Black and White Episodes, Chemical Evolution of Eurasian Air Masses, and Long-Range Transport of Carbon to the Arctic

  • K. A. Rahn
  • C. Brosset
  • B. Ottar
  • E. M. Patterson


Long-range transport of pollution aerosol from central Europe to southern Scandinavia has been recognized for a decade. Depending on the trajectory, high concentrations of sulfate in southern Sweden are accompanied by greater or lesser carbon, and have become known as black or white episodes, respectively. It is now known that, when conditions are right, pollution aerosol (including elemental carbon) can be transported from Eurasia to the Arctic. A simple model of long-range transport of SO2, SO 4 = , and trace metals has been constructed to account for the large changes between Eurasia and the Arctic. This paper presents a broadened interpretation of black and white episodes which, in combination with atmospheric measurements at other locations in Eurasia and environs, allows this transport model to be checked empirically. It also allows the atmospheric lifetime of carbon to be compared with lifetimes of other primary aerosol pollutants. The results confirm most features of the model, and suggest that the European black and white episodes are highly related, early stages of systematic atmospheric aging, later stages of which can be observed as far away as the Arctic. The lifetime of elemental carbon appears to be similar to that of other primary, submicron elements, but this is still very uncertain.


Elemental Carbon Norwegian Institute Atmospheric Lifetime Pollution Aerosol Atmospheric Aging 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. A. Rahn
    • 1
  • C. Brosset
    • 2
  • B. Ottar
    • 3
  • E. M. Patterson
    • 4
  1. 1.University of Rhode IslandKingstonUSA
  2. 2.Swedish Water and Air Pollution Research LaboratoryGothenburgSweden
  3. 3.Norwegian Institute for Air ResearchLillestromNorway
  4. 4.Georgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaGeorgia

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