Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2021-458
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2021-458

  11 Jun 2021

11 Jun 2021

Review status: a revised version of this preprint was accepted for the journal ACP and is expected to appear here in due course.

Influence of springtime atmospheric circulation types on the distribution of air pollutants in the Arctic

Manu Anna Thomas1, Abhay Devasthale1, and Tiina Nygård2 Manu Anna Thomas et al.
  • 1Research and development, Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI), Folkborgsvägen 17, 60176 Norrköping, Sweden
  • 2Polar Meteorology and Climatology Group, Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI), Finland

Abstract. The transport and distribution of short-lived climate forcers in the Arctic is influenced by the prevailing atmospheric circulation patterns. Understanding the coupling between pollutant distribution and dominant atmospheric circulation types is therefore important, not least to understand the processes governing the local processing of pollutants in the Arctic, but also to test the fidelity of chemistry transport models to simulate the transport from the southerly latitudes. Here, we use a combination of satellite based and reanalysis datasets spanning over 12 years (2007–2018) and investigate the concentrations of NO2, O3, CO and aerosols and their co-variability during 20 different atmospheric circulation types in the spring season (March, April and May) over the Arctic. We carried out a Self-Organizing Maps analysis of MSLP to derive these circulation types.

Although almost all pollutants investigated here show statistically significant sensitivity to the circulation types, NO2 exhibits the strongest sensitivity among them. The circulation types with low-pressure systems located over the northeast Atlantic show a clear enhancement of NO2 and AOD in the European Arctic. The O3 concentrations are, however, decreased. The free tropospheric CO is increased over the Arctic during such events. The circulation types with atmospheric blocking over Greenland and northern Scandinavia show the opposite signal in which the NO2 concentrations are decreased and AODs are smaller than the climatological values. The O3 concentrations are, however, increased and the free tropospheric CO decreased during such events.

The study provides the most comprehensive assessment so far of the sensitivity of springtime pollutant distribution to the atmospheric circulation types in the Arctic and also provides an observational basis for the evaluation of chemistry transport models.

Manu Anna Thomas et al.

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on acp-2021-458', Anonymous Referee #1, 12 Jul 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on acp-2021-458', Anonymous Referee #2, 17 Jul 2021

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on acp-2021-458', Anonymous Referee #1, 12 Jul 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on acp-2021-458', Anonymous Referee #2, 17 Jul 2021

Manu Anna Thomas et al.

Manu Anna Thomas et al.

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Short summary
The impact of transported pollutants and their spatial distribution in the Arctic is governed by the local atmospheric circulation or weather states. Therefore, we investigated 20 different atmospheric circulation types during spring in the Arctic. Using satellite and reanalysis datasets, this study provides a comprehensive assessment of which typical circulation patterns can lead to enhanced or reduced pollution concentrations in the different sectors of the Arctic.
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