EGU24-17439, updated on 11 Mar 2024
EGU General Assembly 2024
© Author(s) 2024. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Atmospheric aerosol characterization at Princess Elisabeth station, East Antarctica and identifying source regions using backward trajectory modelling

Alexander Mangold1, Karen De Causmaecker1, Quentin Laffineur1, Preben Van Overmeiren2, Charlotte Deramaix3, Christophe Walgraeve2, Nadine Mattielli3, and Andy Delcloo1,4
Alexander Mangold et al.
  • 1Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium, Scientific Service Observations, Brussels, Belgium
  • 2EnVOC research group, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium
  • 3Laboratoire G-Time, Université Libre de Bruxelles, ULB, Brussels, Belgium
  • 4Department of Physics and Astronomy, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium

Atmospheric composition plays an important role in present and near-future climate change. Airborne particles exert direct and indirect radiative impacts and can serve as cloud condensation and ice nuclei, having therefore a strong influence on cloud formation and precipitation. Furthermore, a detailed understanding of present-day atmospheric transport pathways of particles from source to deposition in Antarctica remains essential.

Since 2010, the aerosol total number and size distribution, aerosol absorption coefficient and mass concentration of light-absorbing aerosols and the aerosol total scattering coefficient have been monitored at the Belgian research station Princess Elisabeth Antarctica (PEA). The station is situated in Dronning Maud Land, East Antarctica (71.95° S, 23.35° E, 1390 m asl). Besides these instruments, a cloud condensation nuclei counter was operated during three austral summers. Meteorological data come from an automatic weather station. In this work, we investigate the climatology of the particle properties with respect to the air mass origin. To that end, we used the FLEXTRA trajectory model to investigate transport pathways into Antarctica. The model was driven with ECMWF ERA-5 meteorological fields. 10-days 3D backward trajectories, starting from PEA, were calculated for the period 01/01/2010 to 31/12/2020, in 3-hour-intervals. A k-means cluster analysis has been done based on latitude, longitude and altitude, resulting in four clusters of air mass origin.

We will present results for the climatology of particle properties and the air mass origin. In addition, the backward trajectories have been combined with measured atmospheric particle properties and parameters like potential vorticity and exposure to sunshine duration, showing the distribution of the measured atmospheric particle properties between and within the air mass origin clusters. Some distinct features could be seen in the air mass origin clustering. Source regions from South America, Southern Africa and Australia, New Zealand were limited and the Southern Ocean was a main source region, as was the Antarctic continent itself. For each season, the dominating cluster represented mainly air masses of Antarctic continental origin with a large influence of upper tropospheric air. We will show further results of our analysis on air mass origin and atmospheric and particle properties, with respect to differentiations between seasons, clusters, continental and maritime origin and source altitude compartments.

How to cite: Mangold, A., De Causmaecker, K., Laffineur, Q., Van Overmeiren, P., Deramaix, C., Walgraeve, C., Mattielli, N., and Delcloo, A.: Atmospheric aerosol characterization at Princess Elisabeth station, East Antarctica and identifying source regions using backward trajectory modelling, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-17439,, 2024.