Special Issue "Chemical-Physical and Optical Properties of the Aerosol in Europe and the Arctic"

A special issue of Atmosphere (ISSN 2073-4433). This special issue belongs to the section "Aerosols".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (9 October 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Luca Ferrero
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Environmental Chemistry, Particulate Matter Research Group, POLARIS research centre, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Milano-Bicocca, Piazza della Scienza 1, 20126 Milano, Italy
Interests: atmospheric chemistry, air sampling; aerosol studies; radiative forcing; atmospheric radiation; atmospheric pollution; arctic environment
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Mirko Severi
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Chemistry Department, University of Florence, Florence, Italy
Interests: climate change; environment; chromatography environmental analysis; geochemistry; ice cores
Dr. Rita Traversi
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Chemistry “Ugo Schiff”, University of Florence, via della Lastruccia, 3, 50019 Sesto Fiorentino (FI), Italy
Interests: development of analytical methods for analysis of inorganic components in environmental, biological, industrial and food matrices; ion chromatography; spectrophotometry and spectrofluorimetry; flow injection and continuous flow analysis; atmospheric aerosol; snow and ice; surface waters; air quality; pollution sources; climate change; paleoclimate
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The chemical–physical and optical properties of the aerosol drive its direct and indirect climatic effects. As the aerosol may be long-range transported and the aerosol properties at any latitude may influence the planetary energy budget, both local and regional studies are welcome. As a matter of fact, the final radiative impact on a warming Artic is an actual and important issue on a global scale.

Thus, the present issue is dedicated to any study, either from experimental or modeling activities, in which aerosol properties (even in function of different sources/origins) and their optical/climatic impact are investigated from Southern Europe to the northernmost Arctic.

As most of the aerosol properties are often reported at ground level, vertical profiles measurements/simulations and cruise-based data are welcome.

Finally, aerosol chemical–physical properties should be investigated both by bulk and single particle approaches. Multidisciplinary studies which link size segregated aerosol properties (chemical–physical), fluxes, and hygroscopicity with their optical–climatic properties are encouraged.

Dr. Luca Ferrero
Dr. Mirko Severi
Dr. Rita Traversi
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Aerosol
  • Chemical composition
  • Size distribution
  • Optical properties
  • Radiative forcing
  • Measurements
  • Modeling
  • Europe
  • Arctic
  • Transport

