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Chen, SJ, Russell LM, Cappa CD, Zhang XL, Kleeman MJ, Kumar A, Liu D, Ramanathana V.  2019.  Comparing black and brown carbon absorption from AERONET and surface measurements at wintertime Fresno. Atmospheric Environment. 199:164-176.   10.1016/j.atmosenv.2018.11.032   AbstractWebsite

The radiative impacts of black carbon (BC) and brown carbon (BrC) are widely recognized but remain highly uncertain. The Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET) provides measurements of aerosol optical depth (AOD), aerosol absorption optical depth (AAOD), and other parameters. AERONET AAOD measurements have been used to estimate the relative contributions of BC and BrC to the total absorption at select sites and have the potential to be used across the global network, but the accuracy of the partitioning method has not been established and the uncertainties not characterized. We made surface-level measurements of aerosol optical properties from January 13 to February 10, 2013, and from December 25, 2014, to January 13, 2015, at Fresno, California. The contribution of BrC and BC to the absorption at 405 nm was estimated from the surface-level measurements using a combined mass absorption coefficient and thermodenuder method. The surface-level measurements were compared with BC and BrC absorption at 440 nm estimated from AERONET measurements of the absolute AAOD and the absorption angstrom ngstrom exponent (AERONET-AAE method). In 2013, AERONET results showed that BC and BrC contributed 67% and 33%, respectively, of absorption at 440 nm while the surface-level measurements showed that BC and BrC contributed 89% and 11%, respectively, of absorption at 405 nm. In 2014, AERONET results showed BC and BrC absorption were 72% and 28%, respectively, and the BC and BrC surface measurements were 68% and 32%, respectively. The boundary layer conditions showed that the comparison between AERONET measurements and surface-based estimates was more appropriate in 2014 than in 2013. As a result, AERONET measurements and surface-based estimates had strong or moderate correlations and slopes near unity in 2014. Thus, surface measurements were more representative of column BC and BrC absorption in 2014.

Novakov, T, Ramanathan V, Hansen JE, Kirchstetter TW, Sato M, Sinton JE, Sathaye JA.  2003.  Large historical changes of fossil-fuel black carbon aerosols. Geophysical Research Letters. 30   10.1029/2002gl016345   AbstractWebsite

Anthropogenic emissions of fine black carbon (BC) particles, the principal light-absorbing atmospheric aerosol, have varied during the past century in response to changes of fossil-fuel utilization, technology developments, and emission controls. We estimate historical trends of fossil-fuel BC emissions in six regions that represent about two-thirds of present day emissions and extrapolate these to global emissions from 1875 onward. Qualitative features in these trends show rapid increase in the latter part of the 1800s, the leveling off in the first half of the 1900s, and the re-acceleration in the past 50 years as China and India developed. We find that historical changes of fuel utilization have caused large temporal change in aerosol absorption, and thus substantial change of aerosol single scatter albedo in some regions, which suggests that BC may have contributed to global temperature changes in the past century. This implies that the BC history needs to be represented realistically in climate change assessments.

Stone, EA, Schauer JJ, Pradhan BB, Dangol PM, Habib G, Venkataraman C, Ramanathan V.  2010.  Characterization of emissions from South Asian biofuels and application to source apportionment of carbonaceous aerosol in the Himalayas. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. 115   10.1029/2009jd011881   AbstractWebsite

This study focuses on improving source apportionment of carbonaceous aerosol in South Asia and consists of three parts: (1) development of novel molecular marker-based profiles for real-world biofuel combustion, (2) application of these profiles to a year-long data set, and (3) evaluation of profiles by an in-depth sensitivity analysis. Emissions profiles for biomass fuels were developed through source testing of a residential stove commonly used in South Asia. Wood fuels were combusted at high and low rates, which corresponded to source profiles high in organic carbon (OC) or high in elemental carbon (EC), respectively. Crop wastes common to the region, including rice straw, mustard stalk, jute stalk, soybean stalk, and animal residue burnings, were also characterized. Biofuel profiles were used in a source apportionment study of OC and EC in Godavari, Nepal. This site is located in the foothills of the Himalayas and was selected for its well- mixed and regionally impacted air masses. At Godavari, daily samples of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) were collected throughout the year of 2006, and the annual trends in particulate mass, OC, and EC followed the occurrence of a regional haze in South Asia. Maximum concentrations occurred during the dry winter season and minimum concentrations occurred during the summer monsoon season. Specific organic compounds unique to aerosol sources, molecular markers, were measured in monthly composite samples. These markers implicated motor vehicles, coal combustion, biomass burning, cow dung burning, vegetative detritus, and secondary organic aerosol as sources of carbonaceous aerosol. A molecular marker-based chemical mass balance (CMB) model provided a quantitative assessment of primary source contributions to carbonaceous aerosol. The new profiles were compared to widely used biomass burning profiles from the literature in a sensitivity analysis. This analysis indicated a high degree of stability in estimates of source contributions to OC when different biomass profiles were used. The majority of OC was unapportioned to primary sources and was estimated to be of secondary origin, while biomass combustion was the next-largest source of OC. The CMB apportionment of EC to primary sources was unstable due to the diversity of biomass burning conditions in the region. The model results suggested that biomass burning and fossil fuel were important contributors to EC, but could not reconcile their relative contributions.