Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-1327
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-1327
16 May 2024
 | 16 May 2024
Status: this preprint is open for discussion and under review for Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Light-absorbing black carbon and brown carbon components of smoke aerosol from DSCOVR EPIC measurements over North America and Central Africa

Myungje Choi, Alexei Lyapustin, Gregory L. Schuster, Sujung Go, Yujie Wang, Sergey Korkin, Ralph Kahn, Jeffrey S. Reid, Edward J. Hyer, Thomas F. Eck, Mian Chin, David J. Diner, Olga Kalashnikova, Oleg Dubovik, Jhoon Kim, and Hans Moosmüller

Abstract. Wildfires and agricultural burning generate seemingly increasing smoke aerosol emissions, impacting societal and natural ecosystems. To understand smoke’s effects on climate and public health, we analyzed the spatiotemporal distribution of smoke aerosols, focusing on two major light-absorbing components, black carbon (BC) and brown carbon (BrC) aerosols. Using NASA’s Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) instrument aboard the NOAA’s Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) spacecraft, we inferred BC and BrC volume fractions and particle mass concentrations based on spectral absorption provided by the Multi-Angle Implementation of Atmospheric Correction (MAIAC) algorithm with 1–2 hours temporal resolution and ~10 km spatial resolution over North America and Central Africa. Our analyses of regional smoke properties reveal distinct characteristics for aerosol optical depth (AOD) at 443 nm, spectral single scattering albedo (SSA), aerosol layer height (ALH), and BC and BrC amounts. Smoke cases in North America show extremely high AOD up to 6, with elevated ALH (6–7 km) and significant BrC components up to 250 mg/m2 along the transport paths, whereas the smoke aerosols in Central Africa exhibited stronger light absorption (i.e., lower SSA) and lower AOD, resulting in higher BC mass concentrations and similar BrC mass concentrations than the cases in North America. Seasonal burning source locations in Central Africa following the seasonal shift of Inter Tropical Convergence Zone and diurnal variations in smoke amounts were also captured. Comparison of retrieved AOD443, SSA443, SSA680, and ALH with collocated AERONET and CALIOP measurements shows agreement with rmse of 0.2, 0.03–0.04, 0.02–0.04, and 0.8–1.3 km, respectively. Analysis of spatiotemporally average reveals distinct geographical characteristics in smoke properties closely linked to burning types and meteorological conditions. Forest wildfires over western North America generated smoke with small BC volume fraction of 0.011 and high ALH with large variability (2.2 ± 1.2 km), whereas smoke from wildfires and agricultural burning over Mexico region shows more absorption and low ALH. Smoke from savanna fires over Central Africa has the most absorption with high BC volume fraction (0.015) and low ALH with small variation (1.8 ± 0.6 km) among the analyzed regions. Tropical forest smoke was less absorbing and had a high variance in ALH. We also quantify the estimation uncertainties related to the assumptions of BC and BrC refractive indices. The MAIAC EPIC smoke properties with BC and BrC volume and mass fractions and assessment of layer height provide observational constraints for radiative forcing modeling and air quality and health studies.

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Myungje Choi, Alexei Lyapustin, Gregory L. Schuster, Sujung Go, Yujie Wang, Sergey Korkin, Ralph Kahn, Jeffrey S. Reid, Edward J. Hyer, Thomas F. Eck, Mian Chin, David J. Diner, Olga Kalashnikova, Oleg Dubovik, Jhoon Kim, and Hans Moosmüller

Status: open (until 27 Jun 2024)

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  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-1327', Anonymous Referee #1, 05 Jun 2024 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-1327', Anonymous Referee #2, 08 Jun 2024 reply
Myungje Choi, Alexei Lyapustin, Gregory L. Schuster, Sujung Go, Yujie Wang, Sergey Korkin, Ralph Kahn, Jeffrey S. Reid, Edward J. Hyer, Thomas F. Eck, Mian Chin, David J. Diner, Olga Kalashnikova, Oleg Dubovik, Jhoon Kim, and Hans Moosmüller
Myungje Choi, Alexei Lyapustin, Gregory L. Schuster, Sujung Go, Yujie Wang, Sergey Korkin, Ralph Kahn, Jeffrey S. Reid, Edward J. Hyer, Thomas F. Eck, Mian Chin, David J. Diner, Olga Kalashnikova, Oleg Dubovik, Jhoon Kim, and Hans Moosmüller

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Short summary
This paper introduces a retrieval algorithm to estimate two key absorbing components in smoke, black carbon and brown carbon, using DSCOVR EPIC measurements. Our analysis reveals distinct smoke properties, including spectral absorption, layer height, and black carbon and brown carbon, over North America and Central Africa. The retrieved smoke properties offer valuable observational constraints for modeling radiative forcing and informing health-related studies.