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Pathways for wintertime deposition of anthropogenic light-absorbing particles on the Central Andes cryosphere

Abstract : Ice and snow in the Central Andes contain significant amounts of light-absorbing particles such as black carbon. The consequent accelerated melting of the cryosphere is not only a threat from a climate perspective but also for water resources and snow-dependent species and activities, worsened by the mega-drought affecting the region since the last decade. Given its proximity to the Andes, emissions from the Metropolitan Area of Santiago, Chile, are believed to be among the main contributors to deposition on glaciers. However, no evidence backs such an assertion, especially given the usually subsident and stable conditions in wintertime, when the snowpack is at its maximum extent. Based on high-resolution chemistry-transport modeling with WRF-CHIMERE, the present work shows that, for the month of June 2015, up to 40% of black carbon dry deposition on snow or ice covered areas in the Central Andes downwind from the Metropolitan area can be attributed to emissions from Santiago. Through the analysis of aerosol tracers we determine (i) that the areas of the Metropolitan Area where emissions matter most when it comes to export towards glaciers are located in Eastern Santiago near the foothills of the Andes, (ii) the crucial role of the network of Andean valleys that channels pollutants up to remote locations near glaciers, following gentle slopes. A direct corollary is that severe urban pollution, and deposition of impurities on the Andes, are anti-correlated phenomena. Finally, a two-variable meteorological index is developed that accounts for the dynamics of aerosol export towards the Andes, based on the zonal wind speed over the urban area, and the vertical diffusion coefficient in the valleys close to ice and snow covered terrain. Numerous large urban areas are found along the Andes so that the processes studied here can shed light on similar investigations for other glaciers-dependent Andean regions.
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Soumis le : lundi 30 novembre 2020 - 10:06:37
Dernière modification le : vendredi 2 juillet 2021 - 10:50:02
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Rémy Lapere, Sylvain Mailler, Laurent Menut, Nicolás Huneeus. Pathways for wintertime deposition of anthropogenic light-absorbing particles on the Central Andes cryosphere. Environmental Pollution, Elsevier, 2020, pp.115901. ⟨10.1016/j.envpol.2020.115901⟩. ⟨hal-03030470⟩

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