Hi Kevin, I am a PolarTREC teacher from 2009. I'm excited to follow you expedition for 2 reasons. 1) I did atmospheric research with OASIS scientists in Barrow in Spring of 09. Greg Huey, Jin Liao, and Steve Sjostedt (all with Georgia Tech ties) worked in our group. I like following and learning about atmospheric pollution research. 2) My daughter, Jeannie Wilkening, leaves for Greenland with JSEP and Laura Lukes the day after you do. Hopefully you will get a chance to meet her when they reach Summit.

Here is my question: Do you anticipate more aerosols than average this year because of the recent volcanoes in Iceland and Chile? Also do forest fires affect the aerosol concentration in the atmosphere?

Thanks, Betsy Wilkening 7th Grade Science Tucson, AZ

Kevin McMahon

Hi Betsy, it is great to hear from you. I'll keep an eye out for your daughter. I am sure we will get a chance to meet. To answer your question: I am not sure if there will be more aerosols than average in the air over Greenland because of the recent volcanic eruptions in Iceland and Chile. I am guessing that it just depends on which way the wind is blowing. If there are more aerosols than average in the air over Greenland, this may be one of the causes. Again, it just depends on the wind patterns.
I know that a lot of the volcanic ash from the Chile volcano has headed to New Zealand and Australia. This ash is causing havoc with the airline industry down there. Many plane flights have been canceled because of the ash. We just got back from New Zealand visiting my daughter who is studying abroad in Wellington. We were fortunate to not have our flight canceled or delayed.
Forest fires increase the aerosol concentration in the atmosphere. When I helped Mike Bergin with his research on the Greenland ice sheet five years ago, he noticed a spike in the amount of particles that landed on the surface. A forest fire in Canada was a possible cause of this spike based on the wind patterns at that time.
I hope this helps. Thanks.

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