The atmospheric lifetime of black carbon

Cape, J.N.; Coyle, M.; Dumitrean, P.. 2012 The atmospheric lifetime of black carbon. Atmospheric Environment, 59. 256-263.

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Black carbon (BC) in the atmosphere contributes to the human health effects of particulate matter and contributes to radiative forcing of climate. The lifetime of BC, particularly the smaller particle sizes (PM2.5) which can be transported over long distances, is therefore an important factor in determining the range of such effects, and the spatial footprint of emission controls. Theory and models suggest that the typical lifetime of BC is around one week. The frequency distributions of measurements of a range of hydrocarbons at a remote rural site in southern Scotland (Auchencorth Moss) between 2007 and 2010 have been used to quantify the relationship between atmospheric lifetime and the geometric standard deviation of observed concentration. The analysis relies on an assumed common major emission source for hydrocarbons and BC, namely diesel-engined vehicles. The logarithm of the standard deviation of the log-transformed concentration data is linearly related to hydrocarbon lifetime, and the same statistic for BC can be used to assess the lifetime of BC relative to the hydrocarbons. Annual average data show BC lifetimes in the range 4–12 days, for an assumed OH concentration of 7 × 105 cm−3. At this site there is little difference in BC lifetime between winter and summer, despite a 3-fold difference in relative hydrocarbon lifetimes. This observation confirms the role of wet deposition as an important removal process for BC, as there is no difference in precipitation between winter and summer at this site. BC lifetime was significantly greater in 2010, which had 23% less rainfall than the preceding 3 years.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biogeochemistry > BGC Topic 1 - Monitoring and Interpretation of Biogeochemical and Climate Changes > BGC - 1.1 - Monitor concentrations, fluxes, physico-chemical forms of current and emerging pollutants ...
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Billett (to November 2013)
ISSN: 1352-2310
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: The attached document is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Atmospheric Environment. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Atmospheric Environment, 59. 256-263. 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2012.05.030
Additional Keywords: air quality monitoring, global climate models, aethalometer, hydrocarbon lifetime
NORA Subject Terms: Atmospheric Sciences
Date made live: 13 Jun 2012 10:52 +0 (UTC)

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