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Sources and light absorption of water-soluble brown carbon aerosols in the outflow from northern China
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Applied Environmental Science (ITM).
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Applied Environmental Science (ITM).
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Korea University.
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Korea University.
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(English)Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
Abstract [en]

High loadings of anthropogenic carbonaceous aerosols in Chinese air influence the air quality for over 1 billion people and impact the regional climate. A large fraction (17 – 80%) of this aerosol carbon is water soluble, promoting cloud formation and thus climate cooling. Recent findings, however, suggest that water-soluble carbonaceous aerosols also absorb sunlight, bringing additional direct and indirect climate warming effects, yet the extent and nature of light absorption by this water-soluble brown carbon (WS-BrC) and its relation to sources is poorly understood. Here, we combine source estimates constrained by dual-carbon-isotope with light absorption measurements of WS-BrC for a March 2011 campaign at the Korea Climate Observatory at Gosan (KCOG), a receptor station in SE Yellow Sea for the outflow from N. China. The mass absorption cross-section (MAC) of WS-BrC for air masses from N. China were in general higher (0.8 – 1.1 m2/g), than from other source regions (0.3 – 0.8 m2/g). We estimate that this effect corresponds to 13 – 49% of the radiative forcing caused by light absorption by black carbon. Radiocarbon constraints show that the WS-Br in Chinese outflow had significantly higher amounts of fossil sources (30 – 50%) compared to previous findings in S. Asia, N. America and Europe. Stable carbon (δ13C) measurements indicated influence of aging during air mass transport. These results indicate the importance of incorporating WS-BrC in climate models and the need to constrain climate effects by emission source sector.

Keyword [en]
water-soluble organic carbon, carbon isotopes, source apportionment, light absorption properties, aerosol aging, China
National Category
Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Applied Environmental Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-89189OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-89189DiVA: diva2:616312
Available from: 2013-04-16 Created: 2013-04-16 Last updated: 2013-04-16Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Dual isotope (13C-14C) Studies of Water-Soluble Organic Carbon (WSOC) Aerosols in South and East Asia
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Dual isotope (13C-14C) Studies of Water-Soluble Organic Carbon (WSOC) Aerosols in South and East Asia
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Atmospheric aerosols may be emitted directly as particles (primary) or formed from gaseous precursors (secondary) from different natural and anthropogenic sources. The highly populated South and East Asia regions are currently in a phase of rapid economic growth to which high emissions of carbonaceous aerosols are coupled. This leads to generally poor air quality and a substantial impact of anthropogenic aerosols on the regional climate. However, the emissions of different carbon aerosol components are still poorly constrained. Water-soluble organic carbon (WSOC) is a large (20-80%) component of carbonaceous aerosols that can absorb solar light and enhance cloud formation, influencing both the direct and indirect climate effects of the aerosols.

A novel method for carbon isotope-based studies, including source apportionment, of the WSOC component of ambient aerosols was developed and tested for recovery efficiency and the risk of contamination using both synthetic test substances and ambient aerosols (paper I). The application of this method for the source apportionment of aerosols in South and East Asia shows that fossil fuel input to WSOC is significant in both South Asia (about 17-23%) highly impacted by biomass combustion practices and in East Asia (up to 50%) dominated by fossil energy sources (papers II, III, IV). Fossil fraction in WSOC in the outflow from northern China is considerably larger than what has been measured in South Asia, Europe and USA (paper IV). A trend of enrichment in heavy stable carbon isotopes in WSOC with distance the particles have been transported from the source is observed in the South Asian region (papers II, III). Dual-isotope (Δ14C and δ13C) analysis demonstrates that WSOC is highly influenced by atmospheric aging processes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Applied Environmental Science (ITM), Stockholm Univeristy, 2013. 37 p.
Keyword
atmospheric aerosols, water-soluble organic carbon, carbon isotopes, South Asia, East Asia, source apportionment, aerosol aging
National Category
Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Applied Environmental Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-89161 (URN)978-91-7447-696-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-05-30, De Geersalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 3: Manuscript. Paper 4: Submitted.

Available from: 2013-05-08 Created: 2013-04-15 Last updated: 2013-04-16Bibliographically approved

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