19 Sep 2022
19 Sep 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Meteorological export and deposition fluxes of Black Carbon on glaciers of the central Chilean Andes

Rémy Lapere1, Nicolás Huneeus2, Sylvain Mailler1,3, Laurent Menut1, and Florian Couvidat4 Rémy Lapere et al.
  • 1Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique, IPSL, École Polytechnique, Institut Polytechnique de Paris, ENS, Université PSL, Sorbonne Université, CNRS, Palaiseau, France
  • 2Department of Geophysics, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile
  • 3École des Ponts, Université Paris-Est, 77455 Champs-sur-Marne, France
  • 4Institut National de l’Environnement Industriel et des Risques, Verneuil-en-Halatte, France

Abstract. Air pollution in the central zone of Chile not only is a public health concern, but also threatens water resources and climate, in connection with the transport and deposition of black carbon (BC) from urban centers onto the glaciers of the Andes Cordillera. Chemistry-transport simulations reveal a seasonal dichotomy in the flux and latitudinal pattern of BC deposition on glaciers of the central Chilean Andes. The average deposition flux of BC on glaciers between 30° S and 37° S is 4 times larger in winter, affecting mostly low elevation glaciers, whereas the smaller summertime flux affects glaciers evenly, irrespective of their elevation. The contribution of emissions from Santiago city is dominant in summertime with more than 50 % along the Andes, but minor in wintertime with less than 20 % even close to the capital city. Transport at larger scales and more local sources likely account for the remaining flux. The superimposition of synoptic-scale circulation and local mountain-valley circulation along the Andes cordillera drives the differences between summertime and wintertime deposition fluxes and generates a greater meteorological export potential during summer months. Future emissions and climate projections suggest that under the RCP8.5 scenario the gap between summertime and wintertime BC export and deposition flux could decrease, thereby pointing to summertime emission control gaining relevance. The chemistry-transport modeling approach for BC deposition on the Andes sheds light on the importance of the often disregarded summertime emissions on the radiative balance of its glaciers, particularly in the vicinity of Santiago.

Rémy Lapere et al.

Status: open (until 31 Oct 2022)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse

Rémy Lapere et al.

Rémy Lapere et al.


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Short summary
Glaciers in the Andes of central Chile are shrinking rapidly in response to global warming. This melting is accelerated by the deposition of opaque particles onto snow and ice. In this work, model simulations quantify typical deposition rates of soot on glaciers in summer and winter months, and show that the contribution of emissions from Santiago is not as high as anticipated. Additionally, the combination of regional and local scale meteorology explain the seasonality in deposition.