Articles | Volume 7, issue 11
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 7, 3035–3053, 2007
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 7, 3035–3053, 2007

  14 Jun 2007

14 Jun 2007

Arctic smoke – aerosol characteristics during a record smoke event in the European Arctic and its radiative impact

R. Treffeisen1, P. Tunved2, J. Ström2, A. Herber3, J. Bareiss4, A. Helbig4, R. S. Stone5, W. Hoyningen-Huene6, R. Krejci7, A. Stohl8, and R. Neuber1 R. Treffeisen et al.
  • 1Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Telegrafenberg A45, 14473 Potsdam, Germany
  • 2ITM – Department of Applied Environmental Science, Stockholm University, S 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
  • 3Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Am Handelshafen 12, 27570 Bremerhaven, Germany
  • 4University of Trier, Department of Climatology, 54286 Trier, Germany
  • 5Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder 80309, USA
  • 6University of Bremen, Institute of Environmental Physics, Otto-Hahn-Allee 1, 28334 Bremen, Germany
  • 7Department of Meteorology (MISU), Stockholm University, S 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
  • 8Norwegian Institute for Air Research, Instituttveien 18, 2027 Kjeller, Norway

Abstract. In early May 2006 a record high air pollution event was observed at Ny-Ålesund, Spitsbergen. An atypical weather pattern established a pathway for the rapid transport of biomass burning aerosols from agricultural fires in Eastern Europe to the Arctic. Atmospheric stability was such that the smoke was constrained to low levels, within 2 km of the surface during the transport. A description of this smoke event in terms of transport and main aerosol characteristics can be found in Stohl et al. (2007). This study puts emphasis on the radiative effect of the smoke. The aerosol number size distribution was characterised by lognormal parameters as having an accumulation mode centered around 165–185 nm and almost 1.6 for geometric standard deviation of the mode. Nucleation and small Aitken mode particles were almost completely suppressed within the smoke plume measured at Ny-Ålesund. Chemical and microphysical aerosol information obtained at Mt. Zeppelin (474 m a.s.l) was used to derive input parameters for a one-dimensional radiation transfer model to explore the radiative effects of the smoke. The daily mean heating rate calculated on 2 May 2006 for the average size distribution and measured chemical composition reached 0.55 K day−1 at 0.5 km altitude for the assumed external mixture of the aerosols but showing much higher heating rates for an internal mixture (1.7 K day−1). In comparison a case study for March 2000 showed that the local climatic effects due to Arctic haze, using a regional climate model, HIRHAM, amounts to a maximum of 0.3 K day−1 of heating at 2 km altitude (Treffeisen et al., 2005).

Final-revised paper