Organic aerosols (OAs) in the atmosphere affect Earths energy budget by not only scattering but also absorbing solar radiation due to the presence of the so-called "brown carbon" (BrC) component. However, the absorptivities of OAs are not represented or are poorly represented in current climate and chemical transport models. In this study, we provide a method to constrain the BrC absorptivity at the emission inventory level using recent laboratory and field observations. We review available measurements of the light-absorbing primary OA (POA), and quantify the wavelength-dependent imaginary refractive indices (kOA, the fundamental optical parameter determining the particles absorptivity) and their uncertainties for the bulk POA emitted from biomass/biofuel, lignite, propane, and oil combustion sources. In particular, we parametrize the kOA of biomass/biofuel combustion sources as a function of the black carbon (BC)-to-OA ratio, indicating that the absorptive properties of POA depend strongly on burning conditions. The derived fuel-type-based kOA profiles are incorporated into a global carbonaceous aerosol emission inventory, and the integrated kOA values of sectoral and total POA emissions are presented. Results of a simple radiative transfer model show that the POA absorptivity warms the atmosphere significantly and leads to ∼27% reduction in the amount of the net global average POA cooling compared to results from the nonabsorbing assumption.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Chemistry