Variability in the mass absorption cross section of black carbon (BC) aerosols is driven by BC internal mixing state at a central European background site (Melpitz, Germany) in winter


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Andreas.Herber [ at ] awi.de

Abstract

Properties of atmospheric black carbon (BC) par- ticles were characterized during a field experiment at a ru- ral background site (Melpitz, Germany) in February 2017. BC absorption at a wavelength of 870 nm was measured by a photoacoustic extinctiometer, and BC physical properties (BC mass concentration, core size distribution and coating thickness) were measured by a single-particle soot photome- ter (SP2). Additionally, a catalytic stripper was used to in- termittently remove BC coatings by alternating between am- bient and thermo-denuded conditions. From these data the mass absorption cross section of BC (MACBC) and its en- hancement factor (EMAC) were inferred for essentially water- free aerosol as present after drying to low relative humid- ity (RH). Two methods were applied independently to in- vestigate the coating effect on EMAC: a correlation method (MACBC,ambient vs. BC coating thickness) and a denud- ing method (MACBC, ambient vs. MACBC, denuded). Observed EMAC values varied from 1.0 to 1.6 (lower limit from de- nuding method) or ∼ 1.2 to 1.9 (higher limit from correla- tion method), with the mean coating volume fraction ranging from 54 % to 78 % in the dominating mass equivalent BC core diameter range of 200–220 nm. MACBC and EMAC were strongly correlated with coating thickness of BC. By con- trast, other potential drivers of EMAC variability, such as dif- ferent BC sources (air mass origin and absorption Ångström exponent), coating composition (ratio of inorganics to organics) and BC core size distribution, had only minor effects. These results for ambient BC measured at Melpitz during winter show that the lensing effect caused by coatings on BC is the main driver of the variations in MACBC and EMAC, while changes in other BC particle properties such as source, BC core size or coating composition play only minor roles at this rural background site with a large fraction of aged parti- cles. Indirect evidence suggests that potential dampening of the lensing effect due to unfavorable morphology was most likely small or even negligible.



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Eprint ID
53601
DOI 10.5194/acp-21-635-2021

Cite as
Yuan, J. , Modini, R. L. , Zanatta, M. , Herber, A. , Müller, T. , Wehner, B. , Poulain, L. , Tuch, T. , Baltensperger, U. and Gysel-Beer, M. (2021): Variability in the mass absorption cross section of black carbon (BC) aerosols is driven by BC internal mixing state at a central European background site (Melpitz, Germany) in winter , Atmos. Chem. Phys., 21 , pp. 635-655 . doi: 10.5194/acp-21-635-2021


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