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Radiative Forcing of the Lower Stratosphere over the Arctic by Light Absorbing ParticlesLight absorbing particles (LAP), such as soot and dust, change the thermodynamic structure of the atmosphere and contribute to regional and global climate change. The lower stratosphere (LS) is particularly sensitive to the presence of LAP since the lifetime of particles in the LS may extend from months to years, in contrast to tropospheric lifetimes of at most a few days. The source of particles in the LS may be aircraft, meteorites or emissions from tropospheric sources. There has been a lack, however, of accurate, quantitative measurements made with sufficiently sensitive instruments. This limits our understanding of the origin and lifetime of aerosols in this region of the atmosphere. Here we present recent measurements in the Arctic UT/LS with a new, highly sensitive instrument that has detected black carbon (BC) mass concentrations of 20-1000 ng m(exp -3) that are 10-1000 times larger than those reported in previous studies and are at least 30 times larger than predicted masses based on fuel consumption by commercial aircraft that fly in these regions. Scattering and absorption of solar and terrestrial radiation by the particles in a layer from 8- 12 Km leads to a negative net forcing of -0.5 W sq m at the top of the atmosphere and 9C of heating in this layer during the average aerosol lifetime at these altitudes. The new measurements suggest that the influence of aircraft emissions have been underestimated or that aircraft may not be the only significant source of light absorbing particles in the UT/LS. The presence of these aerosols can cause local changes in the thermal structure of the lower stratosphere and a subsequent modification of stratosphere/tropopause exchange of gases and particles.
Document ID
Document Type
Baumgardner, D.
(Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico Mexico City, Mexico)
Raga, G.
(Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico Mexico City, Mexico)
Kok, G.
(Droplet Measurement Technologies, Inc. Boulder, CO, United States)
Date Acquired
August 21, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2003
Subject Category
Environment Pollution
Distribution Limits

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