Investigating the Vertical Distribution and Source Attribution of Black Carbon over the Pacific Ocean
Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Long-range transport of black carbon (BC) aerosols to the Pacific Ocean can potentially play a significant role in changing the marine climate through influences on temperature and cloud profiles and the top-of-atmosphere and surface energy balance. Therefore, quantitatively understanding sources of BC over the Pacific, particularly at different altitudes, is of great importance. In this study, we simulate the transport of thirteen continental BC tracers with a variety of e-folding aging times (few hours to 1 month) using the global chemical transport model MOZART-4. We then optimize BC aging rate according to different source regions by constraining the vertical profile of BC concentrations to the HAIPER Polo-to-Pole Observations (HIPPO). We find that for all HIPPO deployments, a shorter BC aging timescale (less than half day) for tropical and mid-latitude tracers and a longer aging timescale (2-10 days) for high-latitude tracers (except summer) in most cases significantly reduces model biases. By comparing the source-receptor relationship between the optimized BC tracers over the Pacific, we find that during 2009-2011, East Asia contributes most to the BC loading over the Northern Pacific in all seasons except summer, while South American, African and Australian tracers dominate the BC loadings over the Southern Pacific. In addition, unlike other tracers, African BC is a dominant contributor over a larger area in the free troposphere versus the boundary layer. Our findings indicate that the aging rate of BC strongly depends on source location and season, which may significantly influence the contribution of different source regions to BC forcing over the Pacific Ocean.