Regions of open water and melting sea ice drive new particle formation in North East Greenland

New publication by M. Dall´Osto, C. Geels, D. C. S. Beddows, D. Boertmann, R. Lange, J. K. Nøjgaard, Roy. M. Harrison, R. Simo, H. Skov & A. Massling

2018.05.08 | Peter Schmidt Mikkelsen


Atmospheric new particle formation (NPF) and growth significantly influences the indirect aerosol-cloud effect within the polar climate system. In this work, the aerosol population is categorised via cluster analysis of aerosol number size distributions (9–915 nm, 65 bins) taken at Villum Research Station, Station Nord (VRS) in North Greenland during a 7 year record (2010–2016). Data are clustered at daily averaged resolution; in total, we classified six categories, five of which clearly describe the ultrafine aerosol population, one of which is linked to nucleation events (up to 39% during summer). Air mass trajectory analyses tie these frequent nucleation events to biogenic precursors released by open water and melting sea ice regions. NPF events in the studied regions seem not to be related to bird colonies from coastal zones. Our results show a negative correlation (r = −0.89) between NPF events and sea ice extent, suggesting the impact of ultrafine Arctic aerosols is likely to increase in the future, given the likely increased sea ice melting. Understanding the composition and the sources of Arctic aerosols requires further integrated studies with joint multi-component ocean-atmosphere observation and modelling.

Scientific Reports vol 8. Article number: 6109 (2018. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-24426-8

Arctic Research Centre