03 Nov 2021
03 Nov 2021
Status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Arctic spring and summertime aerosol optical depth baseline from long-term observations and model reanalyses, with implications for the impact of regional biomass burning processes

Peng Xian1, Jianglong Zhang2, Travis D. Toth3, Blake Sorenson2, Peter R. Colarco4, Zak Kipling5, Norm T. O'Neill6, Edward J. Hyer1, James R. Campell1, Jeffrey S. Reid1, and Keyvan Ranjbar6 Peng Xian et al.
  • 1Naval Research Laboratory, Monterey, CA, USA
  • 2Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND
  • 3NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia, USA
  • 4NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, USA
  • 5European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, Reading, UK
  • 6Département de géomatique appliqué, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada

Abstract. We present an Arctic aerosol optical depth (AOD) climatology and trend analysis for 2003–2019 spring and summertime periods derived from a combination of multi-agency aerosol reanalyses, remote sensing retrievals, and ground observations. This includes the U.S. Navy Aerosol Analysis and Prediction System ReAnalysis version 1 (NAAPS-RA v1), the NASA Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications, version 2 (MERRA-2), and the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service ReAnalysis (CAMSRA). Space-borne remote sensing retrievals of AOD are considered from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR), and Cloud-Aerosol Lidar with Orthogonal Polarization (CALIOP). Ground-based data include sun photometer data from Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET) sites and oceanic Maritime Aerosol Network (MAN) measurements. Aerosol reanalysis AODs and space-borne retrievals show consistent climatological spatial patterns and trends for both spring and summer seasons over the sub-Arctic (60–70° N). Consistent signs in the AOD trend are also found for the high Arctic (north of 70° N) from reanalyses. The aerosol reanalyses yield more consistent AOD results than climate models, verify well with AERONET, and corroborate complementary climatological and trend analysis. Speciated AODs are more variable than total AOD among the three reanalyses, and a little more so for March–May (MAM) than for June–August (JJA). Black Carbon (BC) AOD in the Arctic comes predominantly from biomass burning sources in both MAM and JJA, and biomass burning overwhelms anthropogenic sources in JJA for the study period.

AOD exhibits a negative trend in the Arctic in MAM, and a positive trend in JJA during 2003–2019, due to an overall decrease in sulfate/anthropogenic pollutions, and a significant increase in biomass burning smoke in JJA. Interannual Arctic AOD variability is significantly large, driven by fine-mode, and specifically, biomass burning (BB) smoke, though more so in JJA than in MAM. Extreme AOD events during spring and summer in the Arctic, defined as AOD greater than the 95th percentile value, are mainly attributed to BB smoke transport events. Extreme AOD cases tend to occur later in the season (i.e., July and August, in the latter decade rather than spreading over April–August in the early decade during 2003–2019) corresponding to a shift to a later time in extreme boreal BB activities.

Peng Xian et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on acp-2021-805', Anonymous Referee #2, 13 Nov 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on acp-2021-805', Anonymous Referee #1, 21 Dec 2021

Peng Xian et al.


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Short summary
The study provides a baseline Arctic spring and summertime aerosol optical depth climatology, trend, and extreme event statistics over 2003–2019 using a combination of aerosol reanalyses, remote sensing, and ground observations. Biomass burning smoke has an overwhelming contribution to black carbon (an efficient climate forcer) compared to anthropogenic sources. Burning’s large interannual variability and increasing summer trend have important implications for the Arctic climate.