The sources of atmospheric black carbon at a European gateway to the Arctic

TitleThe sources of atmospheric black carbon at a European gateway to the Arctic
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsWiniger, P, Andersson, A, Eckhardt, S, Stohl, A, Gustafsson, O
JournalNature Communications
Date PublishedMar-09-2017

Black carbon (BC) aerosols from incomplete combustion of biomass and fossil fuel contribute to Arctic climate warming. Models—seeking to advise mitigation policy—are challenged in reproducing observations of seasonally varying BC concentrations in the Arctic air. Here we compare year-round observations of BC and its δ13C/Δ14C-diagnosed sources in Arctic Scandinavia, with tailored simulations from an atmospheric transport model. The model predictions for this European gateway to the Arctic are greatly improved when the emission inventory of anthropogenic sources is amended by satellite-derived estimates of BC emissions from fires. Both BC concentrations (R2=0.89, P<0.05) and source contributions (R2=0.77, P<0.05) are accurately mimicked and linked to predominantly European emissions. This improved model skill allows for more accurate assessment of sources and effects of BC in the Arctic, and a more credible scientific underpinning of policy efforts aimed at efficiently reducing BC emissions reaching the European Arctic.