Atmospheric Black Carbon Loadings and Sources over Eastern Sub- Saharan Africa Are Governed by the Regional Savanna FiresDownload
Vast black carbon (BC) emissions from sub-Saharan Africa are perceived to warm the regional climate, impact rainfall patterns, and impair human respiratory health. However, the magnitudes of these perturbations are ill-constrained, largely due to limited ground-based observations and uncertainties in emissions from different sources. This paper reports multiyear concentrations of BC and other key PM2.5 aerosol constituents from the Rwanda Climate Observatory, serving as a regional receptor site. We find a strong seasonal cycle for all investigated chemical species, where the maxima coincide with large-scale upwind savanna fires. BC concentrations show notable interannual variability, with no clear long-term trend. The Δ14C and δ13C signatures of BC unambiguously show highly elevated biomass burning contributions, up to 93 ± 3%, with a clear and strong savanna burning imprint. We further observe a near-equal contribution from C3 and C4 plants, irrespective of air mass source region or season. In addition, the study provides improved relative emission factors of key aerosol components, organic carbon (OC), K+, and NO3−, in savanna-fires-influenced background atmosphere. Altogether, we report quantitative source constraints on Eastern Africa BC emissions, with implications for parameterization of satellite fire and bottom-up emission inventories as well as regional climate and chemical transport modeling.
Using Novel Molecular-Level Chemical Composition Observations of High Arctic Organic Aerosol for Predictions of Cloud Condensation Nuclei
Predictions of cloud droplet activation in the late summertime (September) central Arctic Ocean are made using κ-Köhler theory with novel observations of the aerosol chemical composition from a high-resolution time-of-flight chemical ionization mass spectrometer with a filter inlet for gases and aerosols (FIGAERO-CIMS) and an aerosol mass spectrometer (AMS), deployed during the Arctic Ocean 2018 expedition onboard the Swedish icebreaker Oden. We find that the hygroscopicity parameter κ of the total aerosol is 0.39 ± 0.19 (mean ± std). The predicted activation diameter of ∼25 to 130 nm particles is overestimated by 5%, leading to an underestimation of the cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) number concentration by 4–8%. From this, we conclude that the aerosol in the High Arctic late summer is acidic and therefore highly cloud active, with a substantial CCN contribution from Aitken mode particles. Variability in the predicted activation diameter is addressed mainly as a result of uncertainties in the aerosol size distribution measurements. The organic κ was on average 0.13, close to the commonly assumed κ of 0.1, and therefore did not significantly influence the predictions. These conclusions are supported by laboratory experiments of the activation potential of seven organic compounds selected as representative of the measured aerosol.
Emission of primary bioaerosol particles from Baltic seawater
Bioaerosols are particles of biological origin with various important atmospheric implications, for example, within cloud formation where bioaerosols can act as cloud condensation or ice nuclei. Their sources and properties, however, are poorly understood. We conducted a controlled sea spray experiment to determine the properties and emission of primary biological aerosol particles (PBAP) originating from Baltic seawater. Using a single-particle fluorescence and light-scattering instrument, the Multiparameter Bioaerosol Spectrometer (MBS), we differentiated PBAP within sea spray aerosol (SSA). Overall, approximately 1 in 104 particles larger than 0.8 μm in diameter were classified as PBAP. The optically-determined morphology of the nascent and fluorescent SSA particles showed a clear transition in symmetry and elongation most likely due to changes in the biogeochemical properties of the surface water. These shifts were also reflected in a clear change of the bacterial community composition of the aerosol and seawater as determined by 16S rRNA-gene analysis, which were significantly distinct from each other, suggesting a preferential emission of specific bacteria to the atmosphere. Our results demonstrate the capability of the MBS to identify and count PBAP within SSA on a single-particle basis and will help to better constrain the emission of marine PBAP and their dependence on the seawater's biogeochemical properties.
The Effect of Seawater Salinity and Seawater Temperature on Sea Salt Aerosol Production
To improve our understanding of the impact of sea salt aerosols (SSA) on the Earth's climate, it is critical to understand the physical mechanisms which determine the size-resolved SSA production flux. Of the factors affecting SSA emissions, seawater salinity has perhaps received the least attention in the literature and previous studies have produced conflicting results. Here, we present a series of laboratory experiments designed to investigate the role of salinity on aerosol production from artificial seawater using a continuous plunging jet. During these experiments, the aerosol and surface bubble size distributions were monitored while the salinity was decreased from 35 to 0 g kg−1. Three distinct salinity regimes were identified: (a) A high salinity regime, 10–35 g kg−1, where lower salinity resulted in only minor reductions in particle number flux but notable reductions in particle volume flux; (b) an intermediate salinity regime, 5–10 g kg−1, with a local maximum in particle number flux; (c) a low salinity regime, <5 g kg−1, characterized by a rapid decrease in particle number flux at lower salinities and dominated by small particles and larger bubbles. We discuss the implications of our results through comparison of the size-resolved aerosol flux and the surface bubble population at different salinities. Finally, by varying the seawater temperature at three specific salinities we have also developed a simple parameterization of the particle production flux as a function of seawater temperature and salinity. The range of seawater salinity and temperature studied is representative of the global oceans and lower salinity water bodies such as the Baltic Sea.
Surface composition of size-selected sea salt particles under the influence of organic acids studied in situ using synchrotron radiation X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy
Sea spray aerosols play a key role in the climate system by scattering solar radiation and by serving as cloud condensation nuclei. Despite their importance, the impact of sea spray aerosols on global climate remains highly uncertain. One of the key knowledge gaps in our understanding of sea spray aerosol is the chemical composition of the particle surface, important for various atmospheric chemical processes, as a function of size and bulk composition. Here, we have applied X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) to determine the surface composition of both pure inorganic sea salt aerosols and sea salt aerosols spiked with an amino acid (phenylalanine) and a straight chain fatty acid (octanoic acid). Importantly, the use of a differential mobility analyser allowed size-selection of 150, 250 and 350 nm monodisperse aerosol particles for comparison to polydisperse aerosol particles. We observed enrichment of magnesium at the particle surfaces relative to chloride in all aerosols tested, across all particle sizes. Interestingly, the magnitude of this enrichment was dependent on the type of organic present in the solution as well as the particle size. Our results suggest that the observed enrichment in magnesium is an inorganic effect which can be either enhanced or diminished by the addition of organic substances.