Trends in aerosol optical depth in the Russian Arctic and their links with synoptic climatology
Shahgedanova, M. and Lamakin, M. (2005) Trends in aerosol optical depth in the Russian Arctic and their links with synoptic climatology. Science of the Total Environment, 341 (1-3). pp. 133-148. ISSN 0048-9697
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2004.09.018
Temporal and spatial variability of aerosol optical depth (AOD) are examined using observations of direct solar radiation in the Eurasian Arctic for 1940-1990. AOD is estimated using empirical methods for 14 stations located between 66.2 degrees N and 80.6 degrees N, from the Kara Sea to the Chukchi Sea. While AOD exhibits a well-known springtime maximum and summertime minimum at all stations, atmospheric turbidity is higher in spring in the western (Kara-Laptev) part of the Eurasian Arctic. Between June and August, the eastern (East Siberian-Chukchi) sector experiences higher transparency than the western part. A statistically significant positive trend in AOD was observed in the Kara-Laptev sector between the late 1950s and the early 1930s predominantly in spring when pollution-derived aerosol dominates the Arctic atmosphere but not in the eastern sector. Although all stations are remote, those with positive trends are located closer to the anthropogenic sources of air pollution. By contrast, a widespread decline in AOD was observed between 1982 and 1990 in the eastern Arctic in spring but was limited to two sites in the western Arctic. These results suggest that the post-1982 decline in anthropogenic emissions in Europe and the former Soviet Union has had a limited effect on aerosol load in the Arctic. The post-1982 negative trends in AOD in summer, when marine aerosol is present in the atmosphere, were more common in the west. The relationships between AOD and atmospheric circulation are examined using a synoptic climatology approach. In spring, AOD depends primarily on the strength and direction of air flow. Thus strong westerly and northerly flows result in low AOD values in the East Siberian-Chukchi sector. By contrast, strong southerly flow associated with the passage of depressions results in high A OD in the Kara-Laptev sector and trajectory analysis points to the contribution of industrial regions of the sub-Arctic. In summer, low pressure gradient or anticyclonic conditions result in high atmospheric turbidity. The frequency of this weather type has declined significantly since the early 1980s in the Kara-Laptev sector, which partly explains the decline in summer AOD values. (c) 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.