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Discussion papers | Copyright
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2017-895
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 04 Oct 2017

Research article | 04 Oct 2017

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This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of this manuscript was accepted for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP) and is expected to appear here in due course.

Historical black carbon deposition in the Canadian High Arctic: A 190-year long ice-core record from Devon Island

Christian M. Zdanowicz1, Bernadette C. Proemse2, Ross Edwards3, Wang Feiteng3,4, Chad M. Hogan2, and Christophe Kinnard5 Christian M. Zdanowicz et al.
  • 1Department of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University, Uppsala, 75646, Sweden
  • 2School of Biological Sciences, University of Tasmania, Hobart, TAS7001, Australia
  • 3Physics and Astronomy, Curtin University, Perth, WA6102, Australia
  • 4Cold and Arid Regions Environment and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou, China
  • 5Département des Sciences de l'Environnement, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, Trois-Rivières, G9A 5H7, Canada

Abstract. Black carbon aerosol (BC) emitted from natural and anthropogenic sources (e.g., wildfires, coal burning) can contribute to magnify climate warming at high latitudes by darkening snow- and ice-covered surfaces, thus lowering their albedo. Modeling the atmospheric transport and deposition of BC to the Arctic is therefore important, and historical archives of BC accumulation in polar ice can help to validate such modeling efforts. Here we present a 190-year ice-core record of refractory BC (rBC) deposition on Devon ice cap, Canada, spanning calendar years 1810–1990, the first such record ever developed from the Canadian Arctic. The estimated mean deposition flux of rBC on Devon ice cap for 1963–1990 is 0.2mgm−2a−1, which is low compared to most Greenland ice-core sites over the same period. The Devon ice cap rBC record also differs from existing Greenland records in that it shows no evidence of a substantial increase in rBC deposition during the early-mid 20th century, which, for Greenland, has been attributed to mid-latitude coal burning emissions. The deposition of other contaminants such as sulfate and Pb increased on Devon ice cap in the 20th century but without a concomitant rise in rBC. Part of the difference with Greenland may be due to local factors such as wind scouring of winter snow at the coring site on Devon ice cap. Air back-trajectory analyses also suggest that Devon ice cap receives BC from more distant North American and Eurasian sources than Greenland, and aerosol mixing and removal during long-range transport over the Arctic Ocean likely masks some of the specific BC source-receptor relationships. Findings from this study underscore the large variability in BC aerosol deposition across the Arctic region that may arise from different transport patterns. This variability needs to be accounted for when estimating the large-scale albedo lowering effect of BC deposition on Arctic snow/ice.

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Christian M. Zdanowicz et al.
Christian M. Zdanowicz et al.
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Short summary
Black carbon (BC) particles emitted by natural and human-made sources (e.g., wildfires, coal burning) can amplify climate warming by increasing sunlight energy absorption on snow-covered surfaces. This paper presents a new ice-core record of historical (1810–1990) BC deposition in the Canadian Arctic. The Devon ice cap record differs from Greenland ice cores, implying large variations in BC deposition across the Arctic that must be accounted for to better quantity their future climate impact.
Black carbon (BC) particles emitted by natural and human-made sources (e.g., wildfires, coal...
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