Recent Published Articles

Evaluating the performance and influencing factors of three portable black carbon monitors for field measurement

Chong Wang , Liqing Wu , Yicheng Shen , Fei Che , Yuzhe Zhang , Jian Gao


Received December 01, 2022,Revised , Accepted May 30, 2023, Available online June 07, 2023

Volume 36,2024,Pages 320-333

Black carbon (BC) is associated with adverse human health and climate change. Mapping BC spatial distribution imperatively requires low-cost and portable devices. Several portable BC monitors are commercially available, but their accuracy and reliability are not always satisfactory during continuous field observation. This study evaluated three models of portable black carbon monitors, C12, MA350 and DST, and investigates the factors that affect their performance. The monitors were tested in urban Beijing, where portable devices running for one month alongside a regular-size reference aethalometer AE33. The study considers several factors that could influence the monitors' performance, including ambient weather, aerosol composition, loading artifacts, and built-in algorithms. The results show that MA350 and DST present considerable discrepancies to the reference instrument, mainly occurring at lower concentrations (0–500 ng/m3) and higher concentrations (2500–8000 ng/m3), respectively. These discrepancies were likely caused by the anomalous noise of MA350 and the loading artifacts of DST. The study also suggests that the ambient environment has limited influence on the monitors' performance, but loading artifacts and accompanying compensation algorithms can result in unrealistic data. Based on the evaluation, the study suggests that C12 is the best choice for unsupervised field measurement, DST should be used in scenarios where frequent maintenance is available, and MA350 is suitable for research purposes with post-processing applicable. The study highlights the importance of assigning portable BC monitors to appropriate applications and the need for optimized real-time compensation algorithms.

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