Black carbon aerosols over coastal Antarctica and its scavenging by snow during the Southern Hemispheric summer

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Abstract

[1] Mass concentrations of aerosol black carbon (BC) and of the composite (total) aerosols (MB and MT, respectively) were measured over two Antarctic locations, Maitri [70°S, 12°E, 123 m mean sea level (msl)] and Larsemann Hills (LH; 69°S, 77°E, 48 m msl) as a part of the twenty-eighth Indian Scientific Expedition to Antarctica during the Southern Hemispheric summer of 2009. Despite being very low compared to Northern Hemisphere locations, MB and its mass mixing ratio to the total aerosols were much high over Maitri (∼75 ng m−3 and 2%) compared to LH (13 ng m−3 and 0.2%). At both locations, MB fell abruptly after blizzards, after which the values reduced to nearly half the pre-blizzard values. This BC scavenging by snow can lead to change in snow albedo and has strong climate implications. The Angstrom exponent (αabs) estimated from the spectral values of absorption coefficients (σabs) is found to vary from 0.5 to 1, indicating higher a BC-to-organic carbon ratio typical of fossil fuel origin.

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