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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  30 Jun 2020

30 Jun 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Atmospheric VOC measurements at a High Arctic site: characteristics and source apportionment

Jakob B. Pernov1, Rossana Bossi1, Thibaut Lebourgeois2, Jacob K. Nøjgaard1, Rupert Holzinger3, Jens L. Hjorth1, and Henrik Skov1 Jakob B. Pernov et al.
  • 1Department of Environmental Science, iCLIMATE, Aarhus University, Roskilde, Denmark
  • 2Ecole Normale Supérieure, Department of Geosciences, PSL Research University, Paris, France
  • 3Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research, Utrecht University, the Netherlands

Abstract. There are few long-term datasets of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the High Arctic. Furthermore, knowledge about their source regions remains lacking. To address this matter, we report a long-term dataset of highly time-resolved VOC measurements in the High Arctic from April to October 2018. We have utilized a combination of measurement and modeling techniques to characterize the mixing ratios, temporal patterns, and sources of VOCs at Villum Research Station at Station Nord, in Northeast Greenland. Atmospheric VOCs were measured using Proton Transfer-Time of Flight-Mass Spectrometry (PTR-ToF-MS). Ten ions were selected for source apportionment with the receptor model, positive matrix factorization (PMF). A four-factor solution to the PMF model was deemed optimal. The factors identified were Biomass Burning, Marine Cryosphere, Background, and Arctic Haze. The Biomass Burning factor described the variation of acetonitrile and benzene. Back trajectory analysis indicated the influence of active fires in North America and Eurasia. The Marine Cryosphere factor was comprised of carboxylic acids (formic, acetic, and propionic acid) as well as dimethyl sulfide (DMS). This factor displayed a clear diurnal profile during periods of snow and sea ice melt. Back trajectories showed that the source regions for this factor were the coasts around North Greenland and the Arctic Ocean. The Background factor was temporally ubiquitous, with a slight decrease in the summer. This factor was not driven by any individual chemical species. The Arctic Haze factor was dominated by benzene with contributions from oxygenated VOCs. This factor exhibited a maximum in the spring and minima during the summer and autumn. This temporal pattern and species profile are indicative of anthropogenic sources in the mid-latitudes. This study provides seasonal characteristics and sources of VOCs and can help elucidate the processes affecting the atmospheric chemistry and biogeochemical feedback mechanisms in the High Arctic.

Jakob B. Pernov et al.

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Jakob B. Pernov et al.

Jakob B. Pernov et al.


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Latest update: 29 Sep 2020
Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are an important constituent in the Arctic atmosphere, due to their effect on aerosol and ozone formation. However, understanding of their sources remains lacking. This research presents the longest high time resolution dataset of VOCs in the Arctic, details their temporal characteristics, and source apportionment. Four sources were identified: Biomass Burning, Marine Cryosphere, Background, and Arctic Haze.
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are an important constituent in the Arctic atmosphere, due to...