On the seasonality of arctic black carbon

Zhaoyi Shen, Yi Ming, Larry W. Horowitz, V. Ramaswamy, Meiyun Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Arctic haze has a distinct seasonal cycle with peak concentrations in winter but pristine conditions in summer. It is demonstrated that the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) atmospheric general circulation model (AM3) can reproduce the observed seasonality of Arctic black carbon (BC), an important component of Arctic haze. The model is used to study how large-scale circulation and removal drive the seasonal cycle of Arctic BC. It is found that despite large seasonal shifts in the general circulation pattern, the transport of BC into the Arctic varies little throughout the year. The seasonal cycle of Arctic BC is attributed mostly to variations in the controlling factors of wet removal, namely the hydrophilic fraction of BC and wet deposition efficiency of hydrophilic BC. Specifically, a confluence of low hydrophilic fraction and weak wet deposition, owing to slower aging process and less efficient mixed-phase cloud scavenging, respectively, is responsible for the wintertime peak of BC. The transition to low BC in summer is the consequence of a gradual increase in the wet deposition efficiency, whereas the increase of BC in late fall can be explained by a sharp decrease in the hydrophilic fraction. The results presented here suggest that future changes in the aging and wet deposition processes can potentially alter the concentrations of Arctic aerosols and their climate effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4429-4441
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Climate
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


  • Aerosols
  • Arctic
  • Transport


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