Source forensics of black carbon aerosols from China

Bing Chen, August Andersson, Meehye Lee, Elena N. Kirillova, Qianfen Xiao, Martin Kruså, Meinan Shi, Ke Hu, Zifeng Lu, David G. Streets, Ke Du, Örjan Gustafsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

81 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The limited understanding of black carbon (BC) aerosol emissions from incomplete combustion causes a poorly constrained anthropogenic climate warming that globally may be second only to CO2 and regionally, such as over East Asia, the dominant driver of climate change. The relative contribution to atmospheric BC from fossil fuel versus biomass combustion is important to constrain as fossil BC is a stronger climate forcer. The source apportionment is the underpinning for targeted mitigation actions. However, technology-based "bottom-up" emission inventories are inconclusive, largely due to uncertain BC emission factors from small-scale/household combustion and open burning. We use "top-down" radiocarbon measurements of atmospheric BC from five sites including three city sites and two regional sites to determine that fossil fuel combustion produces 80 ± 6% of the BC emitted from China. This source-diagnostic radiocarbon signal in the ambient aerosol over East Asia establishes a much larger role for fossil fuel combustion than suggested by all 15 BC emission inventory models, including one with monthly resolution. Our results suggest that current climate modeling should refine both BC emission strength and consider the stronger radiative absorption associated with fossil-fuel-derived BC. To mitigate near-term climate effects and improve air quality in East Asia, activities such as residential coal combustion and city traffic should be targeted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9102-9108
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume47
Issue number16
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Aug 20

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Soot
black carbon
Aerosols
China
aerosol
Fossil Fuels
Climate
Fossil fuels
combustion
fossil fuel
Far East
carbon emission
emission inventory
Equipment and Supplies
Coal
Coal combustion
Climate Change
climate effect
climate
Air quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry

Cite this

Chen, B., Andersson, A., Lee, M., Kirillova, E. N., Xiao, Q., Kruså, M., ... Gustafsson, Ö. (2013). Source forensics of black carbon aerosols from China. Environmental Science and Technology, 47(16), 9102-9108. https://doi.org/10.1021/es401599r

Source forensics of black carbon aerosols from China. / Chen, Bing; Andersson, August; Lee, Meehye; Kirillova, Elena N.; Xiao, Qianfen; Kruså, Martin; Shi, Meinan; Hu, Ke; Lu, Zifeng; Streets, David G.; Du, Ke; Gustafsson, Örjan.

In: Environmental Science and Technology, Vol. 47, No. 16, 20.08.2013, p. 9102-9108.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Chen, B, Andersson, A, Lee, M, Kirillova, EN, Xiao, Q, Kruså, M, Shi, M, Hu, K, Lu, Z, Streets, DG, Du, K & Gustafsson, Ö 2013, 'Source forensics of black carbon aerosols from China', Environmental Science and Technology, vol. 47, no. 16, pp. 9102-9108. https://doi.org/10.1021/es401599r
Chen B, Andersson A, Lee M, Kirillova EN, Xiao Q, Kruså M et al. Source forensics of black carbon aerosols from China. Environmental Science and Technology. 2013 Aug 20;47(16):9102-9108. https://doi.org/10.1021/es401599r
Chen, Bing ; Andersson, August ; Lee, Meehye ; Kirillova, Elena N. ; Xiao, Qianfen ; Kruså, Martin ; Shi, Meinan ; Hu, Ke ; Lu, Zifeng ; Streets, David G. ; Du, Ke ; Gustafsson, Örjan. / Source forensics of black carbon aerosols from China. In: Environmental Science and Technology. 2013 ; Vol. 47, No. 16. pp. 9102-9108.
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