
  • 1Institut für Angewandte Geowissenschaften, Technische Universität Darmstadt, Darmstadt, Germany
  • 2Institut für Physik der Atmosphäre, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität, Mainz, Germany
  • 3Institute for Energy and Climate Research (IEK-7), Research Center Jülich, Jülich, Germany
  • 4Partikelchemie, Max-Planck-Institut für Chemie, Mainz, Germany

Abstract. Stratospheric aerosol particles with diameters larger than about 10 nm were collected within the arctic vortex during two polar flight campaigns: RECONCILE in winter 2010 and ESSenCe in winter 2011. Impactors were installed on board the aircraft M-55 Geophysica, which was operated from Kiruna, Sweden. Flights were performed at a height of up to 21 km and some of the particle samples were taken within distinct polar stratospheric clouds (PSCs). The chemical composition, size and morphology of refractory particles were analyzed by scanning electron microscopy and energy-dispersive X-ray microanalysis. During ESSenCe no refractory particles with diameters above 500 nm were sampled. In total 116 small silicate, Fe-rich, Pb-rich and aluminum oxide spheres were found. In contrast to ESSenCe in early winter, during the late-winter RECONCILE mission the air masses were subsiding inside the Arctic winter vortex from the upper stratosphere and mesosphere, thus initializing a transport of refractory aerosol particles into the lower stratosphere. During RECONCILE, 759 refractory particles with diameters above 500 nm were found consisting of silicates, silicate ∕ carbon mixtures, Fe-rich particles, Ca-rich particles and complex metal mixtures. In the size range below 500 nm the presence of soot was also proven. While the data base is still sparse, the general tendency of a lower abundance of refractory particles during PSC events compared to non-PSC situations was observed. The detection of large refractory particles in the stratosphere, as well as the experimental finding that these particles were not observed in the particle samples (upper size limit ∼  5 µm) taken during PSC events, strengthens the hypothesis that such particles are present in the lower polar stratosphere in late winter and have provided a surface for heterogeneous nucleation during PSC formation.

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Stratospheric aerosol particles were collected within the arctic vortex in late winter. The chemical composition of refractory particles were analyzed by scanning electron microscopy. More than 750 refractory particles with diameters above 500 nm were found consisting of silicates, Fe- and Ca-rich particles and metal mixtures. The detection of refractory particles in the late winter polar stratosphere has strong implications for the formation of polar stratospheric clouds and ozone depletion.
Stratospheric aerosol particles were collected within the arctic vortex in late winter. The...
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