Arctic haze is the phenomenon of large-scale industrial air pollution found all through the arctic air mass. Vertical profiles of air concentrations, obtained during several aircraft measurement programs in the Arctic, have offered the following explanation of arctic haze origin. Very long range, episodic transport of air masses over several thousand kilometers clearly affects the quality of arctic air during both summer and winter. Polluted air masses, carrying a mixture of anthropogenic and natural pollutants from a variety of sources in different geographical areas have been identified in the arctic atmosphere at altitudes from 2 to 4 or 5 km. The layers of polluted air at altitudes below 2.5 km can be traced to episodic transport of air masses from anthropogenic sources situated closer to the Arctic. Pollution material in arctic haze is of submicron size and contains a substantial fraction of black carbon it interacts strongly with solar radiation. In addition, sulfate and a wide range of heavy metals appear, affecting their natural geochemical cycles. They also serve as indicators of major source regions of emissions in the world. This paper discusses what happens to the haze-related pollutants in the Arctic, what is the contribution of natural sources to the arctic haze and what are local and global effects of arctic haze. Some indications are given of the research to be undertaken in a view to assess the role of the Arctic in global change of the environment.
This article is from 'Proceedings of the International Conference on the Role of Polar Regions in Global Change Held in Fairbanks, Alaska on 11-15 June 1990. Volume 2', AD-A253 028, p674-680. See also Volume 1, AD-A253 027.