Refractory black carbon aerosols in rainwater in the summer of 2019 in Beijing: Mass concentration, size distribution and wet scavenging ratio

Xiaole Pan , Shandong Lei , Baozhu Ge , Hang Liu , Jiannong Quan , Danhui Xu , Yuting Zhang , Weijie Yao , Lu Lei , Yu Tian , Qi Liao , Xiaoyong Liu , Jie Li , Jinyuan Xin , Yele Sun , Pingqing Fu , Junji Cao , Zifa Wang


Received September 14, 2021,Revised , Accepted July 22, 2022, Available online August 12, 2022

Volume 35,2023,Pages 31-42

Black carbon (BC) aerosols in the atmosphere play a significant role in climate systems due to their strong ability to absorb solar radiation. The lifetime of BC depends on atmospheric transport, aging and consequently on wet scavenging processes (in-cloud and below-cloud scavenging). In this study, sequential rainwater samples in eight rainfall events collected in 2 mm interval were measured by a tandem system including a single particle soot photometer (SP2) and a nebulizer. The results showed that the volume-weighted average (VWA) mass concentrations of refractory black carbon (rBC) in each rainfall event varied, ranging from 10.8 to 78.9 µg/L. The highest rBC concentrations in the rainwater samples typically occurred in the first fraction from individual rainfall events. The geometric mean median mass-equivalent diameter (MMD) decreased under precipitation, indicating that rBC with larger sizes was relatively aged and preferentially removed by wet scavenging. A positive correlation (R2 = 0.73) between the VWA mass concentrations of rBC in rainwater and that in ambient air suggested the important contribution of scavenging process. Additionally, the contributions of in-cloud and below-cloud scavenging were distinguished and accounted for 74% and 26% to wet scavenging, respectively. The scavenging ratio of rBC particles was estimated to be 0.06 on average. This study provides helpful information for better understanding the mechanism of rBC wet scavenging and reducing the uncertainty of numerical simulations of the climate effects of rBC.

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