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Elemental carbon deposition to Svalbard snow from Norwegian settlements and long-range transport

Borgar Aamaas, Carl Egede Bøggild, Frode Stordal, Terje K. Berntsen, Kim Johan Holmén, Johan Ström

The impact on snow pack albedo from local elemental carbon (EC) sources in Svalbard has been investigated for the winter of 2008. Highly elevated EC concentrations in the snow are observed around the settlements of Longyearbyen and Svea (locally >1000 ng g−1, about 200 times over the background level), while EC concentrations similar to the background level are seen around Ny-Ålesund. Near Longyearbyen and Svea, darkened snow influenced by wind transported coal dust from open coal stockpiles is clearly visible from satellite images and by eye at the ground. As a first estimate, the reduction in snow albedo caused by local EC pollution from the Norwegian settlements has been compared to the estimated reduction caused by long-range transported EC for entire Svalbard. The effect of local EC from Longyearbyen, Svea and all Norwegian settlements are estimated to 2.1%, 7.9% and 10% of the total impact of EC, respectively. The EC particles tend to stay on the surface during melting, and elevated EC concentrations due to the spring melt was observed. This accumulation of EC enhances the positive albedo feedbacks. The EC concentrations were observed to be larger in metamorphosed snow than in fresh snow, and especially around ice lenses.

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