Source apportionment of black carbon aerosols from light absorption observation and source-oriented modeling: an implication in a coastal city in China

Deng, Junjun; Guo, Hao; Zhang, Hongliang; Zhu, Jialei; Wang, Xin; Fu, Pingqing

Black carbon (BC) is the most important light-absorbing aerosol in the atmosphere. However, sources of atmospheric BC aerosols are largely uncertain, making it difficult to assess its influence on radiative forcing and climate change. In this study, year-round light-absorption observations were conducted during 2014 using an aethalometer in Xiamen, a coastal city in Southeast China. Source apportionment of BC was performed and temporal variations in BC sources were characterized based on both light absorption measurements and a source-oriented air quality model. The annual average concentrations of BC from fossil fuel (BCinline-formulaff) and biomass burning (BCinline-formulabb) by the aethalometer method were 2932 inline-formula± 1444 ng minline-formula−3 and 1340 inline-formula± 542 ng minline-formula−3, contributing 66.7 % and 33.3 % to total BC, respectively. A sensitivity analysis was performed with different absorption Ångström exponent (AAE) values of fossil fuel combustion (inline-formulaαff) and biomass burning (inline-formulaαbb), suggesting that the aethalometer method was more sensitive to changes in inline-formulaαbb than inline-formulaαff. BCinline-formulabb contribution exhibited a clear diurnal cycle, with the highest level (37.9 %) in the evening rush hour and a seasonal pattern with the maximum (39.9 %) in winter. Conditional probability function (CPF) analysis revealed the large biomass-burning contributions were accompanied by east-northeasterly and northerly winds. Backward trajectory indicated that air masses from North and East–Central China were associated with larger biomass-burning contributions. Potential source contribution function (PSCF) and concentration-weighted trajectory (CWT) suggested that North and East–Central China and Southeast Asia were potential sources of both BCinline-formulaff and BCinline-formulabb. The source-oriented modeling results showed that transportation, residential and open biomass burning accounting for 45.3 %, 30.1 % and 17.6 % were the major BC sources. Among the three fuel catalogs, liquid fossil fuel (46.5 %) was the largest source, followed by biomass burning (32.6 %) and coal combustion (20.9 %). Source contributions of fossil fuel combustion and biomass burning identified by the source-oriented model were 67.4 % and 32.6 %, respectively, close to those obtained by the aethalometer method. The findings provide solid support for controlling fossil fuel sources to limit the impacts of BC on climate change and environmental degradation in the relatively clean region in China.



Deng, Junjun / Guo, Hao / Zhang, Hongliang / et al: Source apportionment of black carbon aerosols from light absorption observation and source-oriented modeling: an implication in a coastal city in China. 2020. Copernicus Publications.


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