Source apportionment of circum-Arctic atmospheric black carbon from isotopes and modeling.
ABSTRACT: Black carbon (BC) contributes to Arctic climate warming, yet source attributions are inaccurate due to lacking observational constraints and uncertainties in emission inventories. Year-round, isotope-constrained observations reveal strong seasonal variations in BC sources with a consistent and synchronous pattern at all Arctic sites. These sources were dominated by emissions from fossil fuel combustion in the winter and by biomass burning in the summer. The annual mean source of BC to the circum-Arctic was 39 ± 10% from biomass burning. Comparison of transport-model predictions with the observations showed good agreement for BC concentrations, with larger discrepancies for (fossil/biomass burning) sources. The accuracy of simulated BC concentration, but not of origin, points to misallocations of emissions in the emission inventories. The consistency in seasonal source contributions of BC throughout the Arctic provides strong justification for targeted emission reductions to limit the impact of BC on climate warming in the Arctic and beyond.
Project description:Black carbon (BC) particles contribute to climate warming by heating the atmosphere and reducing the albedo of snow/ice surfaces. The available Arctic BC deposition records are restricted to the Atlantic and North American sectors, for which previous studies suggest considerable spatial differences in trends. Here, we present first long-term BC deposition and radiocarbon-based source apportionment data from Russia using four lake sediment records from western Arctic Russia, a region influenced by BC emissions from oil and gas production. The records consistently indicate increasing BC fluxes between 1800 and 2014. The radiocarbon analyses suggest mainly (∼70%) biomass sources for BC with fossil fuel contributions peaking around 1960-1990. Backward calculations with the atmospheric transport model FLEXPART show emission source areas and indicate that modeled BC deposition between 1900 and 1999 is largely driven by emission trends. Comparison of observed and modeled data suggests the need to update anthropogenic BC emission inventories for Russia, as these seem to underestimate Russian BC emissions and since 1980s potentially inaccurately portray their trend. Additionally, the observations may indicate underestimation of wildfire emissions in inventories. Reliable information on BC deposition trends and sources is essential for design of efficient and effective policies to limit climate warming.
Project description:Black carbon (BC) aerosols from incomplete combustion of biomass and fossil fuel contribute to Arctic climate warming. Models-seeking to advise mitigation policy-are challenged in reproducing observations of seasonally varying BC concentrations in the Arctic air. Here we compare year-round observations of BC and its ?(13)C/?(14)C-diagnosed sources in Arctic Scandinavia, with tailored simulations from an atmospheric transport model. The model predictions for this European gateway to the Arctic are greatly improved when the emission inventory of anthropogenic sources is amended by satellite-derived estimates of BC emissions from fires. Both BC concentrations (R(2)=0.89, P<0.05) and source contributions (R(2)=0.77, P<0.05) are accurately mimicked and linked to predominantly European emissions. This improved model skill allows for more accurate assessment of sources and effects of BC in the Arctic, and a more credible scientific underpinning of policy efforts aimed at efficiently reducing BC emissions reaching the European Arctic.
Project description:Black carbon (BC) in haze and deposited on snow and ice can have strong effects on the radiative balance of the Arctic. There is a geographic bias in Arctic BC studies toward the Atlantic sector, with lack of observational constraints for the extensive Russian Siberian Arctic, spanning nearly half of the circum-Arctic. Here, 2 y of observations at Tiksi (East Siberian Arctic) establish a strong seasonality in both BC concentrations (8 ng⋅m-3 to 302 ng⋅m-3) and dual-isotope-constrained sources (19 to 73% contribution from biomass burning). Comparisons between observations and a dispersion model, coupled to an anthropogenic emissions inventory and a fire emissions inventory, give mixed results. In the European Arctic, this model has proven to simulate BC concentrations and source contributions well. However, the model is less successful in reproducing BC concentrations and sources for the Russian Arctic. Using a Bayesian approach, we show that, in contrast to earlier studies, contributions from gas flaring (6%), power plants (9%), and open fires (12%) are relatively small, with the major sources instead being domestic (35%) and transport (38%). The observation-based evaluation of reported emissions identifies errors in spatial allocation of BC sources in the inventory and highlights the importance of improving emission distribution and source attribution, to develop reliable mitigation strategies for efficient reduction of BC impact on the Russian Arctic, one of the fastest-warming regions on Earth.
