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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
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Research article
14 May 2018
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).
Effects of mixing state on optical and radiative properties of black carbon in the European Arctic
Marco Zanatta1,2,a, Paolo Laj1,3,4, Martin Gysel2, Urs Baltensperger2, Stergios Vratolis5, Kostas Eleftheriadis5, Yutaka Kondo6, Philippe Dubuisson7, Victor Winiarek7, Stelios Kazadzis8, Peter Tunved9, and Hans-Werner Jacobi1 1Univ. Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, IRD, Grenoble INP, Institute for Geosciences and Environmental Research (IGE), 38000 Grenoble, France
2Laboratory of Atmospheric Chemistry, Paul Scherrer Institute, 5232 Villigen PSI, Switzerland
3Division of Atmospheric Science, Department of Physics, University of Helsinki, 00014, Helsinki, Finland
4Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate of the National Research Council of Italy, Bologna, Italy
5ERL, Demokritos National Center of Scientific Research, Institute of Nuclear Technology and Radiation Protection, Attiki, Greece
6Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
7Laboratoire d'Opt ique Atmosphérique, Université Lille, 59 655 Lille, France
8Physikalisch-Meteorologisches Observatorium Davos, World Radiation Center (PMOD/WRC), 7260 Davos Dorf, Switzerland
9Department of Applied Environmental Science, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
anow at: Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI), Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, Germany
Abstract. Atmospheric aging promotes internal mixing of black carbon (BC) leading to an enhancement of light absorption and radiative forcing. The relationship between BC mixing state and consequent absorption enhancement was never estimated for BC found in the Arctic region. In the present work, we aim to quantify the absorption enhancement and its impact on radiative forcing as a function of microphysical properties and mixing state of BC observed in-situ at the Zeppelin Arctic station (78° N) in the spring of 2012 during the CLIMSLIP (Climate impacts of short-lived pollutants in the Arctic) project.

Single particle soot photometer (SP2) measurements showed a mean mass concentration of refractory black carbon (rBC) of 39 ng m−3, while the rBC mass size distribution was of log-normal shape peaking at an rBC mass equivalent diameter (DrBC) of around 240 nm. On average, the number fraction of particles containing a BC core with DrBC > 80 nm was less than 5 % in the size range (overall optical particle diameter) from 150–500 nm. The BC cores were internally mixed with other particulate matter. The median coating thickness of BC cores with 220 nm < DrBC < 260 nm was 52 nm, resulting in a core-shell diameter ratio of 1.4, assuming a coated sphere morphology. Combining the aerosol absorption coefficient observed with an aethalometer and the rBC mass concentration from the SP2, a mass absorption cross-section (MAC) of 9.8 m2 g−1 was inferred at a wavelength of 550 nm. Consistent with direct observation, a similar MAC value (8.4 m2 g−1 at 550 nm) was obtained indirectly by using Mie theory and assuming a coated-sphere morphology with the BC mixing state constrained from the SP2 measurements. According to these calculations, the lensing effect is estimated to cause a 54 % enhancement of the MAC compared to that of bare BC particles with equal BC core size distribution. Finally, the ARTDECO radiative transfer model was used to estimate the sensitivity of the radiative balance to changes in light absorption by BC as a result of varying degree of internal mixing at constant total BC mass. The clear sky noon-time aerosol radiative forcing over a surface with assumed wavelength-dependent albedo of 0.76–0.89 decreased, when ignoring the absorption enhancement, by −0.12 W m−2 compared to the base case scenario, which was constrained with mean observed aerosol properties for the Zeppelin site in Artic spring. The exact magnitude of this forcing difference scales with environmental conditions such as the aerosol optical depth, solar zenith angle, and surface albedo. Nevertheless, our investigation suggests that the absorption enhancement due to internal mixing of BC, which is a systematic effect, should be considered for quantifying the aerosol radiative forcing in the Arctic region.

Citation: Zanatta, M., Laj, P., Gysel, M., Baltensperger, U., Vratolis, S., Eleftheriadis, K., Kondo, Y., Dubuisson, P., Winiarek, V., Kazadzis, S., Tunved, P., and Jacobi, H.-W.: Effects of mixing state on optical and radiative properties of black carbon in the European Arctic, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss.,, in review, 2018.
Marco Zanatta et al.
Marco Zanatta et al.
Marco Zanatta et al.


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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
In the last two decades, the Arctic has been warming faster than any other locations on the planet. The research community aims to understand if soot particles represent one of the main atmospheric drivers of Arctic warming. With our work, we discovered that mixing of soot with other components might enhance its light absorption power by 50 %. Such results can be implemented in radiative models to finally quantify the role of soot as climatic forcer in high latitudes.
In the last two decades, the Arctic has been warming faster than any other locations on the...