Articles | Volume 17, issue 9
Research article
10 May 2017
Research article |  | 10 May 2017

Observations of atmospheric chemical deposition to high Arctic snow

Katrina M. Macdonald, Sangeeta Sharma, Desiree Toom, Alina Chivulescu, Sarah Hanna, Allan K. Bertram, Andrew Platt, Mike Elsasser, Lin Huang, David Tarasick, Nathan Chellman, Joseph R. McConnell, Heiko Bozem, Daniel Kunkel, Ying Duan Lei, Greg J. Evans, and Jonathan P. D. Abbatt

Abstract. Rapidly rising temperatures and loss of snow and ice cover have demonstrated the unique vulnerability of the high Arctic to climate change. There are major uncertainties in modelling the chemical depositional and scavenging processes of Arctic snow. To that end, fresh snow samples collected on average every 4 days at Alert, Nunavut, from September 2014 to June 2015 were analyzed for black carbon, major ions, and metals, and their concentrations and fluxes were reported. Comparison with simultaneous measurements of atmospheric aerosol mass loadings yields effective deposition velocities that encompass all processes by which the atmospheric species are transferred to the snow. It is inferred from these values that dry deposition is the dominant removal mechanism for several compounds over the winter while wet deposition increased in importance in the fall and spring, possibly due to enhanced scavenging by mixed-phase clouds. Black carbon aerosol was the least efficiently deposited species to the snow.

Short summary
Rapid climate changes within the Arctic have highlighted existing uncertainties in the transport of contaminants to Arctic snow. Fresh snow samples collected frequently through the winter season were analyzed for major constituents creating a unique record of Arctic snow. Comparison with simultaneous atmospheric measurements provides insight into the driving processes in the transfer of contaminants from air to snow. The relative importance of deposition mechanisms over the season is proposed.
Final-revised paper