02 Dec 2020

02 Dec 2020

Review status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Strong Light Absorption Induced by Aged Biomass Burning Black Carbon over the Southeastern Tibetan Plateau in Pre-monsoon Season

Tianyi Tan, Min Hu, Zhuofei Du, Gang Zhao, Dongjie Shang, Jing Zheng, Yanhong Qin, Mengren Li, Yusheng Wu, Limin Zeng, Song Guo, and Zhijun Wu Tianyi Tan et al.
  • State Key Joint Laboratory of Environmental Simulation and Pollution Control, International Joint Laboratory for Regional Pollution Control, Ministry of Education (IJRC), College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Peking University, Beijing, 100871, China

Abstract. During the pre-monsoon season, biomass burning (BB) activities are intensive in southern Asia. Facilitated by westerly circulation, those BB plumes can be transported to the Tibetan Plateau (TP). Black carbon (BC), the main aerosol species in BB emissions, is an important climate warming agent, and its absorbing property strongly depends on its size distribution and mixing state. To elucidate the influence of those transported BB plumes on the TP, a field campaign was conducted on the southeast edge of the TP during the pre-monsoon season. It was found that the transported BB plumes substantially increased the number concentration of the atmospheric BC particles by 13 times, and greatly elevated the number fraction of thickly-coated BC from 52 % up to 91 %. Those transported BC particles had slightly larger core size and much thicker coatings than the background BC particles. However, the coating mass was not evenly distributed on BC particles with different sizes. The smaller BC cores were found to have larger shell/core ratios than the larger cores. Besides, the transported BB plumes strongly affected the vertical variation of the BC's abundance and mixing state, resulting in a higher concentration, larger number fraction and higher aging degree of BC particles in the upper atmosphere. Resulted from both increase of BC loading and aging degree, the transported BB plumes eventually enhanced the total light absorption by 15 times, in which 21 % was contributed by the BC aging and 79 % was contributed from the increase of BC mass. Particularly, the light absorption enhancement induced by the aging process during long-range transport has far exceeded the background aerosol light absorption, which implicates a significant influence of BC aging on climate warming over the TP region.

Tianyi Tan et al.

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Tianyi Tan et al.


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Short summary
Every year in the pre-monsoon season, the black carbon (BC) aerosols originated from the biomass burning in southern Asia are easily transported to the Tibetan Plateau (TP) by the convenience of westerly wind. This study reveals that the BC aerosols in the aged biomass burning plumes strongly enhance the total light absorption over the TP, and the aging process during the long-range transport will further strengthen the radiative heating of those BC aerosols.