Aerosol light absorption in a coastal city in Southeast China: Temporal variations and implications for brown carbon

Yuqing Qiu , Xin Wu , Yanru Zhang , Lingling Xu , Youwei Hong , Jinsheng Chen , Xiaoqiu Chen , Junjun Deng


Received August 03, 2018,Revised , Accepted January 03, 2019, Available online January 14, 2019

Volume 31,2019,Pages 257-266

Light-absorbing carbonaceous aerosols including black carbon (BC) and brown carbon (BrC) play significant roles in atmospheric radiative properties. One-year measurements of aerosol light absorption at multi-wavelength were continuously conducted in Xiamen, southeast of China in 2014 to determine the light absorption properties including absorption coefficients (σabs) and absorption Ångström exponent (AAE) in the coastal city. Light absorptions of BC and BrC with their contributions to total light absorption were further quantified. Mean σabs at 370 nm and 880 nm were 56.6 ± 34.3 and 16.5 ± 11.2 Mm 1, respectively. σabs presented a double-peaks diurnal pattern with the maximum in the morning and the minimum in the afternoon. σabs was low in warm seasons and high in cold seasons. AAE ranged from 0.26 to 2.58 with the annual mean of 1.46, implying that both fossil fuel combustion and biomass burning influenced aerosol optical properties. σabs of BrC at 370 nm was 24.0 ± 5.7 Mm 1, contributing 42% to the total absorption. The highest AAE (1.52 ± 0.02) and largest BrC contributions (47% ± 4%) in winter suggested the significant influence of biomass burning on aerosol light absorption. Long-distance air masses passing through North China Plain and the Yangtze River Delta led to high AAE and BrC contributions. High AAE value of 1.46 in July indicated that long-range transport of the air pollutants from intense biomass burning in Southeast Asia would affect aerosol light absorption in Southeast China. The study will improve the understanding of light absorption properties of aerosols and the optical impacts of BrC in China.

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