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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-385
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-385
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 14 Jun 2019

Research article | 14 Jun 2019

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

Role of black carbons mass size distribution in the direct aerosol radiative forcing

Gang Zhao1, Jiangchuan Tao2, Ye Kuang2, Chuanyang Shen1, Yingli Yu1, and Chunsheng Zhao1 Gang Zhao et al.
  • 1Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, School of Physics, Peking University, Beijing, China
  • 2Institute for Environmental and Climate Research, Jinan University, Guangzhou 511443, China

Abstract. Large uncertainties exist when estimating radiative effects of ambient black carbon (BC) aerosol. Previous studies about the BC aerosol radiative forcing mainly focus on the BC aerosols’ mass concentrations and mixing states, while the effects of BC mass size distribution (BCMSD) were not well considered. In this paper, we developed a method by measuring the BCMSD by using a differential mobility analyzer in tandem with an aethalometer. A comprehensive method of multiple charging corrections is proposed and implemented in measuring the BCMSD. Good agreement is obtained between the BC mass concentration integrated from this system and that measured in bulk phase, demonstrating the reliability of our proposed method. Characteristics of the BCMSD and corresponding radiative effects are studied based on field measurements conducted in the North China Plain by using our own designed measurement system. Results show that the BCMSD have two modes and the mean peak diameters of the two modes are 150 nm and 503 nm respectively. The BCMSD of coarser mode varies significantly under different pollution conditions with peak diameter varying between 430 nm and 580 nm, which gives rise to significant variation in aerosol buck optical properties. The aerosol direct aerosol radiative forcing is estimated to vary by 22.5 % for different measured BCMSDs, which shares the same magnitude to the variation associated with assuming different aerosol mixing states (21.5 %). Our study reveals that the BCMSD matters as well as their mixing state in estimating the direct aerosol radiative forcing. Knowledge of the BCMSD should be fully considered in climate models.

Gang Zhao et al.
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Short summary
Characteristics of the black carbon size distribution (BCMSD) are studied by using our developed measurement system. Results show that the BCMSD have two modes and the mean peak diameters are 150 nm and 503 nm respectively. The coarser mode varies significantly under different pollution conditions, which gives rise to significant variation in aerosol buck optical properties. Our study reveals that the BCMSD matters as well as their mixing state in estimating aerosol radiative forcing.
Characteristics of the black carbon size distribution (BCMSD) are studied by using our developed...
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