Sulfur aerosols in the Arctic, Antarctic, and Tibetan Plateau: Current knowledge and future perspectives

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Geological Sciences

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Sulfur aerosols, mainly composed of sulfate and methanesulfonic acid (MSA), significantly affect the Earth’s radiation balance, biogeochemical cycles and ecosystems, especially in the polar regions with vulnerable environments. To better understand the relationship between anthropogenic activities and climate change, a comprehensive review is presented, covering sulfate and MSA concentrations and isotope composition from 18 sites in the Arctic, 22 sites in the Antarctic and 25 sites in the Tibetan Plateau. The spatio-temporal variability of sulfur aerosols and the potential factors controlling their concentrations are summarized, sulfur isotopes are used to identify the importance of anthropogenic vs. natural inputs, and ice cores are employed to reconstruct the paleo-evolution of atmospheric sulfates. Finally, this review discusses the need for future research on organosulfur aerosols, the mixing state of sulfur aerosols, their deposition fluxes and velocities, potential emissions by biomass burning, and the anticipated trends in sulfur aerosol concentrations in the Arctic, Antarctic, and Tibetan Plateau.


This article was originally published in Earth-Science Reviews. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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