Impacts of Organic Macromolecules, Chlorophyll and Soot on Arctic Sea Ice

Monday, 15 December 2014
Oluwaseun O Ogunro1, Oliver W Wingenter1, Scott Elliott2, Mark Flanner3 and Manvendra Krishna Dubey2, (1)New Mexico Tech, Socorro, NM, United States, (2)Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM, United States, (3)University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, United States
Recent intensification of Arctic amplification can be strongly connected to positive feedback relating black carbon deposition to sea ice surface albedo. In addition to soot deposition on the ice and snow pack, ice algal chlorophyll is likely to compete as an absorber and redistributor of energy. Hence, solar radiation absorption by chlorophyll and some components of organic macromolecules in/under the ice column is currently being examined to determine the level of influence on predicted rate of ice loss.

High amounts of organic macromolecules and chlorophyll are produced in global sea ice by the bottom microbial community and also in vertically distributed layers where substantial biological activities take place. Brine channeling in columnar ice can allow for upward flow of nutrients which leads to greater primary production in the presence of moderate light.

Modeling of the sea-ice processes in tandem with experiments and field observations promises rapid progress in enhancing Arctic ice predictions. We are designing and conducting global climate model experiments to determine the impact of organic macromolecules and chlorophyll on Arctic sea ice. Influences on brine network permeability and radiation/albedo will be considered in this exercise.

Absorption by anthropogenic materials such as soot and black carbon will be compared with that of natural pigments. We will indicate areas of soot and biological absorption dominance in the sense of single scattering, then couple into a full radiation transfer scheme to attribute the various contributions to polar climate change amplification. The work prepares us to study more traditional issues such as chlorophyll warming of the pack periphery and chemical effects of the flow of organics from ice internal communities. The experiments started in the Arctic will broaden to include Antarctic sea ice and shelves. Results from the Arctic simulations will be presented.