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Arctic and Antarctic aerosol size distributions

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr Gillian Young.

If external to BAS, please email the organiser in advance to gain access to the building.

Climate warming affects the development and distribution of sea ice, but at present the evidence of polar ecosystem feedbacks on climate through changes in the atmosphere is sparse. In this presentation, I will show main results carried out at the ICM -CSIC Barcelona (Spain) with interdisciplinary collaborations from UK, USA , Ireland, Spain, Sweden and Korea. Both polar regions are considered.

(1) Atmospheric new particle formation and growth significantly influences climate by supplying new seeds for cloud condensation and brightness. Currently, there is a lack of understanding of whether and how marine biota emissions affect aerosol-cloud-climate interactions in the Arctic. Here, the aerosol population was categorised via cluster analysis of aerosol size distributions taken at Mt Zeppelin (Svalbard) during a 11 year record (2000-2010) and at Station Nord (Greenland) during a 7 year period (2010-2016). The occurrence of such events across a full decade was anti-correlated with sea ice extent.

(2) By means of synergistic atmospheric and oceanic measurements in the Southern Ocean near Antarctica, we present evidence that the microbiota of sea ice and sea ice-influenced ocean are a previously unknown significant source of atmospheric organic nitrogen, including low molecular weight alkyl-amines. Given the keystone role of nitrogen compounds in aerosol formation, growth and neutralization, our findings call for greater diversity in modelling efforts linking the marine ecosystem to aerosol-mediated climate effects in the Southern Ocean.

(3) The analysis of one year (2015) of continuous aerosol size distributions collected at the Halley Station (BAS) is presented. Briefly, eight aerosol categories were found. Two categories were associated to nucleation modes, four to Aitken modes, and the remaining two to accumulation ones. A number of novel aspect will be presented, including new particle formation associated to open pack sea ice surfaces, and possibly to frost flowers.

This talk is part of the British Antarctic Survey series.

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