Anthropogenic aerosols from the burning of fossil fuels contribute to climate forcing by both scattering and absorbing solar radiation, and estimates of climate forcing by light-absorbing primary particles have recently been published. While the mass and optical properties of emissions are needed for these studies, the available measurements do not characterize the low-technology burning that is thought to contribute a large fraction of light-absorbing material to the global budget. We have measured characteristics of particulate matter (PM) emitted from a small, low- technology lignite-burning plant. The PM emission factor is comparable to those used to calculate emission inventories of light-absorbing particles. However, the fine fraction, the absorbing fraction, and the absorption efficiency of the emissions are substantially below assumptions that have been made in inventories of black carbon emissions and calculations of climate forcing. The measurements suggest that nonblack, light-absorbing particles are emitted from low-technology coal burning. As the burning rate increases, the emitted absorption cross-section decreases, and the wavelength dependence of absorption becomes closer to that of black particles.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Chemistry