Journal cover Journal topic
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 15, 10281-10308, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-15-10281-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
17 Sep 2015
Constraining black carbon aerosol over Asia using OMI aerosol absorption optical depth and the adjoint of GEOS-Chem
L. Zhang1,2, D. K. Henze1, G. A. Grell2, G. R. Carmichael3, N. Bousserez1, Q. Zhang4, O. Torres5, C. Ahn6, Z. Lu7, J. Cao8, and Y. Mao9,10 1Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA
2Global Systems Division, Earth System Research Laboratory, NOAA, Boulder, CO, USA
3Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA
4Center for Earth System Science, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China
5NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, USA
6Science Systems and Applications, Inc., Lanham, MD, USA
7Energy Systems Division, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, IL, USA
8Key Lab of Aerosol Chemistry & Physics, Institute of Earth Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xi'an, China
9Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA
10State Key Laboratory of Atmospheric Boundary Layer Physics and Atmospheric Chemistry, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
Abstract. Accurate estimates of the emissions and distribution of black carbon (BC) in the region referred to here as Southeastern Asia (70–150° E, 11° S–55° N) are critical to studies of the atmospheric environment and climate change. Analysis of modeled BC concentrations compared to in situ observations indicates levels are underestimated over most of Southeast Asia when using any of four different emission inventories. We thus attempt to reduce uncertainties in BC emissions and improve BC model simulations by developing top-down, spatially resolved, estimates of BC emissions through assimilation of OMI (Ozone Monitoring Instrument) observations of aerosol absorption optical depth (AAOD) with the GEOS-Chem (Goddard Earth Observing System – chemistry) model and its adjoint for April and October 2006. Overwhelming enhancements, up to 500 %, in anthropogenic BC emissions are shown after optimization over broad areas of Southeast Asia in April. In October, the optimization of anthropogenic emissions yields a slight reduction (1–5 %) over India and parts of southern China, while emissions increase by 10–50 % over eastern China. Observational data from in situ measurements and AERONET (Aerosol Robotic Network) observations are used to evaluate the BC inversions and assess the bias between OMI and AERONET AAOD. Low biases in BC concentrations are improved or corrected in most eastern and central sites over China after optimization, while the constrained model still underestimates concentrations in Indian sites in both April and October, possibly as a consequence of low prior emissions. Model resolution errors may contribute up to a factor of 2.5 to the underestimation of surface BC concentrations over northern India. We also compare the optimized results using different anthropogenic emission inventories and discuss the sensitivity of top-down constraints on anthropogenic emissions with respect to biomass burning emissions. In addition, the impacts of brown carbon, the formulation of the observation operator, and different a priori constraints on the optimization are investigated. Overall, despite these limitations and uncertainties, using OMI AAOD to constrain BC sources improves model representation of BC distributions, particularly over China.

Citation: Zhang, L., Henze, D. K., Grell, G. A., Carmichael, G. R., Bousserez, N., Zhang, Q., Torres, O., Ahn, C., Lu, Z., Cao, J., and Mao, Y.: Constraining black carbon aerosol over Asia using OMI aerosol absorption optical depth and the adjoint of GEOS-Chem, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 15, 10281-10308, https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-15-10281-2015, 2015.
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Short summary
We attempt to reduce uncertainties in BC emissions and improve BC model simulations by developing top-down, spatially resolved, estimates of BC emissions through assimilation of OMI observations of aerosol absorption optical depth (AAOD) with the GEOS-Chem model and its adjoint for April and October of 2006. Despite the limitations and uncertainties, using OMI AAOD to constrain BC sources we are able to improve model representation of BC distributions, particularly over China.
We attempt to reduce uncertainties in BC emissions and improve BC model simulations by...
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