Black carbon measurements in the air and clouds at Zeppelin Observatory (AC/BC)

Measurements of refractory black carbon (rBC) concentrations and properties in air and clouds at Zeppelin Observatory with an extended range single particle soot photometer (SP2-XR)

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  • field work
  • sios


  • atmosphere

Project Keywords

  • atmosphere / aerosols / carbonaceous aerosols
  • atmosphere / aerosols / aerosol particle properties

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Black carbon (BC) particles in the atmosphere play an important role in the Earth's climate system. The net result of their environmental interactions is a strong warming effect at the Earth's surface. BC-climate effects are particularly important in the Arctic, where BC aerosols are thought to contribute to Arctic amplification -- the higher rate of warming of the Arctic climate relative to global climate. Observations of BC concentrations and properties in Arctic air, clouds, snow, and ice are required to characterize the precise role that BC plays in amplifying Arctic climate change. This project aims to contribute to this effort by collecting comprehensive measurements of BC in the lower atmosphere and clouds at the Zeppelin Observatory in Ny-Ă…lesund, Svalbard. Atmospheric BC concentrations will be measured with an extended range single particle soot photometer (SP2-XR). The SP2-XR is a highly sensitive, online instrument that detects refractory BC (rBC) mass on a single-particle-basis using the principle of laser induced incandescence (LII). In addition to measuring rBC concentrations, the SP2-XR also reports rBC size distributions and some mixing state information (i.e. the mixing of non-BC coatings with BC cores). These extra measurements can be used to perform a more detailed characterization of BC climate impacts, to identify specific BC sources, and to interpret variations in BC optical properties and resulting discrepancies between different optically-based measurements of BC concentrations. When clouds pass through Zeppelin Observatory the SP2-XR will be operated behind a counterflow virtual impactor (CVI) sampling inlet -- a specially designed inlet for separating cloud droplet and ice crystals from interstitial aerosol. By this means the SP2-XR will be used to measure the fractions of BC in air that are incorporated into cloud droplets and ice crystals. Additionally, the properties of the BC found in clouds will be measured and compared against the properties of BC that remain in the interstitial aerosol. One year of measurements will be performed to assess the seasonal variation in all measured quantities.

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