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Arctic haze: current trends and knowledge gaps

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*Corresponding author. e-mail: patricia.k.quinn@noaa.gov

ABSTRACT

Trend analyses were performed on several indicators of Arctic haze using data from sites located in the North American, Norwegian, Finnish and Russian Arctic for the spring months of March and April. Concentrations of nonseasalt (nss) SO4= in the Canadian, Norwegian and Finnish Arctic were found to have decreased by 30–70% from the early 1990s to present. The magnitude of the decrease depended on location. The trend in nss SO4= at Barrow, Alaska from 1997 to present, is unclear. Measurements at Barrow of light scattering by aerosols show a decrease of about 50% between the early 1980s and the mid-1990s for both March and April. Restricting the analysis to the more recent period of 1997 to present indicates an increase in scattering of about 50% during March. Aerosol NO3 measured at Alert, Canada has increased by about 50% between the early 1990s and 2003. Nss K+ and light absorption, indicators of forest fires, have a seasonal maximum during the winter and spring and minimum during the summer and fall at both Alert and Barrow. Based on these data, the impact of summertime forest fire emissions on low-altitude surface sites within the Arctic is relatively small compared to winter/spring emissions. Key uncertainties about the impact of long range transport of pollution to the Arctic remain including the certainty of the recent detected trends; sources, transport and trends of soot; and radiative effects due to complex interactions between aerosols, clouds and radiation in the Arctic.

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