Seasonal Variation of Wet Deposition of Black Carbon in Arctic Alaska

T. Mori, Y. Kondo, S. Ohata, Y. Zhao, P. R. Sinha, N. Oshima, H. Matsui, N. Moteki, M. Koike

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Black carbon (BC) aerosol deposited in and onto Arctic snow increases the snow's absorption of sunlight and accelerates snowmelt. Wet removal of BC from the atmosphere plays a key role in determining its abundance in the Arctic atmosphere and in Arctic snow. However, this process is poorly understood, mainly due to the scarcity of relevant measurements. To study wet deposition of BC, we made measurements of mass concentration of BC in snow and rain (CMBC) and of BC in air (MBC) with high accuracy (16% and 10%, respectively) at the Barrow Atmospheric Baseline Observatory, Alaska, from July 2013 to August 2017 and analyzed them along with routinely measured meteorological parameters from Barrow. Monthly mean MBC near the surface and CMBC were poorly correlated from midwinter to early spring, when CMBC was close to the annual median while MBC was at its annual peak. Seasonal variations in the altitude distribution of MBC may lead to these differences in seasonal variation of MBC near the surface and CMBC. About 50% of the annual wet deposition of BC occurred in the 3 months of summer, associated with high values of total precipitation and BC originating from biomass burning. Size distributions of BC in snow and rain were stable throughout the year, suggesting that the size distribution of BC in the lower troposphere was similarly stable. Calculations by two global models reproduced the observed seasonal variations of CMBC and showed that BC from biomass burning dominated CMBC in summer.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2019JD032240
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Aug 27
Externally publishedYes


  • Arctic
  • a single-particle soot photometer
  • biomass burning
  • black carbon
  • seasonal variations
  • wet deposition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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