Journal of Atmospheric Chemistry

, Volume 9, Issue 1–3, pp 129–148 | Cite as

Arctic hazes in summer over Greenland and the North American Arctic. I: Incidence and origins

  • Charles A. Brock
  • Lawrence F. Radke
  • Jamie H. Lyons
  • Peter V. Hobbs


Airborne observations during August 1985 over Greenland and the North American Arctic revealed that dense, discrete haze layers were common above 850 mb. No such hazes were found near the surface in areas remote from local sources of particles. The haze layers aloft were characterized by large light-scattering coefficients due to dry particles (maximum value 1.24 × 10−4m−1) and relatively high total particle concentrations (maximum value 3100 cm−3). Sulfate was the dominant ionic component of the aerosol (0.06 – 1.9 μg m−3); carbon soot was also present. Evidence for relatively fresh aerosols, accompanied by NO2 and O3 depletion, was found near, but not within, the haze layers. The hazes probably derived from anthropogenic sources and/or biomass burning at midlatitudes.

It is hypothesized that the scavenging of particles by stratus clouds plays an important role in reducing the frequency and intensity of hazes at the surface in the Arctic in summer. Since the detection of haze layers aloft through measurements of column-integrated parameters from the surface (e.g., by lidar) cannot be carried out reliably when clouds are present, such measurements have likely underestimated the occurrence of haze layers in the Arctic, particularly in summer.

