Harold I. Schiff Lecture to focus on the impact of melting sea ice in Canadian Arctic

Research aircraft in flight over the Arctic

Professor Jon Abbatt in the Department of Chemistry, University of Toronto, will deliver the 26th annual Harold I. Schiff Lecture on Wednesday, Sept. 13. Abbatt’s lecture, “Aerosol in the Arctic Summertime: Sources, Impacts and Melting Sea Ice,” will take place at 2:30pm in 320 Norman Bethune College, York University.

Jon Abbatt

As part of a large Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council of Canada-funded network project, NETCARE, field measurements were made in the Arctic in the summer of 2014 to investigate the nature of aerosol in the high Canadian Arctic.

The goal of this research was to study the fundamental processes that control the size, abundance and composition of Arctic aerosol particles in light of a rapidly changing Arctic environment. The study examined whether melting sea ice affects Arctic aerosol and clouds.

To address this question, measurements were made from both the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) POLAR6 aircraft and the CGCS Amundsen Icebreaker. A consistent story arose wherein a biologically active ocean provides a source of volatile gases to the atmosphere that are oxidized to promote both new particle formation and growth in this cool, pristine environment.

Under specific conditions, the numbers of cloud condensation nuclei increase with ensuing effects on cloud droplets. The summer environment will be contrasted against the much better understood character of the aerosol in the Arctic springtime, i.e. during the period of Arctic Haze. In particular, NETCARE also made measurements in the spring of 2015, adding to our understanding of the importance of long-range transport and different depositional processes in controlling aerosol abundance during this time period.

The work to be presented reflects the combined efforts of a great number of NETCARE personnel and collaborators. Especially important were scientific, financial and logistical contributions from Environment & Climate Change Canada, the Department of Fisheries & Oceans, AWI and a number of foreign collaborators

The Annual Harold I. Schiff Lecture is organized by the Centre for Atmospheric Chemistry at York. For more information, email cac@yorku.ca.

More about the Harold I. Schiff Lecture series

Harold I. Schiff

The Harold I. Schiff Lecture series was established in honour of late Professor Emeritus Harold I. Schiff (1923-2003), who was York’s founding dean of the Faculty of Science in 1968. Among his numerous achievements are his major contributions to the development of techniques for measuring trace constituents in the upper atmosphere and to the interpretation of the physics and chemistry of the stratosphere.

An educator and scientist in the field of chemistry, Schiff began at York in 1964, and was named a member of York’s Founders Society in honour of his contributions to the early development of the University. While at York, Schiff was chair of the Department of Chemistry and director of the Natural Science program in 1964, dean of the Faculty of Science from 1965-72 and director of the Centre for Atmospheric Chemistry from 1985-89.