Export efficiency of black carbon aerosol in continental outflow: Global implications

R. J. Park, D. J. Jacob, P. I. Palmer, A. D. Clarke, R. J. Weber, M. A. Zondlo, F. L. Eisele, A. R. Bandy, D. C. Thornton, G. W. Sachse, T. C. Bond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We use aircraft observations of Asian outflow from the NASA Transport and Chemical Evolution over the Pacific (TRACE-P) mission over the NW Pacific in March–April 2001 to estimate the export efficiency of black carbon (BC) aerosol during lifting to the free troposphere, as limited by scavenging from the wet processes (warm conveyor belts and convection) associated with this lifting. Our estimate is based on the enhancement ratio of BC relative to CO in Asian outflow observed at different altitudes and is normalized to the enhancement ratio observed in boundary layer outflow (0–1 km). We similarly estimate export efficiencies of sulfur oxides (SOx = SO2(g) + fine SO42−) and total inorganic nitrate (HNO3T = HNO3(g) + fine NO3−) for comparison to BC. Normalized export efficiencies for BC are 0.63–0.74 at 2–4 km altitude and 0.27–0.38 at 4–6 km. Values at 2–4 km altitude are higher than for SOx (0.48–0.66) and HNO3T (0.29–0.62), implying that BC is scavenged in wet updrafts but not as efficiently as sulfate or nitrate. Simulation of the TRACE-P period with a global three-dimensional model (GEOS-CHEM) indicates that a model timescale of 1 ± 1 days for conversion of fresh hydrophobic to hydrophilic BC provides a successful fit to the export efficiencies observed in TRACE-P. The resulting mean atmospheric lifetime of BC is 5.8 ± 1.8 days, the global burden is 0.11 ± 0.03 Tg C, and the decrease in Arctic snow albedo due to BC deposition is 3.1 ± 2.5%.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberD11205
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Issue numberD11
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jun 2005

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