Articles | Volume 13, issue 18
Research article
17 Sep 2013
Research article |  | 17 Sep 2013

Relating aerosol absorption due to soot, organic carbon, and dust to emission sources determined from in-situ chemical measurements

A. Cazorla, R. Bahadur, K. J. Suski, J. F. Cahill, D. Chand, B. Schmid, V. Ramanathan, and K. A. Prather

Abstract. Estimating the aerosol contribution to the global or regional radiative forcing can take advantage of the relationship between the spectral aerosol optical properties and the size and chemical composition of aerosol. Long term global optical measurements from observational networks or satellites can be used in such studies. Using in-situ chemical mixing state measurements can help us to constrain the limitations of such estimates.

In this study, the Absorption Ångström Exponent (AAE) and the Scattering Ångström Exponent (SAE) derived from 10 operational AERONET sites in California are combined for deducing chemical speciation based on wavelength dependence of the optical properties. In addition, in-situ optical properties and single particle chemical composition measured during three aircraft field campaigns in California between 2010 and 2011 are combined in order to validate the methodology used for the estimates of aerosol chemistry using spectral optical properties.

Results from this study indicate a dominance of mixed types in the classification leading to an underestimation of the primary sources, however secondary sources are better classified. The distinction between carbonaceous aerosols from fossil fuel and biomass burning origins is not clear, since their optical properties are similar. On the other hand, knowledge of the aerosol sources in California from chemical studies help to identify other misclassification such as the dust contribution.

Final-revised paper