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Light absorption properties and potential sources of particulate brown carbon in the Pearl River Delta region of China
Li, Zhujie1,2,7; Tan, Haobo2,3; Zheng, Jun1; Liu, Li2,4; Qin, Yiming5,8; Wang, Nan2; Li, Fei2; Li, Yongjie6; Cai, Mingfu4; Ma, Yan1; Chan, Chak K.5
Source PublicationAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics

Brown carbon (BrC) is a special type of organic aerosol (OA), capable of absorbing solar radiation from nearultraviolet (UV) to visible wavelengths, which may lead to an increased aerosol radiative effect in the atmosphere. While high concentrations of OAs have been observed in the Pearl River Delta (PRD) region of China, the optical properties and corresponding radiative forcing of BrC in the PRD are still not well understood. In this work, we conducted a set of comprehensive measurements of atmospheric particulate matter from 29 November 2014 to 2 January 2015 to investigate aerosol compositions, optical properties, source origins, and radiative forcing effects at a suburban station in Guangzhou. The particle absorption Ångström exponent (AAE) was deduced and utilized to distinguish light absorption by BrC from that by black carbon (BC). The results showed that the average absorption contributions of BrC were 34:1±8:0% at 370 nm, 23:7±7:3% at 470 nm, 16:0±6:7% at 520 nm, 13:0±5:4% at 590 nm, and 8:7±4:3% at 660 nm. A sensitivity analysis of the evaluation of the absorption Ångström exponent of BC (AAEBC/ was conducted based on the Mie theory calculation assuming that the BC-containing aerosol was mixed with the core-shell and external configurations. The corresponding uncertainty in AAEBC was acquired. We found that variations in the imaginary refractive index (RI) of the BC core can significantly affect the estimation of AAEBC. However, AAEBC was relatively less sensitive to the real part of the RI of the BC core and was least sensitive to the real part of the RI of the non-light-absorbing shell. BrC absorption was closely related to aerosol potassium cation content (KC), a common tracer of biomass burning emissions, which was most likely associated with straw burning in the rural area of the western PRD. Diurnal variation in BrC absorption revealed that primary organic aerosols had a larger BrC absorption capacity than secondary organic aerosols (SOAs). Radiative transfer simulations showed that BrC absorption may cause 2:3±1:8Wm radiative forcing at the top of the atmosphere (TOA) and contribute to 15:8±4:4% of the aerosol warming effect. A chart was constructed to conveniently assess the BrC radiative forcing efficiency in the studied area with reference to certain aerosol single-scattering albedo (SSA) and BrC absorption contributions at various wavelengths. Evidently, the BrC radiative forcing efficiency was higher at shorter wavelengths.

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Indexed BySCIE
Scopus ID2-s2.0-85072534438
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Cited Times [WOS]:17   [WOS Record]     [Related Records in WOS]
Document TypeJournal article
Affiliation1.Collaborative Innovation Center of Atmospheric Environment and Equipment Technology, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, Nanjing, China
2.Key Laboratory of Regional Numerical Weather Prediction, Institute of Tropical and Marine Meteorology, China Meteorological Administration, Guangzhou, China
3.Foshan Meteorological Service of Guangdong, Foshan, Guangdong, 528010, China
4.Department of Atmospheric Science, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China
5.School of Energy and Environment, City University of Hong Kong SAR, Hong Kong
6.Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Science and Technology, University of Macau, Macao
7.Emergency Early Warning Release and Weather Modification Center of Guangdong, Guangzhou, 510080, China
8.School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, United States
Recommended Citation
GB/T 7714
Li, Zhujie,Tan, Haobo,Zheng, Jun,et al. Light absorption properties and potential sources of particulate brown carbon in the Pearl River Delta region of China[J]. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics,2019,19(18):11669-11685.
APA Li, Zhujie,Tan, Haobo,Zheng, Jun,Liu, Li,Qin, Yiming,Wang, Nan,Li, Fei,Li, Yongjie,Cai, Mingfu,Ma, Yan,&Chan, Chak K..(2019).Light absorption properties and potential sources of particulate brown carbon in the Pearl River Delta region of China.Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics,19(18),11669-11685.
MLA Li, Zhujie,et al."Light absorption properties and potential sources of particulate brown carbon in the Pearl River Delta region of China".Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 19.18(2019):11669-11685.
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