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Light absorption of black carbon and brown carbon in winter in North China Plain: comparisons between urban and rural sites

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Su,  Hang
Multiphase Chemistry, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Cheng,  Yafang
Multiphase Chemistry, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Sun, J., Xiea, C., Xu, W., Chen, C., Ma, N., Xu, W., et al. (2021). Light absorption of black carbon and brown carbon in winter in North China Plain: comparisons between urban and rural sites. Science of the Total Environment, 770: 144821. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.144821.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0008-1FB4-B
Abstract
The light absorption black carbon (BC) and brown carbon (BrC) are two important sources of uncertainties in radiative forcing estimate. Here we investigated the light absorption enhancement (Eabs) of BC due to coated materials at an urban (Beijing) and a rural site (Gucheng) in North China Plain (NCP) in winter 2019 by using a photoacoustic extinctiometer coupled with a thermodenuder. Our results showed that the average (±1σ) Eabs was 1.32 (±0.15) at the rural site, which was slightly higher than that at the urban site (1.24 ± 0.15). The dependence of Eabs on coating materials was found to be relatively limited at both sites. However, Eabs presented considerable increases as a function of relative humidity below 70%. Further analysis showed that Eabs during non-heating period in Beijing was mainly caused by secondary components, while it was dominantly contributed by enhanced primary emissions in heating season at both sites. In particular, aerosol particles mixed with coal combustion emissions had a large impact on Eabs (>1.40), while the fresh traffic emissions and freshly oxidized secondary OA (SOA) had limited Eabs (1.00–1.23). Although highly aged or aqueous-phase processed SOA coated on BC showed the largest Eabs, their contributions to the bulk absorption enhancement were generally small. We also quantified the absorption of BrC and source contributions. The results showed the BrC absorption at the rural site was nearly twice that of urban site, yet absorption Ångström exponents were similar. Multiple linear regression analysis highlighted the major sources of BrC being coal combustion emissions and photochemical SOA at both sites with additional biomass burning at the rural site. Overall, our results demonstrated the relatively limited winter light absorption enhancement of BC in different chemical environments in NCP, which needs be considered in regional climate models to improve BC radiative forcing estimates.