Proportional relationships between carbonaceous aerosols and trace gases in city plumes of Europe and East Asia

Deroubaix, Adrien; Vountas, Marco; Gaubert, Benjamin; Andrés Hernández, Maria Dolores; Borrmann, Stephan; Brasseur, Guy; Holanda, Bruna; Kanaya, Yugo; Kaiser, Katharina; Kluge, Flora; Krüger, Ovid Oktavian; Labuhn, Inga; Lichtenstern, Michael; Pfeilsticker, Klaus; Pöhlker, Mira; Schlager, Hans; Schneider, Johannes; Siour, Guillaume; Swain, Basudev; Tuccella, Paolo; Vinjamuri, Kameswara S.; Vrekoussis, Mihalis; Weyland, Benjamin; Burrows, John P.

The concentration of carbonaceous aerosols, black carbon (BC) and organic aerosol (OA), in the atmosphere is related to co-emitted or co-produced trace gases. In this study, we investigate the most relevant proportional relationships between both BC and OA with the following trace gases: carbon monoxide (CO), formaldehyde (HCHO), nitrogen dioxide (NO 2), ozone (O 3), and sulfur dioxide (SO 2). One motivation for selecting these trace gases is that they can be observed using remote sensing measurements from satellite instrumentation, and could therefore be used to predict spatial changes in the amounts of BC and OA.

Airborne measurements are optimal for the analysis of both the composition of aerosols and trace gases in different environments ranging from unpolluted oceanic air masses to those in heavily polluted city plumes. The two aircraft campaigns of the EMeRGe (Effect of Megacities on the Transport and Transformation of Pollutants on the Regional to Global Scales) project have created a unique database, with flight plans dedicated to studying city plumes in two regions, Europe (2017) and East Asia (2018), along with identical instrumental payload.

Using linear regression analysis, three relevant relationships between carbonaceous aerosol and trace gases are identified:

- The BC/OA ratio observed in the Asian campaign is three times higher (≈ 0.3) than in the European campaign (≈ 0.1), whereas the Pearson correlation coefficient (R) between BC and OA is much higher in Europe (R ≈ 0.8) than in Asia (R ≈ 0.6).

- The CO/BC ratio is also observed higher in the Asian campaign (≈ 240) than in the European campaign (≈ 170), whereas the R-value between CO and BC is similar for both campaigns (R ≈ 0.7).

- The HCHO/OA ratio is similar in both campaigns (≈0.32), but the observed R-values between HCHO and OA is higher in Europe than in the Asia (R ≈ 0.7 compared to ≈ 0.3).

By focusing on heavily polluted air masses sampled downwind in the city plumes, the ratios between the observed carbonaceous aerosols and the five trace gases change, and the R-values increase with O3 for both BC and OA (R ≈ 0.5).

To assess the performance of atmospheric models with respect to the most relevant observed relationships, an air quality model ensemble is used to represent the current state of atmospheric modeling, consisting of two global and two regional simulations. The evaluation shows that these proportional relationships are not satisfactorily reproduced by the model ensemble. The relationships between BC and OA or between CO and BC are modeled with stronger correlations than the observed ones, and their higher ratios observed in Asia compared to Europe are not reproduced. Furthermore, the modeled HCHO/OA ratio is underestimated in the Asian campaign and overestimated in the European campaign.

This analysis of the proportional relationships between carbonaceous aerosols and trace gases implies that the observed relationships can be used to constrain models and improve anthropogenic emission inventories. In addition, it implies that information about the lower tropospheric concentration of carbonaceous aerosols can potentially be inferred from satellite retrievals of trace gases, particularly in the plumes from megacities.



Deroubaix, Adrien / Vountas, Marco / Gaubert, Benjamin / et al: Proportional relationships between carbonaceous aerosols and trace gases in city plumes of Europe and East Asia. 2024. Copernicus Publications.


12 Monate:

Grafik öffnen


Rechteinhaber: Adrien Deroubaix et al.

Nutzung und Vervielfältigung: