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https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-521
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-521
04 Mar 2024
 | 04 Mar 2024

Proportional relationships between carbonaceous aerosols and trace gases in city plumes of Europe and East Asia

Adrien Deroubaix, Marco Vountas, Benjamin Gaubert, Maria Dolores Andrés Hernández, Stephan Borrmann, Guy Brasseur, Bruna Holanda, Yugo Kanaya, Katharina Kaiser, Flora Kluge, Ovid Oktavian Krüger, Inga Labuhn, Michael Lichtenstern, Klaus Pfeilsticker, Mira Pöhlker, Hans Schlager, Johannes Schneider, Guillaume Siour, Basudev Swain, Paolo Tuccella, Kameswara S. Vinjamuri, Mihalis Vrekoussis, Benjamin Weyland, and John P. Burrows

Abstract. The concentration of carbonaceous aerosols, black carbon (BC) and organic aerosol (OA), in the atmosphere is related to co-emitted or co-produced trace gases. In this study, we investigate the most relevant proportional relationships between both BC and OA with the following trace gases: carbon monoxide (CO), formaldehyde (HCHO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), ozone (O3), and sulfur dioxide (SO2). One motivation for selecting these trace gases is that they can be observed using remote sensing measurements from satellite instrumentation, and could therefore be used to predict spatial changes in the amounts of BC and OA.

Airborne measurements are optimal for the analysis of both the composition of aerosols and trace gases in different environments ranging from unpolluted oceanic air masses to those in heavily polluted city plumes. The two aircraft campaigns of the EMeRGe (Effect of Megacities on the Transport and Transformation of Pollutants on the Regional to Global Scales) project have created a unique database, with flight plans dedicated to studying city plumes in two regions, Europe (2017) and East Asia (2018), along with identical instrumental payload.

Using linear regression analysis, three relevant relationships between carbonaceous aerosol and trace gases are identified:

- The BC/OA ratio observed in the Asian campaign is three times higher (≈ 0.3) than in the European campaign (≈ 0.1), whereas the Pearson correlation coefficient (R) between BC and OA is much higher in Europe (R ≈ 0.8) than in Asia (R ≈ 0.6).

- The CO/BC ratio is also observed higher in the Asian campaign (≈ 240) than in the European campaign (≈ 170), whereas the R-value between CO and BC is similar for both campaigns (R ≈ 0.7).

- The HCHO/OA ratio is similar in both campaigns (≈0.32), but the observed R-values between HCHO and OA is higher in Europe than in the Asia (R ≈ 0.7 compared to ≈ 0.3).

By focusing on heavily polluted air masses sampled downwind in the city plumes, the ratios between the observed carbonaceous aerosols and the five trace gases change, and the R-values increase with O3 for both BC and OA (R ≈ 0.5).

To assess the performance of atmospheric models with respect to the most relevant observed relationships, an air quality model ensemble is used to represent the current state of atmospheric modeling, consisting of two global and two regional simulations. The evaluation shows that these proportional relationships are not satisfactorily reproduced by the model ensemble. The relationships between BC and OA or between CO and BC are modeled with stronger correlations than the observed ones, and their higher ratios observed in Asia compared to Europe are not reproduced. Furthermore, the modeled HCHO/OA ratio is underestimated in the Asian campaign and overestimated in the European campaign.

This analysis of the proportional relationships between carbonaceous aerosols and trace gases implies that the observed relationships can be used to constrain models and improve anthropogenic emission inventories. In addition, it implies that information about the lower tropospheric concentration of carbonaceous aerosols can potentially be inferred from satellite retrievals of trace gases, particularly in the plumes from megacities.

Publisher's note: Copernicus Publications remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims made in the text, published maps, institutional affiliations, or any other geographical representation in this preprint. The responsibility to include appropriate place names lies with the authors.
Adrien Deroubaix, Marco Vountas, Benjamin Gaubert, Maria Dolores Andrés Hernández, Stephan Borrmann, Guy Brasseur, Bruna Holanda, Yugo Kanaya, Katharina Kaiser, Flora Kluge, Ovid Oktavian Krüger, Inga Labuhn, Michael Lichtenstern, Klaus Pfeilsticker, Mira Pöhlker, Hans Schlager, Johannes Schneider, Guillaume Siour, Basudev Swain, Paolo Tuccella, Kameswara S. Vinjamuri, Mihalis Vrekoussis, Benjamin Weyland, and John P. Burrows

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-521', Anonymous Referee #1, 16 Apr 2024
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-521', Anonymous Referee #2, 19 Apr 2024
Adrien Deroubaix, Marco Vountas, Benjamin Gaubert, Maria Dolores Andrés Hernández, Stephan Borrmann, Guy Brasseur, Bruna Holanda, Yugo Kanaya, Katharina Kaiser, Flora Kluge, Ovid Oktavian Krüger, Inga Labuhn, Michael Lichtenstern, Klaus Pfeilsticker, Mira Pöhlker, Hans Schlager, Johannes Schneider, Guillaume Siour, Basudev Swain, Paolo Tuccella, Kameswara S. Vinjamuri, Mihalis Vrekoussis, Benjamin Weyland, and John P. Burrows
Adrien Deroubaix, Marco Vountas, Benjamin Gaubert, Maria Dolores Andrés Hernández, Stephan Borrmann, Guy Brasseur, Bruna Holanda, Yugo Kanaya, Katharina Kaiser, Flora Kluge, Ovid Oktavian Krüger, Inga Labuhn, Michael Lichtenstern, Klaus Pfeilsticker, Mira Pöhlker, Hans Schlager, Johannes Schneider, Guillaume Siour, Basudev Swain, Paolo Tuccella, Kameswara S. Vinjamuri, Mihalis Vrekoussis, Benjamin Weyland, and John P. Burrows

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Short summary
This study explores the proportional relationships between carbonaceous aerosols (black and organic carbon) and trace gases using airborne measurements from two campaigns in Europe and East Asia. Differences between regions were found, but air quality models struggled to reproduce them accurately. We show that these proportional relationships can help to constrain models and can be used to infer aerosol concentrations from satellite observations of trace gases, especially in urban areas.