New insights in sources of the sub-micrometre aerosol at Mt. Zeppelin observatory (Spitsbergen) in the year 2015


In order to evaluate the potential impact of the Arctic anthropogenic emission sources it is essential to understand better the natural aerosol sources of the inner Arctic and the atmospheric processing of the aerosols during their transport in the Arctic atmosphere. A 1-year time series of chemically specific measurements of the sub-micrometre aerosol during 2015 has been taken at the Mt. Zeppelin observatory in the European Arctic. A source apportionment study combined measured molecular tracers as source markers, positive matrix factorization, analysis of the potential source distribution and auxiliary information from satellite data and ground-based observations. The annual average sub-micrometre mass was apportioned to regional background secondary sulphate (56%), sea spray (17%), biomass burning (15%), secondary nitrate (5.8%), secondary marine biogenic (4.5%), mixed combustion (1.6%), and two types of marine gel sources (together 0.7%). Secondary nitrate aerosol mainly contributed towards the end of summer and during autumn. During spring and summer, the secondary marine biogenic factor reached a contribution of up to 50% in some samples. The most likely origin of the mixed combustion source is due to oil and gas extraction activities in Eastern Siberia. The two marine polymer gel sources predominantly occurred in autumn and winter. The small contribution of the marine gel sources at Mt. Zeppelin observatory in summer as opposed to regions closer to the North Pole is attributed to differences in ocean biology, vertical distribution of phytoplankton, and the earlier start of the summer season.
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