CREATE-AAS Science In Brief: Measurements of Transported Wildfire Pollution in Eureka

Author: Tyler Wizenberg, PhD Candidate, University of Toronto The high Arctic is often viewed as a pristine, untouched wilderness, far away from human influence. However, in reality this is not always the case and large-scale atmospheric circulation patterns can enable both human-emitted and natural pollution to be swept-up and carried far north. One common form of this transported pollution is the smoke plumes generated by large wildfires at southerly latitudes. These smoke plumes typically contain…

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CREATE-AAS Science In Brief: On Improving Measurements of Atmospheric Water Vapour

Author: Dr. Ellen Eckert, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Toronto When atmospheric scientists aim to improve measurements of an atmospheric quantity like water vapour, they commonly start off by examining the quality of new observations. This step is called validation. For this, they need a sound understanding of the quantity itself: How is it distributed throughout the atmosphere? How can it be detected, based on its chemical and physical features, for example using its “spectral fingerprint”?…

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The Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory: PEARL

Author: Dr. Pierre Fogal, PEARL Site Manager, University of Toronto Stop me if you’ve heard this one before … A bunch of grad students fly into the High Arctic and … They find everything they need! So, how does this come to pass?  Well in this case, it is because they are travelling to the Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory, better known as PEARL!  At PEARL, they walk into a well equipped, moderately comfortable research…

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Measuring Arctic Ozone with a Differential Absorption Lidar

Author: Ghazal Farhani, PhD Student at The University of Western Ontario Ozone is a minor constituent of the atmosphere, but it plays an important role by absorbing harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation emitted by the Sun. The bulk of this protective ozone resides in the stratosphere at an altitude range between 15 and 50 km. A small amount resides near the surface, but it is a pollutant. Significant chemical depletion of the total ozone during late…

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Is there an Arctic ozone hole?

By Kristof Bognar PhD Candidate, U. of Toronto When scientists speak of the ‘ozone hole’, they usually mean the large region of low stratospheric ozone concentration that develops above Antarctica each Southern Hemisphere spring (August–October). These occur because conditions over Antarctica are favorable for ozone destruction. Strong westerly winds, or jet streams, above the Southern Ocean circle the continent creating a persistent polar vortex that isolates the air above Antarctica (a twin to the Arctic…

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Eureka’s dramatically changing sunlight

By Dan Weaver Ph.D. Candidate, University of Toronto You have likely noticed the days are getting longer.­1 It’s a welcome relief from the short dark days of winter. Toronto, for example, will enjoy over 12 hours of sunlight on April 20. Two months earlier, on January 20, there was only 9.5 hours of sunlight. The seasonal change in sunlight hours is small near the equator, and larger as latitude increases. In the high Arctic, where…

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Why do scientists travel to Eureka during polar sunrise?

By Debora Griffin PhD candidate, Department of Physics, University of Toronto Every year at the end of February a group of scientists travels to Eureka, Nunavut, 80°N. On February 21st, when the Canadian Arctic ACE/OSIRIS validation campaign typically starts, the sun rises in Eureka above the horizon for the first time since November 20th. Every day, daylight hours increase at a rate between 20 min and 1 h per day, until the sun no longer…

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Here Comes the Sun!

Mike Maurice PEARL Operator My current tour in Eureka operating the PEARL facilities started during Polar Night. Shortly after New Years Day I arrived at Eureka, excited to be back at work. I enjoy the Arctic at all times of the year, so the fact that I was returning in the dead of winter didn’t bother me. January 28th, 2015 12:38 pm –  Cape Hare is beautifully silhouetted against the first rays of Polar Twilight.…

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PEARL at Polar Twilight

A full moon shines brightly at the PEARL Ridge lab while the Weather Station lights twinkle in the distance. CREATE AAS Post-doc, Sophie Tran, took this shot last November during Polar Twilight – a few weeks before full Polar Night set in and she went home. However, now that Polar Night is ending and sunlight is beginning to return to Eureka, the CREATE AAS students and researchers will be flocking to PEARL in the coming…

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Detection of Biomass Burning Pollution in the Arctic

Erik Lutsch PhD. Student, University of Toronto Biomass burning is the burning of vegetation and occurs in North America and Europe mostly in the form of wildfires. Every year, hundreds of forest fires burn throughout the northern hemisphere burning thousands of hectares of vegetation. The burning of vegetation emits a substantial amount of aerosols and various trace gas pollutants. Trace gases may have a considerable effect on climate. The emission of trace gases changes the…

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