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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-106
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-106
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 01 Apr 2019

Research article | 01 Apr 2019

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This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Modeling the aging process of black carbon during atmospheric transport using a new approach: a case study in Beijing

Yuxuan Zhang1,2, Meng Li2, Yafang Cheng2, Guannan Geng3, Chaopeng Hong4, Haiyan Li1, Xin Li1, Dan Tong4, Nana Wu1, Xin Zhang1, Bo Zheng5, Yixuan Zheng6, Yu Bo1,7, Hang Su2, and Qiang Zhang1 Yuxuan Zhang et al.
  • 1Department of Earth System Science, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
  • 2Multiphase Chemistry Department, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Mainz 55128, Germany
  • 3Department of Environmental Health, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA
  • 4Department of Earth System Science, University of California, Irvine, California 92697, USA
  • 5Laboratoire des Sciences du Climate et de l'Environnement LSCE, Batiment 706, Pte 25, Orme de Merisiers, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
  • 6Department of Global Ecology, Carnegie Institution for Science, CA, 94305, USA
  • 7RCE-TEA, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Science, Beijing, 100029, China

Abstract. The effect of black carbon (BC) on air quality and the climate is still unclear, which is partly because of the poor understanding regarding the BC aging process in the atmosphere. In this work, we developed a new approach to simulate the BC mixing state (i.e., other species coated on the BC surface) based on an emissions inventory and back-trajectory analysis. The model tracks the evolution of the BC aging degree (characterized by the ratio of the whole particle size and BC core) during atmospheric transport. Using the models, we quantified the mass-averaged aging degree of total BC particles transported to a receptor (e.g., an observation site) from various emission origins (i.e., 0.25° × 0.25° grids). The simulations showed good agreement with the field measurements, which validated our model calculation. Modeling the aging process of BC during atmospheric transport showed that it strongly dependent on emission levels. BC particles from extensive emission origins (i.e., polluted regions) were characterized by a higher aging degree during atmospheric transport due to more co-emitted coating precursors. On the other hand, high-emission regions also controlled the aging process of BC particles that were emitted from cleaner regions and passed through these polluted regions during atmospheric transport. The simulations identified the important roles of extensive emission regions in the BC aging process during atmospheric transport, implying the enhanced contributions of extensive emission regions to BC light absorption. This revealed that emission reductions in polluted regions could achieve more benefits for improving air pollution and climate change. Emission reductions in polluted regions not only decreased the aging degree of BC emitted from these regions but also reduced the aging process of BC emitted from other origins during atmospheric transport. Moreover, emissions reduction in polluted regions may be more efficient in counteract the suppression of planetary boundary layer (PBL) by BC particles (e.g., Zdunkowski et al., 1976; Jacobson, 1998; Wendisch et al., 2008; Barbaro et al., 2013; Ding et al., 2016; Wang et al., 2018), because a greater decrease in the BC aging degree during atmospheric transport would weaken the light absorption capability of BC in the upper PBL. The simulation of the BC aging degree during atmospheric transport provided more clues for improving air pollution and climate change.

Yuxuan Zhang et al.
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Short summary
In this work, we developed a new approach to simulate BC mixing state based on an emissions inventory and back-trajectory analysis. The model tracks the evolution of BC aging degree during atmospheric transport. Our simulations identified the important roles of extensive emission regions in BC aging process during atmospheric transport, which provided more clues for improving air pollution and climate change.
In this work, we developed a new approach to simulate BC mixing state based on an emissions...
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