Title Expeditions to the Russian Arctic to survey black carbon in snow
Author Grenfell, T.C.; Warren, S.G.; Radionov, V.F.; Makarov, V.N.; Zimov, S.A.
Author Affil Grenfell, T.C., University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Other: Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute, Russian Federation; Russian Academy of Sciences, Russian Federation
Source Eos, Transactions, American Geophysical Union, 90(43), p.386-387, . Publisher: American Geophysical Union, Washington, DC, United States. ISSN: 0096- 3941
Publication Date Oct. 27, 2009
Notes In English. 7 refs. CRREL Acc. No: 64002408
Index Terms albedo; climate; fires; grain size; ice; polynyas; reflectivity; snow; surveys; Arctic Ocean--Kara Sea; Russia--Russian Arctic; Arctic Ocean; Arctic region; atmospheric transport; black carbon; carbon; coastal environment; Commonwealth of Independent States; field studies; forests; ice cores; International Polar Year 2007-08; IPY 2007-08 Education, Outreach and Communication Publications; Kara Sea; reflectance; Russian Arctic; Russian Federation; sampling; sea ice; wind transport
Abstract Snow is the most reflective natural surface on Earth, with an albedo (the ratio of reflected to incident light) typically between 70% and 85%. Because the albedo of snow is so high, it can be reduced by small amounts of dark impurities. Black carbon (BC) in amounts of a few tens of parts per billion (ppb) can reduce the albedo by a few percent depending on the snow grain size [Warren and Wiscombe, 1985; Clarke and Noone, 1985]. An albedo reduction of a few percent is not detectable by eye and is below the accuracy of satellite observations. Nonetheless, such a reduction is significant for climate. For a typical incident solar flux of 240 watts per square meter at the snow surface in the Arctic during spring and summer, an albedo change of 1% modifies the absorbed energy flux by an amount comparable to current anthropogenic greenhouse gas forcing. As a result, higher levels of BC could cause the snow to melt sooner in the spring, uncovering darker underlying surfaces (tundra and sea ice) and resulting in a positive feedback on climate [Hansen and Nazarenko, 2004].
URL http://hdl.handle.net/10.1029/2009EO430002
Publication Type journal article
Record ID 297320