Researchers investigate black carbon climate effects in the Arctic in winter and spring

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  • Published: 2020-09-23
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Black carbon (BC) exerts a potential influence on climate, especially in the Arctic, where the environment is very sensitive to climate change. Therefore, the study of climate effects of BC in this region is particularly important.

In a study conducted by researchers at Chinese Academy of Sciences and Sun Yat-sen University, numerical simulations were performed using the Weather Research and Forecasting model coupled with Chemistry (WRF-Chem) in the Arctic in winter and spring for two years to investigate the atmospheric BC causing changes in surface radiation, meteorology, and atmospheric stability. Generally, WRF-Chem well reproduced the temporal variations of meteorological variables and BC concentration. Numerical simulations showed that BC concentrations in the Arctic in winter were mostly higher than those in spring, and the BC-induced near-surface temperature changes were also stronger. The effects of BC on near-surface water vapor mixing ratio were consistent with the spatial pattern of near-surface temperature changes. That was probably the result of the regional circulation anomaly due to the temperature changes. Additionally, the distributions of near-surface temperature changes and horizontal wind changes also reflected in the distribution of planetary boundary layer height. Ultimately, this study revealed that the downward longwave radiation related to cloudiness changes played an important role for driving near-surface temperature in the Arctic in winter. While in spring, the relatively less changes in near-surface temperature may be the result of the mutual compensation between the surface longwave and shortwave radiation effects.

This work was published in Science of the Total Environment. PhD student CHEN Xintong at University of Chinese Academy of Sciences (institute: Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences) is the first author; Prof. KANG Shichang at Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources of Chinese Academy of Sciences is the corresponding author, who is also a doctoral supervisor at University of Chinese Academy of Sciences.