Project description:Black carbon (BC) aerosols perturb climate and impoverish air quality/human health-affecting ?1.5 billion people in South Asia. However, the lack of source-diagnostic observations of BC is hindering the evaluation of uncertain bottom-up emission inventories (EIs) and thereby also models/policies. Here, we present dual-isotope-based (?14C/?13C) fingerprinting of wintertime BC at two receptor sites of the continental outflow. Our results show a remarkable similarity in contributions of biomass and fossil combustion, both from the site capturing the highly populated highly polluted Indo-Gangetic Plain footprint (IGP; ?14C-fbiomass = 50 ± 3%) and the second site in the N. Indian Ocean representing a wider South Asian footprint (52 ± 6%). Yet, both sites reflect distinct ?13C-fingerprints, indicating a distinguishable contribution of C4-biomass burning from peninsular India (PI). Tailored-model-predicted season-averaged BC concentrations (700 ± 440 ng m-3) match observations (740 ± 250 ng m-3), however, unveiling a systematically increasing model-observation bias (+19% to -53%) through winter. Inclusion of BC from open burning alone does not reconcile predictions (fbiomass = 44 ± 8%) with observations. Direct source-segregated comparison reveals regional offsets in anthropogenic emission fluxes in EIs, overestimated fossil-BC in the IGP, and underestimated biomass-BC in PI, which contributes to the model-observation bias. This ground-truthing pinpoints uncertainties in BC emission sources, which benefit both climate/air-quality modeling and mitigation policies in South Asia.
Project description:Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are released from biogenic sources in a temperature-dependent manner. Consequently, Arctic ecosystems are expected to greatly increase their VOC emissions with ongoing climate warming, which is proceeding at twice the rate of global temperature rise. Here, we show that ongoing warming has strong, increasing effects on Arctic VOC emissions. Using a combination of statistical modeling on data from several warming experiments in the Arctic tundra and dynamic ecosystem modeling, we separate the impacts of temperature and soil moisture into direct effects and indirect effects through vegetation composition and biomass alterations. The indirect effects of warming on VOC emissions were significant but smaller than the direct effects, during the 14-y model simulation period. Furthermore, vegetation changes also cause shifts in the chemical speciation of emissions. Both direct and indirect effects result in large geographic differences in VOC emission responses in the warming Arctic, depending on the local vegetation cover and the climate dynamics. Our results outline complex links between local climate, vegetation, and ecosystem-atmosphere interactions, with likely local-to-regional impacts on the atmospheric composition.
Project description:Secondary organic aerosol (SOA) formed from the atmospheric oxidation of nonmethane organic gases (NMOG) is a major contributor to atmospheric aerosol mass. Emissions and smog chamber experiments were performed to investigate SOA formation from gasoline vehicles, diesel vehicles, and biomass burning. About 10-20% of NMOG emissions from these major combustion sources are not routinely speciated and therefore are currently misclassified in emission inventories and chemical transport models. The smog chamber data demonstrate that this misclassification biases model predictions of SOA production low because the unspeciated NMOG produce more SOA per unit mass than the speciated NMOG. We present new source-specific SOA yield parameterizations for these unspeciated emissions. These parameterizations and associated source profiles are designed for implementation in chemical transport models. Box model calculations using these new parameterizations predict that NMOG emissions from the top six combustion sources form 0.7 Tg y(-1) of first-generation SOA in the United States, almost 90% of which is from biomass burning and gasoline vehicles. About 85% of this SOA comes from unspeciated NMOG, demonstrating that chemical transport models need improved treatment of combustion emissions to accurately predict ambient SOA concentrations.
Project description:Emission inventories are the foundation for cost-effective air quality management activities. In 2005, a report by the public/private partnership North American Research Strategy for Tropospheric Ozone (NARSTO) evaluated the strengths and weaknesses of North American emissions inventories and made recommendations for improving their effectiveness. This paper reviews the recommendation areas and briefly discusses what has been addressed, what remains unchanged, and new questions that have arisen. The findings reveal that all emissions inventory improvement areas identified by the 2005 NARSTO publication have been explored and implemented to some degree. The U.S. National Emissions Inventory has become more detailed and has incorporated new research into previously under-characterized sources such as fine particles and biomass burning. Additionally, it is now easier to access the emissions inventory and the documentation of the inventory via the internet. However, many emissions-related research needs exist, on topics such as emission estimation methods, speciation, scalable emission factor development, incorporation of new emission measurement techniques, estimation of uncertainty, top-down verification, and analysis of uncharacterized sources. A common theme throughout this retrospective summary is the need for increased coordination among stakeholders. Researchers and inventory developers must work together to ensure that planned emissions research and new findings can be used to update the emissions inventory. To continue to address emissions inventory challenges, industry, the scientific community, and government agencies need to continue to leverage resources and collaborate as often as possible. As evidenced by the progress noted, continued investment in and coordination of emissions inventory activities will provide dividends to air quality management programs across the country, continent, and world. Implications: In 2005, a report by the public/private partnership North American Research Strategy for Tropospheric Ozone (NARSTO) evaluated the strengths and weaknesses of North American air pollution emissions inventories. This paper reviews the eight recommendation areas and briefly discusses what has been addressed, what remains unchanged, and new questions that have arisen. Although progress has been made, many opportunities exist for the scientific agencies, industry, and government agencies to leverage resources and collaborate to continue improving emissions inventories.
