Impacts of large-scale atmospheric circulation changes due to winter sea-ice retreat on Black Carbon transport and deposition to the Arctic

Other literature type English OPEN
Pozzoli, Luca ; Dobricic, Srdan ; Russo, Simone ; Vignati, Elisabetta (2016)

Winter warming and sea ice retreat observed in the Arctic in the last decades determine changes of large scale atmospheric circulation pattern that may impact as well the transport of black carbon (BC) to the Arctic and its deposition on the sea ice, with possible feedbacks on the regional and global climate forcing. In this study we developed and applied a new statistical algorithm, based on the Maximum Likelihood Estimate approach, to determine how the changes of three large scale weather patterns (the North Atlantic Oscillation, the Scandinavian Blocking, and the El Nino-Southern Oscillation), associated with winter increasing temperatures and sea ice retreat in the Arctic, impact the transport of BC to the Arctic and its deposition. We found that the three atmospheric patterns together determine a decreasing winter deposition trend of BC between 1980 and 2015 in the Eastern Arctic while they increase BC deposition in the Western Arctic. The increasing trend is mainly due to the more frequent occurrences of stable high pressure systems (atmospheric blocking) near Scandinavia favouring the transport in the lower troposphere of BC from Europe and North Atlantic directly into to the Arctic. The North Atlantic Oscillation has a smaller impact on BC deposition in the Arctic, but determines an increasing BC atmospheric load over the entire Arctic Ocean with increasing BC concentrations in the upper troposphere. The El Nino-Southern Oscillation does not influence significantly the transport and deposition of BC to the Arctic. The results show that changes in atmospheric circulation due to polar atmospheric warming and reduced winter sea ice significantly impacted BC transport and deposition. The anthropogenic emission reductions applied in the last decades were, therefore, crucial to counterbalance the most likely trend of increasing BC pollution in the Arctic.
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