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Article
Carbonaceous Aerosol in Polar Areas: First Results and Improvements of the Sampling Strategies
Atmosphere 2021, 12(3), 320; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12030320 - 28 Feb 2021
Viewed by 919
Abstract
While more and more studies are being conducted on carbonaceous fractions—organic carbon (OC) and elemental carbon (EC)—in urban areas, there are still too few studies about these species and their effects in polar areas due to their very low concentrations; further, studies in [...] Read more.
While more and more studies are being conducted on carbonaceous fractions—organic carbon (OC) and elemental carbon (EC)—in urban areas, there are still too few studies about these species and their effects in polar areas due to their very low concentrations; further, studies in the literature report only data from intensive campaigns, limited in time. We present here for the first time EC–OC concentration long-time data records from the sea-level sampling site of Ny-Ålesund, in the High Arctic (5 years), and from Dome C, in the East Antarctic Plateau (1 year). Regarding the Arctic, the median (and the interquartile range (IQR)) mass concentrations for the years 2011–2015 are 352 (IQR: 283–475) ng/m3 for OC and 4.8 (IQR: 4.6–17.4) ng/m3 for EC, which is responsible for only 3% of total carbon (TC). From both the concentration data sets and the variation of the average monthly concentrations, the influence of the Arctic haze on EC and OC concentrations is evident. Summer may be interested by high concentration episodes mainly due to long-range transport (e.g., from wide wildfires in the Northern Hemisphere, as happened in 2015). The average ratio of EC/OC for the summer period is 0.05, ranging from 0.02 to 0.10, and indicates a clean environment with prevailing biogenic (or biomass burning) sources, as well as aged, highly oxidized aerosol from long-range transport. Contribution from ship emission is not evident, but this result may be due to the sampling time resolution. In Antarctica, a 1 year-around data set from December 2016 to February 2018 is shown, which does not present a clear seasonal trend. The OC median (and IQR) value is 78 (64–106) ng/m3; for EC, it is 0.9 (0.6–2.4) ng/m3, weighing for 3% on TC values. The EC/OC ratio mean value is 0.20, with a range of 0.06–0.35. Due to the low EC and OC concentrations in polar areas, correction for the blank is far more important than in campaigns carried out in other regions, largely affecting uncertainties in measured concentrations. Through the years, we have thus developed a new sampling strategy that is presented here for the first time: samplers were modified in order to collect a larger amount of particulates on a small surface, enhancing the capability of the analytical method since the thermo-optical analyzer is sensitive to carbonaceous aerosol areal density. Further, we have recently coupled such modified samplers with a sampling strategy that makes a more reliable blank correction of every single sample possible. Full article
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Article
Baltic Sea Spray Emissions: In Situ Eddy Covariance Fluxes vs. Simulated Tank Sea Spray
Atmosphere 2021, 12(2), 274; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12020274 - 18 Feb 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1137
Abstract
We present the first ever evaluation of sea spray aerosol eddy covariance (EC) fluxes at near coastal conditions and with limited fetch, and the first over water with brackish water (on average 7 ppt). The measurements were made on the island of Garpen [...] Read more.
We present the first ever evaluation of sea spray aerosol eddy covariance (EC) fluxes at near coastal conditions and with limited fetch, and the first over water with brackish water (on average 7 ppt). The measurements were made on the island of Garpen in the Baltic Sea (56°23′ N, 16°06′ E) in September 2005. We found that wind speed is a major factor that is driving an exponential increase in sea spray sea salt emissions, comparable to previous studies over waters with higher salinity. We were able to show that the inclusion of a thermodenuder in the EC system allowed for the parallel measurements of the dry unheated aerosol flux (representing both organic and sea salt sea spray emissions) and the heated (300 °C) non-volatile sea salt emissions. This study’s experimental approach also included measurements of the artificial sea spray formed in a tank in locally sampled water at the same location as the EC fluxes. We attempted to use the EC aerosol flux measurements to scale the tank measurements to aerosol emissions in order to derive a complete size distribution for the sea spray emission fluxes below the size range (0.3–2 µm dry diameter) of the optical particle counters (OPCs) in the EC system, covering in total 0.01 µm to 2 µm diameter. In the wind directions with long fetches (corresponding to conditions similar to open sea), we were able to distinguish between the aerosol emission fluxes of dry aerosol and heated non-volatile (sea salt only) in the smallest size bins of the OPC, and could therefore indirectly estimate the organic sea spray fraction. In agreement with several previous ambient and tank experiments deriving the size resolved chemical mass concentration of sea salt and water-insoluble organic sea spray, our EC fluxes showed that sea sprays were dominated by sea salt at sizes ≥1 µm diameter, and by organics at the smallest OPC sizes. Since we used direct measures of the sea spray emission fluxes, we confirmed previous suggestions that this size distribution of sea salt and organics is a signature of sea spray aerosols. We were able to show that two sea salt source parameterizations (Mårtensson et al. (2003) and Salter et al. (2015)) agreed fairly well with our observed heated EC aerosol emission fluxes, as long as their predicted emissions were modified for the actual salinity by shifting the particle diameters proportionally to the cubic rote of the salinity. If, in addition, we added organics to the parameterized sea spray following the mono-layer model by Ellison et al. (1999), the combined sea spray parameterizations for sea salt and organics fell reasonably close to the observed fluxes for diameters > 0.15 µm, while one of them overpredicted the sea spray emissions below this size. The organic mono-layer model by Ellison et al. appeared to be able to explain most of the differences we observed between the aerosol emission fluxes with and without the thermodenuder. Full article
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Article
Overview of Aerosol Properties in the European Arctic in Spring 2019 Based on In Situ Measurements and Lidar Data
