The campaign took place in 2015 at Villum Research Station (VRS), Northernmost Greenland. VRS is located at Station Nord, a small Danish military base.
The campaign started in mid-February during polar night, and continued through spring and summer until the end of August, beginning of a new winter.
There, we utilized a nitrate CI-APi-TOF, acetate CI-APi-TOF, ion-APi-TOF, NAIS and PSMs with the focus on understanding the molecular steps of secondary cluster and particle formation. During spring time, after the polar night turned to day, and the sea ice was still extending over large areas of Arctic ocean, we observed new particle formation from iodine vapours, likely iodic acid. Some of the results have been published in Nature, the rest of the data will be published in the near future.
The plot above depicts the cluster distribution observed during a new particle formation episode at Villum station, Greenland. Each dot depicts a cluster with unique chemical composition. The rightmost cluster, for example has formed via gas phase formation of HIO3 via yet unknown reaction, subsequent attachment of 7 other HIO3 molecules to initial HIO3 molecule, intracluster restructuring reactions of molecules and the loss of 3 water (H2O) molecules. Since iodine emissions are likely coming from biological activity of phytoplankton living in the sea ice, rapid loss of Arctic sea ice may have consequences for this process.
Nordic Centre of Excellence – CRAICC, European Research Council and Academy of Finland are acknowledged for funding the research. Villum Research Station and Station Nord staff and Royal Danish Airforce is acknowledged for logistical support.
Phytoplankton living in Arctic sea ice may be a source of iodine vapours. Oxidation of these vapours lead to iodic acid production and eventually to new particle formation.
Polar bears form an additional challenge for the research in the Arctic polar environments.