Evolution of Black Carbon Optical Properties during Atmospheric Aging: Comparison Between Theoretical Calculations and Laboratory Experiments

Monday, 15 December 2014
Cenlin He1,2, Kuo-Nan Liou1,2, Yoshihide Takano1,2, Qinbin Li1,2, Ping Yang3 and Renyi Zhang3, (1)Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, United States, (2)Joint Institute for Regional Earth System Science and Engineering, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, United States, (3)Texas A & M University, College Station, TX, United States
The optical properties of black carbon (BC) are significantly affected by its aging process in the atmosphere. We have built a conceptual model defining three BC aging stages, including freshly emitted BC aggregates, coating by soluble material and hygroscopic growth. We apply an improved geometric-optics surface-wave approach (Liou et al., 2011; Takano et al., 2013) to calculate the absorption and scattering properties of BC at each stage and compare the theoretical results with those obtained from laboratory experiments (Zhang et al., 2008; Khalizov et al., 2009). Preliminary results show a general agreement between calculated and measured BC absorption cross sections (bias < 10%) and scattering cross sections (bias < 30%) for BC aerosols with mobility diameters of 155, 245 and 320 nm at Stages 1 and 2, where BC is coated by sulfuric acid and its water solution, respectively. We find that the calculated scattering and absorption cross sections for fresh BC aggregates (Stage 0) with different sizes are invariably larger than experimental results partly because of the uncertainty in theoretical calculations for BC with size parameters less than 1. It appears that the uncertainty in the experiment could also contribute to the discrepancy, considering that the measuring instrument missed some scattering in certain angles (0-7° and 170-180°). Finally, we will apply the conceptual model and the single-scattering results to assess the effects of BC aging processes on direct radiative forcing using observed BC vertical profiles.