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Advances in Meteorology
Volume 2013, Article ID 393926, 15 pages
Research Article

Comparison of Spheroidal Carbonaceous Particle Data with Modelled Atmospheric Black Carbon Concentration and Deposition and Air Mass Sources in Northern Europe, 1850–2010

1Department of Environmental Sciences, Environmental Change Research Unit (ECRU), P.O. Box 65, University of Helsinki FIN-00014, Helsinki, Finland
2Arctic Centre, University of Lapland, P.O. Box 122, 96101 Rovaniemi, Finland
3Center for International Climate and Environmental Research-Oslo (CICERO), P.O. Box 1129, Blindern, 0318 Oslo, Norway
4Department of Applied Environmental Science, Atmospheric Science Unit (ITM), Stockholm University, Svante Arrhenius Väg 8, 11418 Stockholm, Sweden
5NILU-Norwegian Institute for Air Research, P.O. Box 100, 2027 Kjeller, Norway
6Environmental Change Research Centre, Department of Geography, University College London, WC1E 6BT, UK

Received 8 March 2013; Accepted 9 July 2013

Academic Editor: Junji Cao

Copyright © 2013 Meri Ruppel et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Spheroidal carbonaceous particles (SCP) are a well-defined fraction of black carbon (BC), produced only by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels such as coal and oil. Their past concentrations have been studied using environmental archives, but, additionally, historical trends of BC concentration and deposition can be estimated by modelling. These models are based on BC emission inventories, but actual measurements of BC concentration and deposition play an essential role in their evaluation and validation. We use the chemistry transport model OsloCTM2 to model historical time series of BC concentration and deposition from energy and industrial sources and compare these to sedimentary measurements of SCPs obtained from lake sediments in Northern Europe from 1850 to 2010. To determine the origin of SCPs we generated back trajectories of air masses to the study sites. Generally, trends of SCP deposition and modelled results agree reasonably well, showing rapidly increasing values from 1950, to a peak in 1980, and a decrease towards the present. Empirical SCP data show differences in deposition magnitude between the sites that are not captured by the model but which may be explained by different air mass transport patterns. The results highlight the need for numerous observational records to reliably validate model results.