Multi-wavelength Characterization of Brown and Black Carbon from Filter Samples

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Megan M Johnson1, Reddy L. N. Yatavelli1, L.W. Antony Chen1, Madhu S Gyawali1, William P Arnott2, Xiaoliang Wang1, Rajan K. Chakrabarty3, Hans Moosmüller1, John G. Watson1 and Judith C. Chow1, (1)Desert Research Institute, Reno, NV, United States, (2)University of Nevada Reno, Reno, NV, United States, (3)Washington University in St Louis, St. Louis, MO, United States
Particulate matter (PM) scatters and absorbs solar radiation and thereby affects visibility, the Earth’s radiation balance, and properties and lifetimes of clouds. Understanding the radiative forcing (RF) of PM is essential to reducing the uncertainty in total anthropogenic and natural RF. Many instruments that measure light absorption coefficients (βabs [λ], Mm-1) of PM have used light at near-infrared (NIR; e.g., 880 nm) or red (e.g., 633 nm) wavelengths. Measuring βabs over a wider wavelength range, especially including the ultraviolet (UV) and visible, allows for contributions from black carbon (BC), brown carbon (BrC), and mineral dust (MD) to be differentiated. This will help to determine PM RF and its emission sources. In this study, source and ambient samples collected on Teflon-membrane and quartz-fiber filters are used to characterize and develop a multi-wavelength (250 – 1000 nm) filter-based measurement method of PM light absorption. A commercially available UV-visible spectrometer coupled with an integrating sphere is used for quantifying diffuse reflectance and transmittance of filter samples, from which βabs and absorption Ǻngström exponents (AAE) of the PM deposits are determined. The filter-based light absorption measurements of laboratory generated soot and biomass burning aerosol are compared to 3-wavelength photoacoustic absorption measurements to evaluate filter media and loading effects. Calibration factors are developed to account for differences between filter types (Teflon-membrane vs. quartz-fiber), and between filters and in situ photoacoustic absorption values. Application of multi-spectral absorption measurements to existing archived filters, including specific source samples (e.g. diesel and gasoline engines, biomass burning, dust), will also be discussed.