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Reducing uncertainties associated with filter-based optical measurements of light absorbing carbon particles with chemical information
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Meteorology .
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Meteorology .
2011 (English)In: Atmospheric Measurement Techniques, ISSN 1867-8548, Vol. 4, no 8, 1553-1566 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The presented filter-based optical method for determination of soot (light absorbing carbon or Black Carbon, BC) can be implemented in the field under primitive conditions and at low cost. This enables researchers with small economical means to perform monitoring at remote locations, especially in the Asia where it is much needed. One concern when applying filter-based optical measurements of BC is that they suffer from systematic errors due to the light scattering of non-absorbing particles co-deposited on the filter, such as inorganic salts and mineral dust. In addition to an optical correction of the non-absorbing material this study provides a protocol for correction of light scattering based on the chemical quantification of the material, which is a novelty. A newly designed photometer was implemented to measure light transmission on particle accumulating filters, which includes an additional sensor recording backscattered light. The choice of polycarbonate membrane filters avoided high chemical blank values and reduced errors associated with length of the light path through the filter. Two protocols for corrections were applied to aerosol samples collected at the Maldives Climate Observatory Hanimaadhoo during episodes with either continentally influenced air from the Indian/Arabian subcontinents (winter season) or pristine air from the Southern Indian Ocean (summer monsoon). The two ways of correction (optical and chemical) lowered the particle light absorption of BC by 63 to 61 %, respectively, for data from the Arabian Sea sourced group, resulting in median BC absorption coefficients of 4.2 and 3.5 Mm(-1). Corresponding values for the South Indian Ocean data were 69 and 97% (0.38 and 0.02 Mm(-1)). A comparison with other studies in the area indicated an overestimation of their BC levels, by up to two orders of magnitude. This raises the necessity for chemical correction protocols on optical filter-based determinations of BC, before even the sign on the radiative forcing based on their effects can be assessed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 4, no 8, 1553-1566 p.
National Category
Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-66852DOI: 10.5194/amt-4-1553-2011ISI: 000294457700002OAI: diva2:469125
authorCount :2 Available from: 2011-12-22 Created: 2011-12-21 Last updated: 2011-12-22Bibliographically approved

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Leck, Caroline
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