Key words

Arctic haze pollution in the Arctic long-range transport of pollutants cloud scavenging 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bailey, I. H., L. F., Radke, J. H., Lyons and P. V., Hobbs, 1984, ‘Airborne observations of actic aerosols. II: Giant particles’. Geophys. Res. Lett. 11, 397–400.Google Scholar
  2. Barrie, L. A., 1985, ‘Features of the atmospheric cycle of aerosol trace elements and sulphur dioxide revealed by baseline observations in Canada’. J. Atmos. Chem. 3, 139–152.Google Scholar
  3. Barrie, L. A., 1986, ‘Arctic air pollution: an overview of current knowledge’. Atmos. Environ. 20, 643–663.Google Scholar
  4. Barrie, L. A. and R. M., Hoff, 1985, ‘Five years of air chemistry observations in the Canadian Arctic’. Atmos. Environ. 19, 1995–2010.Google Scholar
  5. Britton, L. G. and A. G., Clarke, 1980, ‘Heterogeneous reactions of sulphur dioxide and SO2/NO2 mixtures with a carbon soot aerosol’. Atmos. Environ. 14, 829–839.Google Scholar
  6. Carlson, T. N., 1981, ‘Speculations on the movement of polluted air to the Arctic’. Atmos. Environ. 15, 1473–14771.Google Scholar
  7. Cox, R. A., 1974, ‘Particle formation from homogeneous reactions of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide’. Tellus 16, 236–240.Google Scholar
  8. Crutzen, P. J., 1974, ‘Photochemical reactions initiated by and influencing ozone in unpolluted tropospheric air’. Tellus 16, 47–56.Google Scholar
  9. Flyger, H., K, Hansen, W. J., Megaw and L. C., Cox, 1973, ‘The background level of the summer tropospheric aerosol over Greenland and the North Atlantic Ocean’. J. Appl. Meteor. 12, 161–174.Google Scholar
  10. Flyger, H. and N. Z., Heidam, 1978, ‘Ground level measurements of the summer tropospheric aerosol in northern Greenland’. J. Aerosol Sci. 9, 157–168.Google Scholar
  11. Flyger, H., N. Z., Heidam, K., Hansen, W. J., Megaw, E. G., Walther, and A. W., Hogan, 1976, ‘The background level of the summer tropospheric aerosol, sulphur dioxide and ozone over Greenland and the North Atlantic Ocean’. J. Aerosol Sci. 7, 103–140.Google Scholar
  12. Hegg, D. A., L. F., Radke, P. V., Hobbs, C. A., Brock and P. J., Riggan, 1987, ‘Nitrogen and sulfur emissions from the burning of forest products near large urban areas’. J. Geophys. Res. 92, 14701–14709.Google Scholar
  13. Hobbs, P. V., L. F., Radke and E. E., Hindman III, 1976, ‘An integrated airborne particle-measuring facility and its preliminary use in atmospheric aerosol studies’. J. Aerosol Sci., 7, 195–211.Google Scholar
  14. Huschke, R. E., 1969, ‘Arctic cloud statisties from “air ealibrated” surface weather observations’. U.S. Air Force Project Rand. No. F44620-67-0015, AD 698 740.Google Scholar
  15. Ishizaka, Y. A., P. V. Hobbs and L. F. Radke, 1989, ‘Arctic hazes in summer over Greenland and the North American Arctic: II. Concentrations and nature of large and giant particles’. J. Atmos. Chem. (this issue).Google Scholar
  16. Iversen, T., 1984, ‘On the atmospheric transport of pollution to the Arctic’ Geophys. Res. Letts. 11, 457–460.Google Scholar
  17. Iversen, T. and E., Joranger, 1985, ‘Arctic air pollution and large scale atmospheric flows’. Atmos. Environ. 19, 2099–2108.Google Scholar
  18. Joranger, E. and B., Ottar, 1984, ‘Air pollution studies in the Norwegian Arctic’. Geophys. Res. Letts. 11, 365–368.Google Scholar
  19. Lannefors, H., J., Heintzenberg and H.-C., Hansson, 1983, ‘A comprehensive study of physical and chemical parameters of the arctic summer aerosol; results from the Swedish expedition Ymer-80‘. Tellus 35B, 40–54.Google Scholar
  20. Lazrus, A. L. and R. J., Ferek, 1984, ‘Acidic sulfate particles in the winter arctic atmosphere’. Geophys. Res. Letts., 11, 417–419.Google Scholar
  21. Leaitch, W. R., R. M., Hoff, S., Melnichuk and A. W., Hogan, 1984, ‘Some physical and chemical properties of the arctic winter aerosol in northeastern Canada’. J. Clim. Appl. Meteor. 23, 916–928.Google Scholar
  22. McCracken, M. C., R. D., Cess and G. R., Potter, 1986, ‘Climatic effects of anthropogenic arctic aerosols: An illustration of climate feedback mechanisms with one- and two-dimensional climate models’. J. Geophys. Res. 91, 14,445–14,450.Google Scholar
  23. McGuffie, K., J. G., Cogley and A., Henderson-Sellers, 1985, ‘Climatological analysis of arctic aerosol quantity and optical properties at Resolute, N.W.T.’ Atmos. Environ. 19, 707–714.Google Scholar
  24. Mitchell, J. M., 1957, ‘Visual range in the polar regions with particular reference to the Alaskan Arctic’. J. Atmos. Terr. Phys., Special Supplement, 195–211.Google Scholar
  25. Ottar, B., J. M., Pacyna and T. C., Berg, 1986, ‘Aircraft measurements of air pollution in the Norwegian Arctic’. Atmos. Environ. 20, 87–100.Google Scholar
  26. Pacyna, J. M. and B., Ottar, 1985, ‘Transport and chemical composition of the summer aerosol in the Norwegian Arctic’. Atmos. Environ., 19, 2109–2120.Google Scholar
  27. Raatz, W. E., 1984, ‘Observations of “arctic haze” during the “ptarmigan” weather reconnaissance flights, 1948–1961’. Tellus 36B, 126–136.Google Scholar
  28. Raatz, W. E. and R. C., Schnell, 1984, ‘Aerosol distributions and an arctic aerosol front during AGASP: Norwegian Arctic’. Geophys. Res. Letts. 11, 373–376.Google Scholar
  29. Raatz, W. E., R. C., Schnell, B. A., Bodhaine and S. J., Oltmans, 1985, ‘Observations of arctic haze during polar flights from Alaska to Norway’. Atmos. Environ, 19 2143–2151.Google Scholar
  30. Radke, L. F. and P. V. Hobbs, 1989, ‘Aretic hazes in summer over Greenland and the North American Arctic: III. Contributions from natural burning of carbonaceous materials and pyrites’. J. Atmos. Chem. (this issue).Google Scholar
  31. Radke, L. F., J. H., Lyons, D. A., Hegg and P. V., Hobbs, 1984, ‘Airborne observations of arctic aerosols. I: Characteristics of arctic haze’. Geophys. Res. Letts. 11, 393–396.Google Scholar
  32. Rahn, K. A., 1981, ‘Relative importances of North America and Eurasia as sources of arctic aerosol’. Atmos. Environ. 15, 1447–1455.Google Scholar
  33. Reiter, E. R., 1981, ‘Planetary-wave behavior and arctic air pollution’. Atmos. Environ. 15, 1465–1471.Google Scholar
  34. Schnell, R. C. and W. E., Raatz, 1984, ‘Vertical and horizontal characteristics of aretic haze during AGASP: Alaskan Arctic’. Geophys. Res. Letts., 11, 369–372.Google Scholar
  35. Shaw, G. E., 1981, ‘Eddy diffusion transport of arctic pollution from the mid-latitudes; a preliminary model’. Atmos. Environ. 15, 1483–1490.Google Scholar
  36. Shaw, G. E., 1985, ‘Aerosol measurements in central Alaska’. Atmos. Environ. 19, 2025–2031.Google Scholar
  37. Turner, F. M. and L. F., Radke, 1973, ‘The design and evaluation of an airborne optical ice particle counter’. J. Appl. Meteor. 12, 1309–1318.Google Scholar
  38. U. S. Navy Weather Research Facility, 1962, Arctic Forecast Guide, Publication NWRF 16-0462-058, p. 57–59.Google Scholar
  39. Waggoner, A. P., R. E., Weiss, N. C., Ahlquist, D. S., Covert S., Will and R. J., Charlson 1981, ‘Optical characteristics of atmospheric aerosols’. Atmos. Environ, 15, 1891–1909.Google Scholar
  40. Wendel, G. J., D. H., Stedman, C. A., Cantrell and L., Damrauer, 1983, ‘Luminol-based nitrogen dioxide detector’. Anal. Chem. 55, 937–940.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles A. Brock
    • 1
  • Lawrence F. Radke
    • 1
  • Jamie H. Lyons
    • 1
  • Peter V. Hobbs
    • 1
  1. 1.Cloud and Aerosol Research Group Atmospheric Sciences Department AK-40University of WashingtonSeattle

Personalised recommendations