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Source Quantification of South Asian Black Carbon Aerosols with Isotopes and Modeling.


ABSTRACT: 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.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC7586323 | BioStudies |

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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