Collective geographical ecoregions and precursor sources driving Arctic new particle formation

James Brean, David C.S. Beddows, Roy M. Harrison, Congbo Song, Peter Tunved, Johan Ström, Radovan Krejci, Eyal Freud, Andreas Massling, Henrik Skov, Eija Asmi, Angelo Lupi, Manuel Dall'osto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Arctic is a rapidly changing ecosystem, with complex ice-ocean-atmosphere feedbacks. An important process is new particle formation (NPF), from gas-phase precursors, which provides a climate forcing effect. NPF has been studied comprehensively at different sites in the Arctic, ranging from those in the High Arctic and those at Svalbard to those in the continental Arctic, but no harmonised analysis has been performed on all sites simultaneously, with no calculations of key NPF parameters available for some sites. Here, we analyse the formation and growth of new particles from six long-term ground-based stations in the Arctic (Alert, Villum, Tiksi, Zeppelin Mountain, Gruvebadet, and Utqiaġvik). Our analysis of particle formation and growth rates in addition to back-trajectory analysis shows a summertime maxima in the frequency of NPF and particle formation rate at all sites, although the mean frequency and particle formation rates themselves vary greatly between sites, with the highest at Svalbard and lowest in the High Arctic. The summertime growth rate, condensational sinks, and vapour source rates show a slight bias towards the southernmost sites, with vapour source rates varying by around an order of magnitude between the northernmost and southernmost sites. Air masses back-trajectories during NPF at these northernmost sites are associated with large areas of sea ice and snow, whereas events at Svalbard are associated with more sea ice and ocean regions. Events at the southernmost sites are associated with large areas of land and sea ice. These results emphasise how understanding the geographical variation in surface type across the Arctic is key to understanding secondary aerosol sources and providing a harmonised analysis of NPF across the Arctic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2183-2198
Number of pages16
JournalAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 14 Feb 2023


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