Annual Patterns and Sources of Light-Absorbing Aerosols over Central Greenland

Monday, 15 December 2014
Jason Hu1, Michael Howard Bergin1, Jack E Dibb2, Patrick J Sheridan3 and John A Ogren4, (1)Georgia Institute of Technology Main Campus, Atlanta, GA, United States, (2)Univ New Hampshire, Durham, NH, United States, (3)NOAA/ESRL/GMD, Boulder, CO, United States, (4)NOAA Boulder, Boulder, CO, United States
The Arctic region has proven to be more responsive to recent changes in climate than other parts of the Earth. A key component of the Arctic climate is the Greenland ice sheet (GIS), which has the potential to dramatically influence sea level, depending on the amount of melting that occurs, as well as climate, through shifts in the regional radiation balance. Light-absorbing aerosols from biomass burning, fossil fuel combustion, and dust sources can potentially have a significant impact on the radiation balance of the GIS; however, in order to better understand their impact, it is important to first understand the annual trends of light-absorbing aerosols and their sources over the ice sheet. With this in mind, aerosol properties including the wavelength dependent aerosol light scattering and absorption coefficients have been continuously measured at Summit, Greenland since the spring of 2011.

These measurements will be used to calculate the multi-wavelength single-scattering albedo (ω0) and absorption Ångström exponent, identify annual patterns of aerosols over the GIS and how they vary from year to year, detect events of high absorption, and determine the sources of the aerosols. Preliminary findings indicate that the aerosols have an absorption Ångström exponent of approximately 1, which is characteristic of black carbon (BC). Absorption and scattering coefficients are higher in the spring and summer (March-September) and consequently lower in the fall and winter (September-March). Absorption and single-scattering albedo are averaged over the sunlit months of April-August and are found to be highest and lowest, respectively, in the year of 2012, corresponding to the year of record melt extent over the GIS.