Aerosol Chemical Composition in the Arctic (ACCA), a subproject to RACEPAC

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region, Gwich'in Settlement Area

Tags: physical sciences, contaminants, atmospheric sciences, chemistry, pollution, aerosols

Principal Investigator: Borrmann, Stephan P (1)
Licence Number: 15407
Organization: MPI for Chemistry
Licensed Year(s): 2014
Issued: Jan 31, 2014
Project Team: Dr. Oliver APPEL (Senior scientist, MPI for Chemistry), Dr. Florian RUBACH (Senior scientist, MPI for Chemistry), Dr. Antonis DRAGONEAS (Senior scientist, MPI for Chemistry)

Objective(s): To perform in-situ measurements of number, concentrations, optical properties, and chemical composition of atmospheric aerosol particles with sizes between 3 nanometers and 10 micrometers, to identify aerosols of natural and anthropogenic origin, quantify their relative contributions in dependency of particle size, evaluate the potential of the respective particle populations for cloud formation, and try to find periods of "cleanest possible conditions" to document their particle properties for future reference.

Project Description: The objectives of this research project are:
(1.) To perform in-situ measurements of number concentrations, optical properties, and chemical composition of atmospheric aerosol particles with sizes between 3 nanometers and 10 micrometers.
(2.) Identify aerosols of natural and anthropogenic origin.
(3.) Quantify their relative contributions in dependency of particle size.
(4.) Evaluate the potential of the respective particle populations for cloud formation.
(5.) Try to find periods of "cleanest possible conditions" to document their particle properties for future reference.

The research team would like to deploy an insulated standard 20 foot ITC container in Tuktoyaktuk as a ground-measurement-station. This container is equipped with electronic scientific instrumentation as follows:

(1.) An Aerosol mass spectrometer to measure particle chemical composition.
(2.) Optical Particle Counters to measure sizes and number concentrations of aerosol particles.
(3.) A MAAP soot detection instrument.
(4.) A UV Aerosol Particle Sizer to detect particles of biological origin.
(5.) Three instruments for ultrafine, nanometer sized particles.
(6.) A CCNC instrument for measuring the capabilities of particles for cloud formation.
(7.) An autonomous meteorological weather station for the needed background-met data.

All instruments are "fully electronic" in the sense that they need nothing but A/C power of about 7 kilowatts. No harmful materials, dangerous gases, etc. are involved.

As the Beaufort Sea area of the Arctic currently is undergoing rapid economy-driven changes it is important to document (i.e. measure in-situ) properties of environmental variables (as aerosol physical and chemical properties) in its current state, i.e. before the most significant anthropogenic changes occur. This particularly pertains to atmospheric aerosol because with the anticipated increase of commercial ship traffic in the Canadian Northern seas a possibly detrimental increase of emissions of particulate matter (from ships and other sources) is of urgent concern. The measurements are designed to identify and quantify physical and chemical properties of natural and anthropogenic aerosols BEFORE the major growth of commercial ship traffic and related economic activities in the Canadian Northwest Territories sets in.

A summary report will be provided to the Aurora Research Institute after project completion. Several "outreach activities" can be organized during operation of the ACCA experiment: a.) The Principal Investigator would be glad to present rationale and scientific backgrounds to the local people of Tuktoyaktuk in a townhall-seminar during operation of the measurement container; b.) A similar special event can be set up particularly addressing the school children in Tuktoyaktuk in order to emphasize the value of education in science; and c.) During an "open day event" the local people of Tuktoyaktuk would be welcomed to visit the laboratory container in order to see and discuss methods, techniques, scientific backgrounds and related issues.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from April 1, 2014 to May 31, 2014.