20th-Century Industrial Black Carbon Emissions Altered Arctic Climate Forcing

2007

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Black carbon (BC) from biomass and fossil fuel combustion alters chemical and physical properties of the atmosphere and snow albedo, yet little is known about its emission or deposition histories. Measurements of BC, vanillic acid, and non–sea-salt sulfur in ice cores indicate that sources and concentrations of BC in Greenland precipitation varied greatly since 1788 as a result of boreal forest fires and industrial activities. Beginning about 1850, industrial emissions resulted in a seven-fold increase in ice core BC concentrations with most change occurring in winter. BC concentrations after about 1951 were lower but increasing. At its maximum from 1906 to 1910, estimated surface climate forcing in early summer from BC in Arctic snow was about 3 W m–2, eight times typical pre-industrial forcing.

- "Joseph R. McConnell,1* Ross Edwards,1 Gregory L. Kok,2 Mark G. Flanner,3 Charles S. Zender,3 Eric S. Saltzman,3 J. Ryan Banta,1 Daniel R. Pasteris,1 Megan M. Carter,4 Jonathan D. W. Kahl4"

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