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Author Topic: Black Carbon in Greenland Ice Cores  (Read 12045 times)

Dromicosuchus

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Black Carbon in Greenland Ice Cores
« on: February 21, 2013, 06:08:39 AM »
I waffled between the above title and "WHAT," but decided that the former would probably be less confusing.  Getting to the point, I recently came across the following two papers (well, one paper and one call to arms for the modelers) dealing with what, according to the author, are some of the only ice core records of Arctic black carbon deposition.  Before reading these, I had just sort of assumed that the levels of soot deposited on the Arctic ice (both on the Arctic ocean and on the GIS) had roughly followed the rate of carbon dioxide emissions: low towards the end of the 19th century, rising all the way up through the 20th to a peak in the 21st.



Not so much, apparently.

The authors conclude that this pattern is a result of the very short atmospheric lifetime of soot and prevailing winds which tend to originate over North America--which makes sense, I suppose, but even so I'm astounded that China hasn't had more of an impact.  It is noted in the paper that their measurements here are by no means to be taken as representative of the Arctic Ocean in general, and of course the timeseries leaves out the last twelve years, which have seen quite a boom in industrialization in the East.  All the same, I find this very surprising.  Intriguing, too, from a forcing perspective, as it might indicate that the role of black carbon in the recent dramatic Greenland melts might be lower than generally thought, if it was this much higher in the past.  That, of course, implies a much larger role for CO2 in the matter, and a tougher job ahead of us when it comes to reducing global temperatures (given how much harder it is to cut CO2 emissions than it is to cut soot emissions), but I'm not familiar enough with the literature to feel comfortable making any definite speculations on that point.  Y'all's thoughts on this?  Do any of you happen to know of any other research that's been done measuring the quantity of black carbon deposited per year over the 20th century and before?
« Last Edit: February 21, 2013, 01:32:06 PM by Dromicosuchus »

TenneyNaumer

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Re: Black Carbon in Greenland Ice Cores
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2013, 08:54:56 AM »
Well, the data do only go through the year 2000, and the big jump from Asia and India mostly came after that. Note the so-called "pause" in global mean temperature rise since 1998 is assumed to be caused by dampening from their aerosols.

After the horrific lethal London smog of the 1950s, efforts were made to reduce these aerosols, and in the 1970s Europe somewhat dealt with their acid rain problem, and the U.S. followed suit in the 1980s.

Neven

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Re: Black Carbon in Greenland Ice Cores
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2013, 12:37:28 PM »
Hmmm, what I see is this: a potential reason that explains some of the warmth in the Arctic regions in the 30's?
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Dromicosuchus

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Re: Black Carbon in Greenland Ice Cores
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2013, 01:40:47 PM »
TenneyNaumer:  True, and I'd expect data through the early 2000s to show that, at least a little.  I guess I'm just surprised that the earl signal is so strong, and the later signal so very weak.

Neven:  That occurred to me as well.  I can't help but think of Jennifer Francis' work, and wonder whether one might draw any connection between this and the 1930s Dust Bowl.  If this triggered a sufficiently large pulse of Arctic warming, without (relatively speaking) much of a concomitant rise in temperatures to the south, one might expect to see the jet stream looping wildly, creating the conditions needed for the 1930s drought in the US.

Chuck Yokota

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Re: Black Carbon in Greenland Ice Cores
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2013, 06:17:07 PM »
If the surface of the GIS melts further in the coming years, will the black carbon from a century ago become exposed again, or will it be washed down below the new surface?

TerryM

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Re: Black Carbon in Greenland Ice Cores
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2013, 08:26:57 PM »
If the surface of the GIS melts further in the coming years, will the black carbon from a century ago become exposed again, or will it be washed down below the new surface?

My understanding is that it's not generally washed away but similar to the dirty masses you find as snow plowed from parking lots melts back in the early spring.