Atmosphere 2021, 12(2), 271; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12020271 - 17 Feb 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1067
Abstract
In this work, we analysed aerosol measurements from lidar and PM10 samples around the European Arctic site of Ny-Ålesund during late winter–early spring 2019. Lidar observations above 700 m revealed time-independent values for the aerosol backscatter coefficient (ββ), colour [...] Read more.
In this work, we analysed aerosol measurements from lidar and PM10 samples around the European Arctic site of Ny-Ålesund during late winter–early spring 2019. Lidar observations above 700 m revealed time-independent values for the aerosol backscatter coefficient (ββ), colour ratio (CR), linear particle depolarisation ratio (δδ) and lidar ratio (LR) from January to April. In contrast to previous years, in 2019 the early springtime backscatter increase in the troposphere, linked to Arctic haze, was not observed. In situ nss-sulphate (nss-SO42) concentration was measured both at a coastal (Gruvebadet) and a mountain (Zeppelin) station, a few kilometres apart. As we employed different measurement techniques at sites embedded in complex orography, we investigated their agreement. From the lidar perspective, the aerosol load (indicated by ββ) above 700 m changed by less than a factor of 3.5. On the contrary, the daily nss-SO42 concentration erratically changed by a factor of 25 (from 0.1 to 2.5 ng m3) both at Gruvebadet and Zeppelin station, with the latter mostly lying above the boundary layer. Moreover, daily nss-SO42 concentration was remarkably variable (correlation about 0.7 between the sites), despite its long-range origin. However, on a seasonal average basis the in situ sites agreed very well. Therefore, it can be argued that nss-SO42 advection mainly takes place in the lowest free troposphere, while under complex orography it is mixed downwards by local boundary layer processes. Our study suggests that at Arctic sites with complex orography ground-based aerosol properties show higher temporal variability compared to the free troposphere. This implies that the comparison between remote sensing and in situ observations might be more reasonable on longer time scales, i.e., monthly and seasonal basis even for nearby sites. Full article
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Article
Molecular Distributions and Compound-Specific Stable Carbon Isotopic Compositions of Plant Wax n-Alkanes in Marine Aerosols along a North–South Transect in the Arctic–Northwest Pacific Region
Atmosphere 2020, 11(5), 499; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11050499 - 13 May 2020
Viewed by 934
Abstract
A geographical source of n-alkanes in marine aerosols was assessed along a North–South transect in the Arctic–Northwest Pacific region. Marine aerosol samples were collected during the ARA08 cruise with the R/V Araon between 28 August and 28 September 2017. We investigated molecular [...] Read more.
A geographical source of n-alkanes in marine aerosols was assessed along a North–South transect in the Arctic–Northwest Pacific region. Marine aerosol samples were collected during the ARA08 cruise with the R/V Araon between 28 August and 28 September 2017. We investigated molecular distributions of n-alkanes (homologous series of C16 to C34) and compound-specific stable carbon isotopes (δ13C) of n-C27, n-C29, and n-C31. Unresolved complex mixtures (UCM) showed a latitudinal trend from the Arctic Ocean to the northwest Pacific Ocean, highlighting an increasing influence of the plume of polluted air exported from East Asian countries. The anthropogenic input was further evidenced by high U/R ratios (>5) and low CPI17–23 (0.6–1.4). The occurrence of high molecular weight (HMW) n-alkanes with high CPI27–31 (>3) indicated the biogenic input of terrestrial higher plant leaf waxes in all studied samples. The δ13C of HMW n-alkanes was influenced by both the relative contributions from the C3/C4 plant sources and from fossil fuel combustions. The back-trajectory analyses provided evidence that changes in molecular distributions and δ13C of n-alkanes were due to the long-range atmospheric transport of anthropogenic and biogenic organic materials from North American and East Asian countries to the Arctic Ocean and the remote northwest Pacific Ocean, respectively. Full article
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Article
Study of Chemical and Optical Properties of Biomass Burning Aerosols during Long-Range Transport Events toward the Arctic in Summer 2017
Atmosphere 2020, 11(1), 84; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11010084 - 10 Jan 2020
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 1747
Abstract
Biomass burning related aerosol episodes are becoming a serious threat to the radiative balance of the Arctic region. Since early July 2017 intense wildfires were recorded between August and September in Canada and Greenland, covering an area up to 4674 km2 in [...] Read more.
Biomass burning related aerosol episodes are becoming a serious threat to the radiative balance of the Arctic region. Since early July 2017 intense wildfires were recorded between August and September in Canada and Greenland, covering an area up to 4674 km2 in size. This paper describes the impact of these biomass burning (BB) events measured over Svalbard, using an ensemble of ground-based, columnar, and vertically-resolved techniques. BB influenced the aerosol chemistry via nitrates and oxalates, which exhibited an increase in their concentrations in all of size fractions, indicating the BB origin of particles. The absorption coefficient data (530 nm) at ground reached values up to 0.6 Mm–1, highlighting the impact of these BB events when compared to average Arctic background values, which do not exceed 0.05 Mm–1. The absorption behavior is fundamental as implies a subsequent atmospheric heating. At the same time, the AERONET Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) data showed high values at stations located close to or in Canada (AOD over 2.0). Similarly, increased values of AODs were then observed in Svalbard, e.g., in Hornsund (daily average AODs exceeded 0.14 and reached hourly values up to 0.5). Elevated values of AODs were then registered in Sodankylä and Andenes (daily average AODs exceeding 0.150) a few days after the Svalbard observation of the event highlighting the BB columnar magnitude, which is crucial for the radiative impact. All the reported data suggest to rank the summer 2017 plume of aerosols as one of the biggest atmosphere related environmental problems over Svalbard region in last 10 years. Full article
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