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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
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Research article
31 Jan 2018
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).
Seasonality of aerosol optical properties in the Arctic
Lauren Schmeisser1,3,a, John Backman2, John A. Ogren1,3, Elisabeth Andrews1, Eija Asmi2, Sandra Starkweather1,3, Taneil Uttal3, Markus Fiebig4, Sangeeta Sharma5, Kostas Eleftheriadis6, Stergios Vratolis6, Michael Bergin7, Peter Tunved8, and Anne Jefferson1 1University of Colorado, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, Boulder, CO, USA
2Finnish Meteorological Institute, Atmospheric Composition Research, Helsinki, Finland
3National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Earth System Research Laboratory, Boulder, CO, USA
4Norwegian Institute for Air Research, Kjeller, Norway
5Environment and Climate Change Canada, Science & Technology Branch, Climate Research Division, Toronto, Canada
6Institute of Nuclear and Radiological Science & Technology, Energy & Safety, Environmental Radioactivity Laboratory, NCSR Demokritos, Athens, Greece
7Duke University, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Durham, NC, USA
8Stockholm University, Department of Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry, Stockholm, Sweden
anow at: University of Washington, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Seattle, WA, USA
Abstract. Given the sensitivity of the Arctic climate to short-lived climate forcers, long-term in-situ surface measurements of aerosol parameters are useful in gaining insight into the magnitude and variability of these climate forcings. Seasonality of aerosol optical properties, including aerosol light scattering coefficient, absorption coefficient, single scattering albedo, scattering Ångström exponent, and asymmetry parameter are presented for six monitoring sites throughout the Arctic: Alert, Canada; Barrow, USA; Pallas, Finland; Summit, Greenland; Tiksi, Russia; and Zeppelin Mountain, Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard, Norway. Results show annual variability in all parameters, though the seasonality of each aerosol optical property varies from site to site. There is a large diversity in magnitude and variability of scattering coefficient at all sites, reflecting differences in aerosol source, transport and removal at different locations throughout the Arctic. Of the Arctic sites, the highest annual mean scattering coefficient is measured at Tiksi (12.47 Mm−1) and the lowest annual mean scattering coefficient is measured at Summit (1.74 Mm−1). At most sites, aerosol absorption peaks in the winter and spring, and has a minimum throughout the Arctic in the summer, indicative of the Arctic haze phenomenon; however, nuanced variations in seasonalities suggest that this phenomenon is not identically observed in all regions of the Arctic. The highest annual mean absorption coefficient is measured at Pallas (0.48 Mm−1) and Summit has the lowest annual mean absorption coefficient (0.12 Mm−1). At the Arctic monitoring stations analyzed here, mean annual single scattering albedo ranges from 0.909–0.960 (at Pallas and Barrow, respectively), mean annual scattering Ångström exponent ranges from 1.04–1.80 (at Barrow and Summit, respectively), and mean asymmetry parameter ranges from 0.57–0.75 (at Alert and Summit, respectively). Systematic variability of aerosol optical properties in the Arctic supports the notion that the sites presented here measure a variety of aerosol populations, which also experience different removal mechanisms. A robust conclusion from the climatologies presented is that the Arctic cannot be treated as one common and uniform environment, but rather is a region with ample spatio-temporal variability in aerosols. This notion is important in considering the design or aerosol monitoring networks in the region, and is important for informing climate models to better represent short-lived aerosol climate forcers in order to yield more accurate climate predictions for the Arctic.
Citation: Schmeisser, L., Backman, J., Ogren, J. A., Andrews, E., Asmi, E., Starkweather, S., Uttal, T., Fiebig, M., Sharma, S., Eleftheriadis, K., Vratolis, S., Bergin, M., Tunved, P., and Jefferson, A.: Seasonality of aerosol optical properties in the Arctic, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss.,, in review, 2018.
Lauren Schmeisser et al.
Lauren Schmeisser et al.
Lauren Schmeisser et al.


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Short summary
This paper presents pan-Arctic seasonality of in-situ measured aerosol optical properties from six surface monitoring sites. The analysis provides insight into aerosol annual variability throughout the region – something that is not possible using only measurements from satellite or temporary aircraft campaigns. This paper shows that the large spatio-temporal variability in aerosol optical properties needs to be taken into account in order to properly represent Arctic climate.
This paper presents pan-Arctic seasonality of in-situ measured aerosol optical properties from...