Siberian Arctic black carbon sources constrained by model and observation

Patrik Winiger, August Andersson, Sabine Eckhardt, Andreas Stohl, Igor P. Semiletov, Oleg V. Dudarev, Alexander Charkin, Natalia Shakhova, Zbigniew Klimont, Chris Heyes, Orjan Gustafsson

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Black carbon (BC) in haze and deposited on snow and ice can have strong effects on the radiative balance of the Arctic. There is a geographic bias in Arctic BC studies toward the Atlantic sector, with lack of observational constraints for the extensive Russian Siberian Arctic, spanning nearly half of the circum-Arctic. Here, 2 y of observations at Tiksi (East Siberian Arctic) establish a strong seasonality in both BC concentrations (8 ng·m-3 to 302 ng·m-3) and dual-isotope-constrained sources (19 to 73% contribution from biomass burning). Comparisons between observations and a dispersion model, coupled to an anthropogenic emissions inventory and a fire emissions inventory, give mixed results. In the European Arctic, this model has proven to simulate BC concentrations and source contributions well. However, the model is less successful in reproducing BC concentrations and sources for the Russian Arctic. Using a Bayesian approach, we show that, in contrast to earlier studies, contributions from gas flaring (6%), power plants (9%), and open fires (12%) are relatively small, with the major sources instead being domestic (35%) and transport (38%). The observation-based evaluation of reported emissions identifies errors in spatial allocation of BC sources in the inventory and highlights the importance of improving emission distribution and source attribution, to develop reliable mitigation strategies for efficient reduction of BC impact on the Russian Arctic, one of the fastest-warming regions on Earth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E1054-E1061
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 14 Feb 2017


  • Arctic haze
  • atmospheric transport modeling
  • carbon isotopes
  • climate change
  • emission inventory

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