Sources and Radiative Absorption of Water-Soluble Brown Carbon in the High Arctic Atmosphere

Siyao Yue, Srinivas Bikkina, Meng Gao, Leonard A. Barrie, Kimitaka Kawamura, Pingqing Fu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Brown carbon (BrC) is a source of light-absorbing aerosols. The Arctic is more sensitive to emissions of light-absorbing aerosols than lower latitudes. Knowledge of BrC in a historical period is beneficial to understand its role in a changing climate. Here, we present measurement of water-soluble BrC (WS-BrC) for the Arctic aerosols during late winter-late spring in 1991. Mass absorption coefficient (0.07 ± 0.04 M/m) and efficiency (0.41 ± 0.21 m2/g) at 365 nm of WS-BrC were lower than those in polluted urban and rural regions. WS-BrC was mainly from biomass burning/combustion (dark winter to mid-March) and marine sources connected with photochemical gas to particle conversion (after polar sunrise to June). Solar radiative absorption of WS-BrC relative to elemental carbon was 5% on average in February to April and surged to 34% after mid-May. This study helps in understanding the role of BrC in the Arctic climate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14881-14891
Number of pages11
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 28 Dec 2019

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • biomass burning
  • brown carbon
  • Canadian high Arctic
  • fossil fuel combustion
  • organic aerosol


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