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Volume 16, issue 16
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 16, 10441-10454, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-16-10441-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 16, 10441-10454, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-16-10441-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 19 Aug 2016

Research article | 19 Aug 2016

Vertical profiles of black carbon measured by a micro-aethalometer in summer in the North China Plain

Liang Ran1, Zhaoze Deng1, Xiaobin Xu2, Peng Yan3, Weili Lin3, Ying Wang2, Ping Tian4, Pucai Wang1, Weilin Pan1, and Daren Lu1 Liang Ran et al.
  • 1Key Laboratory of Middle Atmosphere and Global Environment Observation, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 100029 Beijing, China
  • 2Key Laboratory for Atmospheric Chemistry, Institute of Atmospheric Composition, Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, 100081 Beijing, China
  • 3Meteorological Observation Center, China Meteorological Administration, 100081 Beijing, China
  • 4Beijing Weather Modification Office, 100089 Beijing, China

Abstract. Black carbon (BC) is a dominant absorber in the visible spectrum and a potent factor in climatic effects. Vertical profiles of BC were measured using a micro-aethalometer attached to a tethered balloon during the Vertical Observations of trace Gases and Aerosols (VOGA) field campaign, in summer 2014 at a semirural site in the North China Plain (NCP). The diurnal cycle of BC vertical distributions following the evolution of the mixing layer (ML) was investigated for the first time in the NCP region. Statistical parameters including identified mixing height (Hm) and average BC mass concentrations within the ML (Cm) and in the free troposphere (Cf) were obtained for a selected dataset of 67 vertical profiles. Hm was usually lower than 0.2km in the early morning and rapidly rose thereafter due to strengthened turbulence. The maximum height of the ML was reached in the late afternoon. The top of a full developed ML exceeded 1km on sunny days in summer, while it stayed much lower on cloudy  days. The sunset triggered the collapse of the ML, and a stable nocturnal boundary layer (NBL) gradually formed. Accordingly, the highest level Cm was found in the early morning and the lowest was found in the afternoon. In the daytime, BC was almost uniformly distributed within the ML and significantly decreased above the ML. During the field campaign, Cm averaged about 5.16±2.49µgm−3, with a range of 1.12 to 14.49µgm−3, comparable with observational results in many polluted urban areas such as Milan in Italy and Shanghai in China. As evening approached, BC gradually built up near the surface and exponentially declined with height. In contrast to the large variability found both in Hm and Cm, Cf stayed relatively unaffected through the day. Cf was less than 10% of the ground level under clean conditions, while it amounted to half of the ground level in some polluted cases. In situ measurements of BC vertical profiles would hopefully have an important implication for accurately estimating direct radiative forcing by BC and improving the retrieval of aerosol optical properties by remote sensing in this region.

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Vertical profiles of black carbon within 1 km above the ground were measured using a micro-aethalometer attached to a tethered balloon during the VOGA field campaign in summer 2014 at a semirural site in the North China Plain. The diurnal cycle of black carbon vertical distributions following the development of the mixing layer was analyzed for a selected dataset of 67 profiles.
Vertical profiles of black carbon within 1 km above the ground were measured using a...
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