Arctic sea ice melt leads to atmospheric new particle formation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Manuel Dallosto
  • P. Tunved
  • R. Krejci
  • J. Ström
  • H. C. Hansson
  • Y. J. Yoon
  • Ki Tae Park
  • S. Becagli
  • R. Udisti
  • T. Onasch
  • C. D. Ódowd
  • R. Simó

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Centre for Atmospheric Science Division of Environmental Health
  • Stockholm University
  • Korea Polar Research Institute
  • University of Florence
  • National University of Ireland Galway
  • CSIC - Instituto de Ciencias del Mar (ICM)
  • King Abdulaziz University
  • Institut de Ciències Del Mar, CSIC
  • Aerodyne Research, Inc.


Atmospheric new particle formation (NPF) and growth significantly influences climate by supplying new seeds for cloud condensation and brightness. Currently, there is a lack of understanding of whether and how marine biota emissions affect aerosol-cloud-climate interactions in the Arctic. Here, the aerosol population was categorised via cluster analysis of aerosol size distributions taken at Mt Zeppelin (Svalbard) during a 11 year record. The daily temporal occurrence of NPF events likely caused by nucleation in the polar marine boundary layer was quantified annually as 18%, with a peak of 51% during summer months. Air mass trajectory analysis and atmospheric nitrogen and sulphur tracers link these frequent nucleation events to biogenic precursors released by open water and melting sea ice regions. The occurrence of such events across a full decade was anti-correlated with sea ice extent. New particles originating from open water and open pack ice increased the cloud condensation nuclei concentration background by at least ca. 20%, supporting a marine biosphere-climate link through sea ice melt and low altitude clouds that may have contributed to accelerate Arctic warming. Our results prompt a better representation of biogenic aerosol sources in Arctic climate models.


Original languageEnglish
Article number3318
Number of pages10
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Early online date12 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas