A trajectory analysis of atmospheric transport of black carbon aerosols to Canadian High Arctic in winter and spring (1990–2005)
1Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry, University of Toronto, 200 College Street, Toronto, ON M5S 3E5 Canada
2Air Quality Research Division, Environment Canada, Toronto, ON M3H 5T4 Canada
3Climate Research Division, Environment Canada, Toronto, ON M3H 5T4 Canada
Abstract. Black carbon (BC) particles accumulated in the Arctic troposphere and deposited over snow have significant effects on radiative forcing of the Arctic regional climate. Applying cluster analysis technique on 10-day backward trajectories, transport pathways affecting Alert (82.5° N, 62.5° W), Nunavut in Canada are identified in this work, along with the associated transport frequency. Based on the atmospheric transport frequency and the estimated BC emission intensity from surrounding regions, a linear regression model is constructed to investigate the inter-annual variations of BC observed at Alert in January and April, representative of winter and spring respectively, between 1990 and 2005. Strong correlations are found between BC concentrations predicted with the regression model and measured at Alert for both seasons (R2 equals 0.77 and 0.81 for winter and spring, respectively). Results imply that atmospheric transport and BC emission are the major contributors to the inter-annual variations in BC concentrations observed at Alert in the cold seasons for the 16-year period. Based on the regression model the relative contributions of regional BC emissions affecting Alert are attributed to the Eurasian sector, composed of the European Union and the former USSR, and the North American sector. Considering both seasons, the model suggests that Eurasia is the major contributor to the near-surface BC levels at the Canadian High Arctic site with an average contribution of over 85% during the 16-year period. In winter, the atmospheric transport of BC aerosols from Eurasia is found to be even more predominant with a multi-year average of 94%. The model estimates smaller contribution from the Eurasian sector in spring (70%) than that in winter. It is also found that the change in Eurasian contributions depends mainly on the reduction of emission intensity, while the changes in both emission and atmospheric transport contributed to the inter-annual variation of North American contributions.