Summertime transport pathways from different northern hemisphere regions into the Arctic

Zheng, Cheng; Wu, Yutian; Ting, Mingfang; Orbe, Clara; Wang, Xinyue; Tilmes, Simone

Trace gases and aerosols play an important role in Arctic chemistry and climate. As most Arctic tracers and aerosols are transported from midlatitude source regions, long-range transport into the Arctic is one of the key factors to understand the current and future states of Arctic climate. While previous studies have investigated the airmass fraction and transit time distribution in the Arctic, the actual transport pathways and their underlying dynamics and efficiencies are yet to be understood. In this study, we implement a large ensemble of idealized tagged pulse passive tracers in the Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model version 5 to identify and analyze summertime transport pathways from different Northern Hemisphere surface regions into the Arctic. Three different transport pathways are identified as those associated with fast, intermediate and slow time scales. Midlatitude tracers can be transported into the Arctic in the troposphere via the fast transport pathway (∼8 days), which moves tracers northward from the source region mainly through transient eddies. For the intermediate transport pathway, which happens on 1–3 weeks’ time scales, midlatitude tracers are first zonally transported by the jet stream, and then advected northward into the Arctic over Alaska and northern North Atlantic. Tropical and subtropical tracers are transported into the Arctic lower stratosphere via the slow transport pathway (1–3 months), as the tracers are lifted upward into the tropical and subtropical lower stratosphere, and then transported into the Arctic following the isentropic surfaces.

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Also Published In

JGR: Atmospheres

More About This Work

Academic Units
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Ocean and Climate Physics
Published Here
June 3, 2021