Terry

Chuck Yokota

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Re: Black Carbon in Greenland Ice Cores
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2013, 12:07:07 PM »
Thanks for the reply, TerryM.  That is not good news for GIS melting, as the re-exposed black carbon will lower its albedo. :(

Vaughn

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Re: Black Carbon in Greenland Ice Cores
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2013, 06:31:49 AM »
I have been watching the "Greenland Ice Sheet Today" on the NSIDC website: 
http://nsidc.org/greenland-today/
Notably along the southeast Greenland coast there are small but distinct areas of the ice sheet that already has logged 20 to 40 days of melt and it is only late February.  This seems highly unusual and will already have black soot exposed on the surface when the real melt gets underway shortly.
Vaughn

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Re: Black Carbon in Greenland Ice Cores
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2013, 08:56:58 AM »
I'm not surprised that the GIS is already suffering in 2013. The sluggish nature of the weather in recent weeks with blocking highs over the UK and NE Europe and slow moving deep depressions in the North Atlantic is pushing warm Atlantic air into SE Greenland. If this is a result of Jennifer Francis's higher amplitude, slower moving Rossby Waves then this phenomenon may be a feature of things to come.

TerryM

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Re: Black Carbon in Greenland Ice Cores
« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2013, 05:00:37 PM »
Does anyone have a link to the dark biological beasties that were found to be moving upward and northward on the GIS last year? I think it was a Japanese team that reported them.

Terry

Chuck Yokota

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Re: Black Carbon in Greenland Ice Cores
« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2013, 12:44:36 AM »
Terry,
The link to the dark microbial stain article is:
http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/social_affairs/AJ201209280006

TerryM

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Re: Black Carbon in Greenland Ice Cores
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2013, 05:41:01 PM »
Terry,
The link to the dark microbial stain article is:
http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/social_affairs/AJ201209280006

Thanks so much.

That was the article I remembered, bookmarked, then lost. I love the take away line:

"There's no doubt the stains are from microbes. I think it's only a matter of time before they cover the entire ice sheet,”

Terry


Chuck Yokota

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Re: Black Carbon in Greenland Ice Cores
« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2013, 06:31:51 PM »
Terry,
When I googled "Nozomu Takeuchi greenland" I found he had a couple of posters at the AGU fall meeting:
http://fallmeeting.agu.org/2012/eposters/eposter/c13b-0607/
 "C13B-0607: Effect of microorganism on Greenland ice sheet surface temperature change"
http://fallmeeting.agu.org/2012/eposters/eposter/c13b-0615/ 
"C13B-0615: Variations in Sr and Nd isotopic ratios of cryoconite on glaciers in Asia, Alaska, and Greenland"

StuartC

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Re: Black Carbon in Greenland Ice Cores
« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2013, 02:59:25 AM »
I'm not surprised that the GIS is already suffering in 2013. The sluggish nature of the weather in recent weeks with blocking highs over the UK and NE Europe and slow moving deep depressions in the North Atlantic is pushing warm Atlantic air into SE Greenland.

I think you're right, I've noticed this too.  Most days I take a look at the Met Office surface pressure forecast chart - at times there has been a stream of warm air from as far south as the Azores moving up to SE Greenland, though the forecast for the next few days is not as spectacular:

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/uk/surface_pressure.html

Quote
If this is a result of Jennifer Francis's higher amplitude, slower moving Rossby Waves then this phenomenon may be a feature of things to come.

I'm impressed by Jennifer Francis' work too, and I think what we are seeing here is likely connected to the slowing and increased amplitude of Rossby Waves.  I find it quite worrying to think this may be the new normal.

« Last Edit: February 26, 2013, 03:03:18 AM by StuartC »
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StuartC

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Re: Black Carbon in Greenland Ice Cores
« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2013, 03:12:14 AM »
On the subject of black carbon in Greenland Ice, I got around to making a modest donation to Dr Jason Box's Dark Snow Project last week, and noticed they're still some way short of their target. Neven mentioned it on the Blog about four weeks ago:

http://neven1.typepad.com/blog/2013/01/dark-snow-project.html

The website for the crowdfunding of the project is here:

http://darksnowproject.org/

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StuartC

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Re: Black Carbon in Greenland Ice Cores
« Reply #15 on: March 20, 2013, 09:14:26 PM »
An update - I had an email from the Dark Snow Project today:

