Articles | Volume 12, issue 5
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 12, 2381–2397, 2012

Special issue: Haze in China (HaChi 2009–2010)

Atmos. Chem. Phys., 12, 2381–2397, 2012

Research article 02 Mar 2012

Research article | 02 Mar 2012

A new method to determine the mixing state of light absorbing carbonaceous using the measured aerosol optical properties and number size distributions

N. Ma1, C. S. Zhao1, T. Müller2, Y. F. Cheng3, P. F. Liu1, Z. Z. Deng4, W. Y. Xu1, L. Ran1, B. Nekat2, D. van Pinxteren2, T. Gnauk2, K. Müller2, H. Herrmann2, P. Yan5, X. J. Zhou1,5, and A. Wiedensohler2 N. Ma et al.
  • 1Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, School of Physics, Peking University, Beijing, China
  • 2Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric research, Leipzig, Germany
  • 3College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Peking University, Beijing, China
  • 4Key Laboratory of Middle Atmosphere and Global Environment Observation, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
  • 5Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences of CMA, Beijing, China

Abstract. In this paper, the mixing state of light absorbing carbonaceous (LAC) was investigated with a two-parameter aerosol optical model and in situ aerosol measurements at a regional site in the North China Plain (NCP). A closure study between the hemispheric backscattering fraction (HBF) measured by an integrating nephelometer and that calculated with a modified Mie model was conducted. A new method was proposed to retrieve the ratio of the externally mixed LAC mass to the total mass of LAC (rext-LAC) based on the assumption that the ambient aerosol particles were externally mixed and consisted of a pure LAC material and a core-shell morphology in which the core is LAC and the shell is a less absorbing material. A Monte Carlo simulation was applied to estimate the overall influences of input parameters of the algorithm to the retrieved rext-LAC. The diurnal variation of rext-LAC was analyzed and the PartMC-MOSAIC model was used to simulate the variation of the aerosol mixing state. Results show that, for internally mixed particles, the assumption of core-shell mixture is more appropriate than that of homogenous mixture which has been widely used in aerosol optical calculations. A significant diurnal pattern of the retrieved rext-LAC was found, with high values during the daytime and low values at night. The consistency between the retrieved rext-LAC and the model results indicates that the diurnal variation of LAC mixing state is mainly caused by the diurnal evolution of the mixing layer.

Final-revised paper