Inferring absorbing organic carbon content from AERONET data A. Arola1, G. Schuster2, G. Myhre3, S. Kazadzis4, S. Dey5, and S. N. Tripathi6,7 1Finnish Meteorological Institute, P.O. Box 1627, 70211 Kuopio, Finland 2NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA 23681, USA 3Center for International Climate and Environmental Research–Oslo (CICERO), Blindern, 0318 Oslo, Norway 4Institute for Environmental Research & Sustainable Development, National Observatory of Athens, 15236 Athens, Greece 5Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Urbana, IL, USA 6NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20770, USA 7Department of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur-208016, India
Abstract. Black carbon, light-absorbing organic carbon (often called "brown carbon") and mineral dust are
the major light-absorbing aerosols. Currently the sources and formation of brown carbon aerosol
in particular are not well understood. In this study we estimated the amount of
light–absorbing organic carbon and black carbon from AERONET measurements. We find that the
columnar absorbing organic carbon (brown carbon) levels
in biomass burning regions of South America and Africa are relatively high (about 15–20 mg m−2
during biomass burning season), while the
concentrations are significantly lower in urban areas in US and Europe. However, we estimated significant
absorbing organic carbon amounts from the data of megacities of newly industrialized
countries, particularly in India and China, showing also clear seasonality with peak values
up to 30–35 mg m−2 during the coldest season, likely caused by the coal and biofuel burning used for heating.
We also compared our retrievals with the modeled organic carbon by the
global Oslo CTM for several sites. Model values are higher in biomass burning regions than
AERONET-based retrievals, while the opposite is true in urban areas in India and China.
Citation: Arola, A., Schuster, G., Myhre, G., Kazadzis, S., Dey, S., and Tripathi, S. N.: Inferring absorbing organic carbon content from AERONET data, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 215-225, doi:10.5194/acp-11-215-2011, 2011.