With 371 donations, we've generated $23,853 in crowdfunding. We're the first polar science campaign to do so, generating ~20 news pieces! We had $50k in seed grant  money that gave us courage to crowd fund. Now, our strategy to raise the last $50k we need to get our Greenland expedition firmly booked includes:

1.) Earth Day 20-22 April, New York city public art installations of melting ice in the form of text that reads #DarkSnow and other terms like #Heat or #Soot. These will be 5 feet tall and placed in NYC's Battery Park and elsewhere where sea level rise will first inundate. Battery Park is less than 15 feet above sea level and was flooded during Sandy. A plaque in front of the sculpture asks for a txt message donation that is billed to donor's phone bill. On giving, donors will receive an automatic reply 1.) asking them to share using social media that they have given 2.) a video to watch; 3.) a Twitter #hashtag to retweet. Donors with thus be able to amplify their giving using social media while remaining in the conversation we have started now our twitter storm that will last through the expedition. A lot more to say about this sub-campaign. We expect media will report on it given its novelty. Any questions?

2.) an indiegogo.com crowdfunding campaign is input and just needs to be launched. I'll see to that in the next weeks.


Some good news is that Peter Sinclair (as in http://climatecrocks.com/) will be going along to film the project, so with luck we can look forward to some great videos of what goes on:

http://www.ourmidland.com/news/article_ab931e0a-1ac7-52cf-8be5-4a6d5e070402.html

There's another article explaining things in more detail here:

http://www.outsideonline.com/adventure-travel/adventure-ethics/Dark-Snow-Projects-Crowdfunded-Climate-Science-Experiment.html

And for anyone who'd like to make a donation, the Dark Snow website is here:

http://darksnowproject.org/
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frankendoodle

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Re: Black Carbon in Greenland Ice Cores
« Reply #16 on: March 30, 2013, 09:41:54 PM »
The graph is what you'd expect from North America's coal burning emissions. Located almost exclusively in New England and the Great Lakes area, factory production increased during our American Civil War by an order of magnitude. Then from the 1890 till the post WWII area our burning of coal skyrocketed, due not only to increased industrial capacity but also from electrical plants. No surprise the greatest concentrations were found in Southern Greenland.
This reminded be of the measured lowering of Greenland's albedo last summer:
http://www.meltfactor.org/blog/?p=691

Anne

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Re: Black Carbon in Greenland Ice Cores
« Reply #17 on: June 07, 2013, 05:31:09 PM »
The Dark Snow Project is still seeking funds. The crew is scheduled to leave June 24, and so far have received just enough funding for a bare bones expedition—but their hope is to raise more funds before then.

Snip
Quote
TakePart: What is the Dark Snow Project?

Jason Box: It’s the first-ever Internet, crowdfunded, greenlit science expedition, targeted at sampling from last year’s record melt layer—which right now, is buried under about six feet of snow. We are going to go there, land with a helicopter at a number of places, and just drill down to this melt layer—which is now refrozen—[and] extract core samples that should contain detectable levels of wildfire soot. The idea is to measure how much that soot is darkening Greenland ice.

http://www.takepart.com/article/2013/06/05/can-first-crowdfunded-science-project-save-greenlands-ice

http://darksnowproject.org/

CraigsIsland

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Re: Black Carbon in Greenland Ice Cores
« Reply #18 on: June 07, 2013, 09:36:02 PM »
have you tried reddit.com?

Anne

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Re: Black Carbon in Greenland Ice Cores
« Reply #19 on: June 08, 2013, 05:17:31 AM »
have you tried reddit.com?
I'm not shilling for them, it just came up on my newsfeed and looked interesting, particularly as someone had mentioned it before.

LRC1962

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Re: Black Carbon in Greenland Ice Cores
« Reply #20 on: May 27, 2014, 10:47:54 AM »
Know this could be a stale topic, but an article I found is still relevant to the heading. http://www.theweathernetwork.com/uk/news/articles/greenlands-glaciers-melted-from-afar-may-add-more-to-sea-level-rise-than-previously-thought/27882/
Second part talks about canyons deeper then thought. Deja vu Antarctica?
 Also could mean easier access to the interior? That is a scary thought as things could go bad faster then models accounted for.
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