Time-resolved measurements of black carbon light absorption enhancement in urban and near-urban locations of Southern Ontario, Canada
1ASTB/STB Environment Canada, 335 River Road South, Ottawa, Ontario, K1V 0H3, Canada
2ASTB/STB Environment Canada, 4905 Dufferin Street, Toronto, Ontario, M3H 5T4, Canada
3National Research Council Canada, 1200 Montreal Road, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0R6, Canada
Abstract. In this study a photoacoustic spectrometer (PA), a laser-induced incandescence instrument system (LII) and an aerosol mass spectrometer were operated in parallel for in situ measurements of black carbon (BC) light absorption enhancement. Results of a thermodenuder experiment using ambient particles in Toronto are presented first to show that LII measurements of BC are not influenced by particle coating while the PA response is enhanced and also that the nature of this enhancement is influenced by particle morphology. Comparisons of ambient PA and LII measurements at four different locations (suburban Toronto; a street canyon with heavy diesel bus traffic in Ottawa; adjacent to a commuter highway in Ottawa and; regional background air in and around Windsor, Ontario), show that the different meteorological conditions and atmospheric processes result in different particle light absorption enhancement and hence the specific attenuation coefficient (SAC). Depending upon location of measurement and the BC spherule diameter (primary particle size – PPS) measurement from the LII, the SAC varies from 2.6±0.04 to 22.5±0.7 m2 g−1. Observations from this study also show the active surface area of the BC aggregate, inferred from PPS, is an important parameter for inferring the degree of particle collapse of a BC particle. The predictability of the overall BC light absorption enhancement in the atmosphere depends not only on the coating mass but also on the source of the BC and on our ability to predict or measure the change in particle morphology as particles evolve.