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Accumulation‐mode aerosol number concentrations in the Arctic during the ARCTAS aircraft campaign: Long‐range transport of polluted and clean air from the Asian continent


We evaluate the impact of transport from midlatitudes on aerosol number concentrations in the accumulation mode (light-scattering particles (LSP) with diameters >180 nm) in the Arctic during the Arctic Research of the Composition of the Troposphere from Aircraft and Satellites (ARCTAS) campaign. We focus on transport from the Asian continent. We find marked contrasts in the number concentration (NLSP), transport efficiency (TE N-LSP, the fraction transported from sources to the Arctic), size distribution, and the chemical composition of aerosols between air parcels from anthropogenic sources in East Asia (Asian AN) and biomass burning sources in Russia and Kazakhstan (Russian BB). Asian AN air had lower NLSP and TEN-LSP (25 cm-3 and 18% in spring and 6.2 cm-3 and 3.0% in summer) than Russian BB air (280 cm-3 and 97% in spring and 36 cm-3 and 7.6% in summer) due to more efficient wet scavenging during transport from East Asia. Russian BB in this spring is the most important source of accumulation-mode aerosols over the Arctic, and BB emissions are found to be the primary source of aerosols within all the data in spring during ARCTAS. On the other hand, the contribution of Asian AN transport had a negligible effect on the accumulation-mode aerosol number concentration in the Arctic during ARCTAS. Compared with background air, NLSP was 2.3-4.7 times greater for Russian BB air but 2.4-2.6 times less for Asian AN air in both spring and summer. This result shows that the transport of Asian AN air decreases aerosol number concentrations in the Arctic, despite the large emissions of aerosols in East Asia. The very low aerosol number concentrations in Asian AN air were caused by wet removal during vertical transport in association with warm conveyor belts (WCBs). Therefore, this cleansing effect will be prominent for air transported via WCBs from other midlatitude regions and seasons. The inflow of clean midlatitude air can potentially have an important impact on accumulation-mode aerosol number concentrations in the Arctic. Copyright 2011 by the American Geophysical Union.

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