Light-absorption enhancement of black carbon in the Asian outflow inferred from airborne SP2 and in-situ measurements during KORUS-AQ

Chaeyoon Cho, Joshua P. Schwarz, Anne E. Perring, Kara D. Lamb, Yutaka Kondo, Jong Uk Park, Do Hyeon Park, Kyuseok Shim, Jin Soo Park, Rokjin J. Park, Meehye Lee, Chang Keun Song, Sang Woo Kim

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4 Citations (Scopus)


We investigated the changes in the size distribution, coating thickness, and mass absorption cross-section (MAC) of black carbon (BC) with aging and estimated the light absorption enhancement (Eabs) in the Asian outflow from airborne in-situ measurements during 2016 KORUS-AQ campaign. The BC number concentration decreased, but mass mean diameter increased with increasing altitude in the West Coast (WC) and Seoul Metropolitan Area (SMA), reflecting the contrast between freshly emitted BC-containing particles at the surface and more aged aerosol associated with aggregation during vertical mixing and transport. Contradistinctively, BC number and mass size distributions were relatively invariant with altitude over the Yellow Sea (YS) because sufficiently aged BC from eastern China were horizontally transported to all altitudes over the YS, and there are no significant sources at the surface. The averaged inferred MAC of refractory BC in three regions reflecting differences in their size distributions increased to 9.8 ± 1.0 m2 g−1 (YS), 9.3 ± 0.9 m2 g−1 (WC), and 8.2 ± 0.9 m2 g−1 (SMA) as BC coating thickness increased from 20 nm to 120 nm. The absorption coefficient of BC calculated from the coating thickness and MAC were highly correlated with the filter-based absorption measurements with the slope of 1.16 and R2 of 0.96 at 550 nm, revealing that the thickly coated BC had a large MAC and absorption coefficient. The Eabs due to the inferred coatings was estimated as 1.0–1.6, which was about 30% lower than those from climate models and laboratory experiments, suggesting that the increase in the BC absorption by the coatings in the Asian outflow is not as large as calculated in the previous studies. Organics contributed to the largest Eabs accounting for 69% (YS), 61% (WC), and 64% (SMA). This implies that organics are largely responsible for the lensing effect of BC rather than sulfates in the Asian outflow.

Original languageEnglish
Article number145531
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jun 15


  • Absorption enhancement
  • Aging process
  • Black carbon
  • SP2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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