QUANTIFYING VARIABILITY OF BLACK CARBON TRANSPORT FROM CROPLAND BURNING IN RUSSIA TO THE ARCTIC DRIVEN BY ATMOSPHERIC BLOCKING EVENTS
Hall, Joanne Vanessa
Loboda, Tatiana V
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Short lived aerosols and pollutants transported from northern mid-latitudes have amplified the short term warming in the Arctic region. Specifically, black carbon is recognized as the second most important human emission in regards to climate forcing, behind carbon dioxide with a total climate forcing of +1.1Wm-2. Studies have suggested that cropland burning may be a large contributor to the black carbon emissions which are directly deposited on the snow in the Arctic region. However, accurate monitoring of cropland burning from existing active fire and burned area products is limited, thereby leading to an underestimation in black carbon emissions from cropland burning. This dissertation focuses on 1) assessing the potential for the deposition of hypothetical black carbon emissions from known cropland burning in Russia through low-level transport, and 2) identifying a possible atmospheric pattern that may enhance the transport of black carbon emissions to the Arctic. Specifically, atmospheric blocking events present a potential mechanism that could act to enhance the likelihood of transport or accelerate the transport of pollutants to the snow-covered Arctic from Russian cropland burning based on their persistent wind patterns. This research study confirmed the importance of Russian cropland burning as a potential source of black carbon deposition on the Arctic snow in the spring despite the low injection heights associated with cropland burning. Based on the successful transport pathways, this study identified the potential transport of black carbon from Russian cropland burning beyond 80°N which has important implications for permanent sea ice cover. Further, based on the persistent wind patterns of blocking events, this study identified that blocking events are able to accelerate potential transport and increase the success of transport of black carbon emissions to the snow-covered Arctic during spring when the impact on the snow/ice albedo is at its highest. The enhanced transport of black carbon has important implications for the efficacy of deposited black carbon. Therefore, understanding these relationships could lead to possible mitigation strategies for reducing the impact of deposition of black carbon from crop residue burning in the Arctic.