PSU McNair Scholars Online Journal


Soot -- Arctic regions -- Environmental aspects, Soot -- Greenland -- Environmental aspects, Albedo, Climatic changes -- Arctic regions, Global warming -- Effect of soot on


Black carbon (BC) is a troubling particulate. Commonly known as soot, BC forms through the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, biofuels, and biomass. It has a very low albedo compared to natural particulates making it a very efficient absorber of solar radiation. As BC is deposited on snow and ice, albedo is decreased - enhancing solar heating and increasing meltwater production. With rising air temperatures, melting rates of polar ice are increasing and are being enhanced by BC, leading to accelerated global sea level rise.

This study aimed to document sources and deposition areas of BC in the Arctic. Utilizing HySplit, an air trajectory model, patterns of BC trajectories are assessed. Spatial patterns of deposition are estimated from known sources and source regions predicted from known deposition locations through the use of backward trajectory. Atmospheric circulation transports BC from temperate regions into the Arctic. The strength and location of the polar front in relation to the North Atlantic Oscillation is a dominant controlling factor.

Preliminary results show reoccurring potential sources located in the Northeastern United States, Nova Scotia, Northern United Kingdom, and the Scandinavian Peninsula with large deposition events occurring within the first six months of the year.



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