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© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 06 Feb 2019

Research article | 06 Feb 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

The importance of the representation of air pollution emissions for the modeled distribution and radiative effects of black carbon in the Arctic

Jacob Schacht1, Bernd Heinold1, Johannes Quaas2, John Backman3, Ribu Cherian2, Andre Ehrlich2, Andreas Herber4, Wan Ting Katty Huang5, Yutaka Kondo6, Andreas Massling7, P. R. Sinha8, Bernadett Weinzierl9, Marco Zanatta4, and Ina Tegen1 Jacob Schacht et al.
  • 1Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research, TROPOS, Leipzig, Germany
  • 2Leipzig Institute for Meteorology, Universität Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany
  • 3Atmospheric Composition Research, Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki, Finland
  • 4Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, Germany
  • 5ETH Zürich, Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, Zurich, Switzerland
  • 6National Institute for Polar Research, Tokyo, Japan
  • 7Department of Environmental Science, Aarhus University, Roskilde, Denmark
  • 8Department of Earth and Space Sciences, Indian Institute of Space Science Technology, Thiruvananthapura, India
  • 9Aerosol Physics and Environmental Physics, Faculty of Physics, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria

Abstract. Aerosol particles can contribute to the Arctic Amplification by direct and indirect radiative effects. Specifically, black carbon (BC) in the atmosphere, and when deposited on snow and sea ice, has a positive effect on the top of atmosphere radiation balance during polar day. Current climate models, however, are still struggling to reproduce Arctic aerosol conditions. We present an evaluation study with the global aerosol-climate model ECHAM6.3-HAM2.3 to examine emission-related uncertainties in the BC distribution and the direct radiative effect of BC. The model results are comprehensively compared against latest ground and air-borne aerosol observations for the period 2005–2017 with focus on BC. Four different setups of air pollution emissions are tested. The simulations in general match well with the observed amount and temporal variability of near-surface BC in the Arctic. Using actual daily instead of fixed biomass burning emissions is crucial to reproduce individual pollution events but has only a small influence on the seasonal cycle of BC. Compared to commonly used fixed anthropogenic emissions for the year 2000, an up-to-date inventory with transient air pollution emissions results in up to 30 % higher annual BC burden and an over 0.2 W m−2 higher annual mean all-sky net direct radiative effect of BC at top of the atmosphere over the Eastern Arctic Ocean. We estimate BC in the Arctic to lead to a net gain of up 0.8 W m−2 by the direct radiative effect of atmospheric BC plus the effect by an albedo reduction by BC-in-snow. Long-range transport is identified as one of the main sources of uncertainties for ECHAM6.3-HAM2.3, leading to an overestimation of BC in atmospheric layers above 500 hPa especially in summer. This is related to a misrepresentation in wet removal in one identified case at least, that was observed during the ARCTAS summer aircraft campaign. Over all, the current model version has significantly improved since previous intercomparison studies and performs now better than the AeroCom average in terms of the spatial and temporal distribution of Arctic BC.

Jacob Schacht et al.
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Status: final response (author comments only)
Status: final response (author comments only)
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Jacob Schacht et al.
Jacob Schacht et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
The Arctic is warming faster than the rest of Earth. Black carbon (BC) aerosol contributes to this Arctic Amplification by direct and indirect aerosol radiative effects while distributed in the air or deposited on snow and ice. The aerosol-climate model ECHAM-HAM is used to estimate the direct radiative effect (DRE). Airborne and near-surface BC measurements are used to evaluate the model and give an uncertainty range for the burden and DRE of Arctic BC caused by different emission inventories.
The Arctic is warming faster than the rest of Earth. Black carbon (BC) aerosol contributes to...