Project description:Biomass burning has been identified as an important contributor to the degradation of air quality because of its impact on ozone and particulate matter. One component of the biomass burning inventory, crop residue burning, has been poorly characterized in the National Emissions Inventory (NEI). In the 2011 NEI, wildland fires, prescribed fires, and crop residue burning collectively were the largest source of PM2.5. This paper summarizes our 2014 NEI method to estimate crop residue burning emissions and grass/pasture burning emissions using remote sensing data and field information and literature-based, crop-specific emission factors. We focus on both the postharvest and pre-harvest burning that takes place with bluegrass, corn, cotton, rice, soybeans, sugarcane and wheat. Estimates for 2014 indicate that over the continental United States (CONUS), crop residue burning excluding all areas identified as Pasture/Grass, Grassland Herbaceous, and Pasture/Hay occurred over approximately 1.5 million acres of land and produced 19,600 short tons of PM2.5. For areas identified as Pasture/Grass, Grassland Herbaceous, and Pasture/Hay, biomass burning emissions occurred over approximately 1.6 million acres of land and produced 30,000 short tons of PM2.5. This estimate compares with the 2011 NEI and 2008 NEI as follows: 2008: 49,650 short tons and 2011: 141,180 short tons. Note that in the previous two NEIs rangeland burning was not well defined and so the comparison is not exact. The remote sensing data also provided verification of our existing diurnal profile for crop residue burning emissions used in chemical transport modeling. In addition, the entire database used to estimate this sector of emissions is available on EPA's Clearinghouse for Inventories and Emission Factors (CHIEF, http://www3.epa.gov/ttn/chief/index.html ).Estimates of crop residue burning and rangeland burning emissions can be improved by using satellite detections. Local information is helpful in distinguishing crop residue and rangeland burning from all other types of fires.
Project description:A nationwide lockdown was imposed in India due to COVID-19 pandemic in five phases from 25th March to May 31, 2020. The lockdown restricted major anthropogenic activities, primarily vehicular and industrial, thereby reducing the particulate matter concentration. This work investigates the variation in Black Carbon (BC) concentration and its sources (primarily Fossil Fuel (ff) burning and Biomass Burning (bb)) over Delhi from 18th February to July 31, 2020, covering one month of pre-lockdown phase, all the lockdown phases, and two months of successive lockdown relaxations. The daily average BC concentration varied from 0.22 to 16.92 μg/m<sup>3</sup>, with a mean value of 3.62 ± 2.93 μg/m<sup>3</sup>. During Pre-Lockdown (PL, 18th Feb-24th March 2020), Lockdown-1 (L1, 25th March-14th April 2020), Lockdown-2 (L2, 15th April-3rd May 2020), Lockdown-3 (L3, 4th-17th May 2020), Lockdown-4 (L4, 18th-31st May 2020), Unlock-1 (UN1, June 2020), and Unlock-2 (UN2, July 2020) the average BC concentrations were 7.93, 1.73, 2.59, 3.76, 3.26, 2.07, and 2.70 μg/m<sup>3</sup>, respectively. During the lockdown and unlock phases, BC decreased up to 78% compared to the PL period. The BC source apportionment studies show that fossil fuel burning was the dominant BC source during the entire sampling period. From L1 to UN2 an increasing trend in BC<sub>ff</sub> contribution was observed (except L3) due to the successive relaxations given to anthropogenic activities. BC<sub>ff</sub> contribution dipped briefly during L3 due to the intensive crop residue burning events in neighboring states. CWT analysis showed that local emission sources were the dominant contributors to BC concentration over Delhi.
Project description:Observations of atmospheric methane (CH4) since the late 1970s and measurements of CH4 trapped in ice and snow reveal a meteoric rise in concentration during much of the twentieth century. Since 1750, levels of atmospheric CH4 have more than doubled to current globally averaged concentration near 1,800 ppb. During the late 1980s and 1990s, the CH4 growth rate slowed substantially and was near or at zero between 1999 and 2006. There is no scientific consensus on the drivers of this slowdown. Here, we report measurements of the stable isotopic composition of atmospheric CH4 ((13)C/(12)C and D/H) from a rare air archive dating from 1977 to 1998. Together with more modern records of isotopic atmospheric CH4, we performed a time-dependent retrieval of methane fluxes spanning 25 y (1984-2009) using a 3D chemical transport model. This inversion results in a 24 [18, 27] Tg y(-1) CH4 increase in fugitive fossil fuel emissions since 1984 with most of this growth occurring after year 2000. This result is consistent with some bottom-up emissions inventories but not with recent estimates based on atmospheric ethane. In fact, when forced with decreasing emissions from fossil fuel sources our inversion estimates unreasonably high emissions in other sources. Further, the inversion estimates a decrease in biomass-burning emissions that could explain falling ethane abundance. A range of sensitivity tests suggests that these results are robust.