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Discussion papers | Copyright
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2018-159
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 13 Apr 2018

Research article | 13 Apr 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Production of particulate brown carbon during atmospheric aging of wood-burning emissions

Nivedita K. Kumar1, Joel C. Corbin1,a, Emily A. Bruns1, Dario Massabó2, Jay G. Slowik1, Luka Drinovec3,4, Griša Močnik3,4, Paolo Prati2, Athanasia Vlachou1, Urs Baltensperger1, Martin Gysel1, Imad El-Haddad1, and André S. H. Prévôt1 Nivedita K. Kumar et al.
  • 1Laboratory of Atmospheric Chemistry, Paul Scherrer Institute, 5232 Villigen, Switzerland
  • 2Department of Physics & INFN, University of Genoa, via Dodecaneso 33, 16146, Genova, Italy
  • 3Aerosol d.o.o, Kamniška 41, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • 4Condensed Matter Physics, Jožef Stefan Institute, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • anow at: National Research Council Canada, Ottawa, Canada

Abstract. We investigate the optical properties of light-absorbing organic carbon (brown carbon) from domestic wood combustion as a function of simulated atmospheric aging. At shorter wavelengths, light absorption by brown carbon from primary organic aerosol (POA) and secondary organic aerosol (SOA) formed during aging was around 10% and 20%, respectively, of the total aerosol absorption (brown carbon plus black carbon). The mass absorption cross-section (MAC) determined for black carbon (BC, 13.7m2g−1 (geometric standard deviation GSD=1.1) at 370nm) was consistent with that recommended by Bond et al. (2006). The corresponding MAC of POA (5.5m2g−1 (GSD=1.2)) was higher than that of SOA (2.4m2g−1 (GSD=1.3)) at 370nm. However, SOA presents a substantial mass fraction, with a measured average SOA/POA mass ratio after aging of ~5 and therefore contributes significantly to the overall light absorption, highlighting the importance of wood-combustion SOA as a source of atmospheric brown carbon. The wavelength dependence of POA and SOA light absorption between 370nm and 660nm is well described with absorption Ångström exponents of 4.6 and 5.6, respectively. UV-visible absorbance measurements of water and methanol-extracted OA were also performed showing that the majority of the light-absorbing OA is water insoluble even after aging.

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Short summary
It is clear that considerable uncertainties still exist in understanding the magnitude of aerosol absorption on a global scale and its contribution to global warming. This manuscript provides a comprehensive assessment of the optical absorption by organic aerosols (brown carbon) from domestic wood combustion as a function of atmospheric aging.
It is clear that considerable uncertainties still exist in understanding the magnitude of...
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