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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 16 Jun 2020

Submitted as: research article | 16 Jun 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Spatiotemporal variability of elemental and organic carbon in Svalbard snow during 2007–2018

Christian Zdanowicz1, Jean-Charles Gallet2, Mats P. Björkman3, Catherine Larose4, Thomas V. Schuler5, Bartłomiej Luks6, Krystyna Koziol7, Andrea Spolaor8, Elena Barbaro8,9, Tõnu Martma10, Ward van Pelt1, Ulla Wideqvist11, and Johan Ström11 Christian Zdanowicz et al.
  • 1Department of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University, Uppsala, 752 36, Sweden
  • 2Norwegian Polar Institute, Tromsø, 9296, Norway
  • 3Department of Earth Sciences, University of Gothenburg, 405 30 Gothenburg, Sweden
  • 4Environmental Microbial Genomics, École Centrale de Lyon, Université de Lyon, 69134 Ecully, France
  • 5Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo, 0316 Oslo, Norway
  • 6Institute of Geophysics, Polish Academy of Sciences, 01-452 Warszawa, Poland
  • 7Department of Analytical Chemistry, Gdańsk University of Technology, 80-233 Gdańsk, Poland
  • 8Institute of Polar Sciences, ISP-CNR, 30170 Venice Mestre, Italy
  • 9Department of Environmental Sciences, Informatics and Statistics, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, 30172 Mestre, Italy
  • 10Department of Geology, Tallinn University of Technology, 19086 Tallinn, Estonia
  • 11Department of Environmental Science, Stockholm University, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract. Light-absorbing carbonaceous aerosols emitted by biomass or fossil fuel combustion can contribute to amplify Arctic climate warming by lowering the albedo of snow. The Svalbard archipelago, being near to Europe and Russia, is particularly affected by these pollutants, and improved knowledge of their distribution in snow is needed to assess their impact. Here we present and synthesize new data obtained on Svalbard between 2007 and 2018, comprising 324 measurements of elemental (EC) and organic carbon (OC) in snow from 49 sites. We used these data, combined with meteorological and aerosol data and snowpack modelling, to investigate the variability of EC and OC deposition in Svalbard snow across latitude, longitude, elevation and time. Overall, EC concentrations (CsnowEC) ranged from < 1.0 to 266.6 ng g−1, while OC concentrations (CsnowOC) ranged from < 1.0 to 9449.1 ng g−1, with the highest values observed near Ny-Ålesund. Calculated snowpack loadings (LsnowEC, LsnowOC) in April 2016 were 0.1 to 16.2 mg m−2 and 1.7 to 320.1 mg m−2, respectively. The median CsnowEC and LsnowEC in the late 2015‒16 winter snowpack on glaciers were close to or lower than those found in earlier (2007–09), comparable surveys. Both LsnowEC and LsnowOCC increased exponentially with elevation and snow accumulation, with dry deposition likely playing a minor role. Estimated area-averaged snowpack loads across Svalbard were 1.8 mg EC m−2 and 71.5 mg OC m−2 in April 2016. An ~ 11-year long dataset of spring surface snow measurements from central Brøgger Peninsula was used to quantify the interannual variability of EC and OC deposition in snow. On average, CsnowEC and CsnowOC at Ny-Ålesund (50 m a.s.l.) were 3 and 7 times higher, respectively, than on the nearby Austre Brøggerbreen glacier (456 m a.s.l.), and the median EC/OC in Ny-Ålesund was 6 times higher, pointing to some local EC emission from Ny-Ålesund. While no long-term trends between 2011 and 2018 were found, CsnowEC and CsnowOC showed synchronous variations at Ny-Ålesund and Austre Brøggerbreen. Comparing CsnowEC at Austre Brøggerbreen with aerosol data from Zeppelin Observatory, we found that snowfall washout ratios between 10 and 300 predict a range of CsnowEC in agreement with that measured in surface snow. Together, results from this study and comparable surveys confirm the existence of a longitudinal gradient in EC deposition across the Arctic and sub-Arctic, with the lowest CsnowEC found in the western Arctic (Alaska, Yukon) and central Greenland, and the highest in northwestern Russia and Siberia.

Christian Zdanowicz et al.

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Status: open (until 11 Aug 2020)
Status: open (until 11 Aug 2020)
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Christian Zdanowicz et al.

Data sets

Particulate organic and elemental carbon in Svalbard snow, 2007-18. Jean-Charles Gallet, Christian Zdanowicz, Mats P Björkman, Thomas V Schuler, Bartlomiej Luks, Krystyna Koziol, Andrea Spolaor, Elena Barbaro, Tõnu Martma, Ulla Wideqvist, and Johan Ström,

Christian Zdanowicz et al.


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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Black carbon (BC) aerosols are soot-like particles which, when transported to the Arctic, darken snow surfaces, thus indirectly affecting climate. Information on BC in Arctic snow is needed to measure their impact, and monitor the efficacy of pollution-reduction policies. This paper presents a large new set of BC measurements in snow in Svalbard collected between 2007-18. It describes how BC in snow varies across the archipelago, and explores some factors controlling these variations.
Black carbon (BC) aerosols are soot-like particles which, when transported to the Arctic, darken...