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Reconciling modeling with observations of radiative absorption of black carbon aerosols
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry.
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Number of Authors: 7
2017 (English)In: Journal of Geophysical Research - Atmospheres, ISSN 2169-897X, E-ISSN 2169-8996, Vol. 122, no 11, 5932-5942 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The physical treatment of internal mixing and aging of black carbon (BC) aerosols that allow for enhanced solar absorption of the BC is an important parameterization in climate models. Many climate models predict a factor of 2-3 lower aerosol absorption optical depth (AAOD) than the atmospheric columnar absorption observed from ground-based networks such as AERONET, likely because these models do not parameterize properly the BC absorption enhancement (E-MAC). Models that are configured with an internal mixing have predicted large variations of E-MAC, which are poorly constrained from ambient measurements. We determined the BC E-MAC from aerosol coatings with a two-step solvent experiment to remove both organic and inorganic coatings in ambient fine particulate matter (PM2.5). Observations in a rural North China site showed that the E-MAC varied from 1.4 to 3. The E-MAC increases simultaneously with SO42-/EC ratios, suggesting the photochemical production of sulfate coatings enhanced BC absorption. A global climate model, parameterized to account for these observational constraints, verifies that sulfates are primary drivers of the BC absorption enhancement in severely polluted area in China. This magnification of the radiative forcing of coated BC is stronger by a factor of similar to 2 than predicted by the standard parameterization (external mixing) in the climate model and is in better agreement with AERONET observations of AAOD. This result would be useful for testing the representation of solar absorption by BC-containing particles in the newer generation of climate models. Plain Language Summary Atmospheric black carbon (BC) or soot in fine particulate matter (PM2.5) is emitted from incomplete combustion of fossil fuel or biomass/biofuel. The BC is an important pollutant for both air quality and Earth's energy balance, and the BC radiative forcing maybe second only to that of CO2. The photochemical production of nonabsorbing secondary aerosols may create a coating on BC and may thereby act as a lens which may enhance the light absorption. However, this absorption enhancement is poorly constrained by ambient measurements, and thus the estimates of BC climate forcing remain highly uncertain. To this end, an aerosol filter dissolution-filtration (AFD) with two-step solvent dissolution protocol was employed to remove both organic and inorganic coatings and then investigate their effects on BC light absorption. The observations and model simulation showed that the BC warming effect likely doubled due to lens effect from secondary aerosols.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 122, no 11, 5932-5942 p.
Keyword [en]
black carbon, radiative forcing, absorption enhancement, climate model, AAOD
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-145211DOI: 10.1002/2017JD026548ISI: 000404131800024OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-145211DiVA: diva2:1128812
Available from: 2017-07-28 Created: 2017-07-28 Last updated: 2017-07-28Bibliographically approved

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Andersson, AugustGustafsson, Örjan
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