Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2021-151
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2021-151

  08 Jun 2021

08 Jun 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal AMT.

Inferring the absorption properties of organic aerosol in biomass burning plumes from remote optical observations

Igor B. Konovalov1, Nikolai A. Golovushkin1, Matthias Beekmann2, Mikhail V. Panchenko3, and Meinrat O. Andreae4,5,6 Igor B. Konovalov et al.
  • 1Institute of Applied Physics, Russian Academy of Sciences, Nizhny Novgorod, 603950, Russia
  • 2Laboratoire Interuniversitaire des Systèmes Atmosphériques (LISA), UMR 7583, CNRS, Université Paris-Est Créteil, Université de Paris, Institut Pierre Simon Laplace, 94010, Créteil, France
  • 3V. E. Zuev Institute of Atmospheric Optics SB RAS, Tomsk, Russia
  • 4Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Mainz, Germany
  • 5Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA
  • 6Department of Geology and Geophysics, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Abstract. Light-absorbing organic matter, known as brown carbon (BrC), has previously been found to significantly enhance the absorption of solar radiation by biomass burning (BB) aerosol. Previous studies also proposed methods aimed at constraining the BrC contribution to the overall aerosol absorption using the absorption Ångström exponents (AAEs) derived from the multi-wavelength remote observations at Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET). However, representations of the BrC absorption in atmospheric models remain uncertain, particularly due to the high variability of the absorption properties of BB organic aerosol (OA). As a result, there is a need for stronger observational constraints on these properties. We extend the concept of the established AAE-based methods in the framework of our Bayesian method, which combines remote optical observations with Monte Carlo simulations of the aerosol absorption properties. We propose that the observational constraints on the absorption properties of BB OA can be enhanced by using the single scattering albedo (SSA) as part of the observation vector. The capabilities of our method were first examined by using synthetic data, which were intended to represent the absorption properties of BB aerosol originating from wildfires in Siberia. We found that observations of AAEs and SSA can provide efficient constraints not only on the BrC contribution to the total absorption but also on both the imaginary part of the refractive index and mass absorption efficiency of OA. As a result of the subsequent application of our method to the original multi-annual data from Siberian AERONET sites, we estimated that the average contribution of BrC to the overall light absorption by BB aerosol in Siberia at the 440 nm wavelength is about 15 %, although, in some cases, it can be more than 30 %. Based on the analysis of the AERONET data, we also derived simple nonlinear parameterizations for the absorption characteristics of BB OA in Siberia as functions of AAE.

Igor B. Konovalov et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on amt-2021-151', Anonymous Referee #2, 07 Jul 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on amt-2021-151', Anonymous Referee #1, 15 Jul 2021
    • CC1: 'Reply on RC2', Igor Konovalov, 17 Jul 2021
      • RC3: 'Reply on CC1', Anonymous Referee #1, 19 Jul 2021

Igor B. Konovalov et al.

Igor B. Konovalov et al.

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Short summary
The absorption of solar light by organic matter, known as brown carbon (BrC), contributes significantly to the radiative budget of the Earth’s atmosphere but its representation in atmospheric models is uncertain. This paper advances a methodology to constrain model parameters characterizing BrC absorption of atmospheric aerosol originating from biomass burning with the available remote ground-based observations of atmospheric aerosol.