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

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posted on 2023-05-19, 12:35 authored by Zdanowicz, CM, Bernadette ProemseBernadette Proemse, Edwards, R, Feiteng, W, Hogan, CM, Kinnard, C, Fisher, D
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 0.2 mg m−2 a−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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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions








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© Author(s) 2017. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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Understanding climate change not elsewhere classified

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