• Journal Article

Radiative Absorption Enhancements Due to the Mixing State of Atmospheric Black Carbon

Citation

Cappa, C. D., Onasch, T. B., Massoli, P., Worsnop, D. R., Bates, T. S., Cross, E. S., ... Zaveri, R. A. (2012). Radiative Absorption Enhancements Due to the Mixing State of Atmospheric Black Carbon. Science, 337(6098), 1078-1081. DOI: 10.1126/science.1223447

Abstract

Atmospheric black carbon (BC) warms Earth's climate, and its reduction has been targeted for near-term climate change mitigation. Models that include forcing by BC assume internal mixing with non-BC aerosol components that enhance BC absorption, often by a factor of similar to 2; such model estimates have yet to be clearly validated through atmospheric observations. Here, direct in situ measurements of BC absorption enhancements (E-abs) and mixing state are reported for two California regions. The observed E-abs is small-6% on average at 532 nm-and increases weakly with photochemical aging. The E-abs is less than predicted from observationally constrained theoretical calculations, suggesting that many climate models may overestimate warming by BC. These ambient observations stand in contrast to laboratory measurements that show substantial E-abs for BC are possible