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https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-299
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-299
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  15 May 2020

15 May 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Impacts of atmospheric transport and biomass burning on the interannual variation in black carbon aerosols over the Tibetan Plateau

Han Han1,, Yue Wu1,2,, Jane Liu3,1, Tianliang Zhao4, Bingliang Zhuang1, Yichen Li1, Huimin Chen1, Ye Zhu5, Hongnian Liu1, Qin’geng Wang6, Shu Li1, Tijian Wang1, Min Xie1, and Mengmeng Li1 Han Han et al.
  • 1School of Atmospheric Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing, China
  • 2Suzhou Meteorological Bureau, Suzhou, China
  • 3Department of Geography and Planning, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
  • 4School of Atmospheric Physics, Nanjing University of Information Science & Technology, Nanjing, China
  • 5Shanghai Public Meteorological Service Centre, Shanghai, China
  • 6School of the Environment, Nanjing University, Nanjing, China
  • These authors contributed equally to this work.

Abstract. Atmospheric black carbon (BC) in the Tibetan Plateau (TP) can largely impact regional and global climate. Still, studies on the interannual variation in atmospheric BC over the TP and associated variation in BC sources and controlling factors are rather limited. In this study, we characterize the variations in atmospheric BC over the TP surface layer through analysis of 20-year (1995–2014) simulations from a global chemical transport model, GEOS-Chem. The results show that, of all areas in the TP, surface BC concentrations are highest over the eastern and southern TP, where surface BC are susceptible respectively to BC transport from East Asia and South Asia. Combining the GEOS-Chem simulations and trajectories from the Hybrid Single-Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory (HYSPLIT) model, we assess the contributions of different source regions to surface BC in the TP. On the 20-year average, over 90 % surface BC in the TP comes from South Asia (47 %) and East Asia (46 %). Regarding seasonal variation in foreign influences, South Asia and East Asia are dominant source regions in winter and summer, respectively, in terms of both magnitude and affected areas in the TP. In spring and autumn, the influences from the two source regions are somewhat comparable. Interannually, surface BC over the TP is largely modulated by atmospheric transport of BC from foreign regions year-round and by biomass burning in South Asia, mostly in spring. We find that the extremely strong biomass burning in South Asia in the spring of 1999 greatly enhanced surface BC concentrations in the TP (31 % relative to the climatology). We find that the strength of the Asian monsoon correlates significantly with the interannual variation in the amount of BC transported to the TP from foreign regions. In summer, strong East Asian summer monsoon and South Asian summer monsoon tend to, respectively, increase BC transport from central China and northeast South Asia to the TP. In winter, BC transport from central China is enhanced in years with strong East Asia winter monsoon or Siberian High. A strong Siberian High can also increase BC transport from northern South Asia to the TP. This study underscores the impacts of atmospheric transport and biomass burning on the interannual variation in surface BC over the TP. It reveals a close connection between the atmospheric transport of BC from foreign regions to the TP and the Asian monsoon.

Han Han et al.

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Han Han et al.

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Short summary
Combining simulations from a global chemical transport model and backward trajectories, we find that black carbon transport from South Asia and East Asia contributes to over 90 % surface black carbon in the Tibetan Plateau. Biomass burning in South Asia largely explains the interannual variation in springtime surface black carbon in the Tibetan Plateau. Asian monsoon correlates significantly to the interannual variation of black carbon transport to the Tibetan Plateau.
Combining simulations from a global chemical transport model and backward trajectories, we find...
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