Size-resolved chemical composition, effective density, and optical properties of biomass burning particles

Other literature type English OPEN
Zhai, Jinghao ; Lu, Xiaohui ; Li, Ling ; Zhang, Qi ; Zhang, Ci ; Chen, Hong ; Yang, Xin ; Chen, Jianmin (2016)

Biomass burning aerosol has important impact on the global radiative budget. A better understanding of the mixing state and chemical composition of biomass burning particles relative to their optical properties is the goal of a number of current studies. In this work, effective density, chemical composition, and optical properties of rice straw burning particles in the size range of 50&ndash;400&thinsp;nm were measured using a suite of comprehensive methods. A Differential Mobility Analyzer (DMA)-Aerosol Particle Mass analyzer (APM)-Condensation Particle Counter (CPC) system offered detailed information on the effective density as well as mixing state of size-resolved particles. The effective density and chemical composition of individual particles were characterized with a DMA in-line with a Single Particle Aerosol Mass Spectrometer (SPAMS), simultaneously. The multiple modes observed in the size-resolved particle effective density distribution indicated size-dependent external mixing of black carbon (BC), organic carbon (OC) and potassium salts in particles. Particles of 50&thinsp;nm had the smallest effective density (1.16&thinsp;g/cm<sup>3</sup>), due to a relative large proportion of aggregate BC. The average effective densities of 100&ndash;400&thinsp;nm particles ranged from 1.35&ndash;1.51&thinsp;g/cm<sup>3</sup> with OC and inorganic salts as dominant components. Both density distribution and single-particle mass spectrometry showed more complex mixing states in larger particles. Upon heating, the separation of the effective density distribution modes testified the existence of less volatile BC or soot and potassium salts. Size-resolved optical properties of biomass burning particles were measured by the Cavity Attenuated Phase Shift spectroscopy (CAPS, λ&thinsp;=&thinsp;450 & 530&thinsp;nm). The single scattering albedo (SSA) showed the lowest value for 50 nm particles (0.741&thinsp;±&thinsp;0.007 & 0.889&thinsp;±&thinsp;0.006) because of larger proportion of BC content. Brown carbon played an important role for the SSA of 100&ndash;400&thinsp;nm particles. The Ångström absorption exponent (AAE) values for all particles were above 1.6, indicating the significant presence of brown carbon. Though freshly emitted, the light absorption enhancement (E<sub>abs</sub>) was observed for particles larger than 200&thinsp;nm. Concurrent measurements in our work provide a basis for discussing the physicochemical properties of biomass burning aerosol and its effects on global climate and atmospheric environment.
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