The Arctic region is vulnerable to climate change and able to affect global climate. The summertime Arctic atmosphere is pristine and strongly influenced by natural regional emissions, which have poorly understood climate impacts related to atmospheric particles and clouds. Here we show that ammonia from seabird-colony guano is a key factor contributing to bursts of newly formed particles, which are observed every summer in the near-surface atmosphere at Alert, Nunavut, Canada. Our chemical-transport model simulations indicate that the pan-Arctic seabird-influenced particles can grow by sulfuric acid and organic vapour condensation to diameters sufficiently large to promote pan-Arctic cloud-droplet formation in the clean Arctic summertime. We calculate that the resultant cooling tendencies could be large (about -0.5Wm(-2) pan-Arctic-mean cooling), exceeding -1Wm(-2) near the largest seabird colonies due to the effects of seabird-influenced particles on cloud albedo. These coupled ecological-chemical processes may be susceptible to Arctic warming and industrialization.
2016. Vol. 7, 13444