Biomass burning signatures in the atmosphere of central Greenland

J. L. Jaffrezo, C. I. Davidson, H. D. Kuhns, M. H. Bergin, R. Hillamo, W. Maenhaut, J. W. Kahl, J. M. Harris

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41 Scopus citations


Daily atmospheric concentrations of participate oxalate measured at the Summit of the Greenland Ice Sheet are presented for the summers 1992 - 1995. We believe that four episodes of elevated concentrations are due to biomass burning plumes passing over the site. In at least two cases the source regions of the fires are located in northern Canada. Further characteristics of the aerosol are examined during one of these events. A large increase of particle number concentrations in the accumulation mode can be observed, while the increase is much more limited for total particle number. The suite of chemical species enriched in the aerosol includes typical biomass burning tracers like fine K, large concentrations of ammonium, particulate formate and acetate, as well as other organic species like glycolate. The size distributions of K, oxalate, and glycolate are skewed toward the accumulation mode and exhibit the very same shape as sulfate, suggesting internal mixing of these species in the same particles. Molar ratios S/K indicate incorporation of S during transport, most probably by production of sulfate. Concentrations of these species were measured in fog samples for radiative events that occurred during the plume passage. There is a good agreement in the relative variation of concentrations between the aerosol and fog for oxalate and glycolate, while the gas phase probably dominates incorporation in the fog droplets for acetate, formate, chloride, nitrate, and sulfate (incorporated as SO2, which is further oxidized). The complexity of the transfer of the organic acids from the atmosphere to fog is underlined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number98JD02241
Pages (from-to)31067-31078
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres
Issue numberD23
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Oceanography
  • Forestry
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Palaeontology


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