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Scientific journal publication

Recommendations for reporting equivalent black carbon (eBC) mass concentrations based on long-term pan-European in-situ observations

Savadkoohi, Marjan; Pandolfi, Marco; Favez, Olivier; Putaud, Jean-Philippe; Eleftheriadis, Konstantinos; Fiebig, Markus; Hopke, Philip K.; Laj, Paolo G.; Wiedensohler, Alfred; Alados-Arboledas, Lucas; Bastian, Susanne; Chazeau, Benjamin; Maria, Alvaro Clemente; Colombi, Cristina; Costabile, Francesca; Green, David C.; Hueglin, Christoph; Liakakou, Eleni; Luoma, Krista; Listrani, Stefano; Mihalopoulos, Nikos; Marchand, Nicolas; Močnik, Griša; Niemi, Jarkko V; Ondráček, Jakub; Petit, Jean Eudes; Rattigan, Oliver V.; Reche, Cristina; Timonen, Hilkka; Titos, Gloria; Tremper, Anja H.; Vratolis, Stergios; Vodicka, Petr; Funes, Eduardo Yubero; Zíková, Naděžda; Harrison, Roy M.; Petäjä, Tuukka; Alastuey, Andrés; Querol, Xavier

Publication details

Journal: Environment International, vol. 185, 108553, 2024

Arkiv: hdl.handle.net/11250/3121953
Doi: doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2024.108553

A reliable determination of equivalent black carbon (eBC) mass concentrations derived from filter absorption photometers (FAPs) measurements depends on the appropriate quantification of the mass absorption cross-section (MAC) for converting the absorption coefficient (babs) to eBC. This study investigates the spatial–temporal variability of the MAC obtained from simultaneous elemental carbon (EC) and babs measurements performed at 22 sites. We compared different methodologies for retrieving eBC integrating different options for calculating MAC including: locally derived, median value calculated from 22 sites, and site-specific rolling MAC. The eBC concentrations that underwent correction using these methods were identified as LeBC (local MAC), MeBC (median MAC), and ReBC (Rolling MAC) respectively. Pronounced differences (up to more than 50 %) were observed between eBC as directly provided by FAPs (NeBC; Nominal instrumental MAC) and ReBC due to the differences observed between the experimental and nominal MAC values. The median MAC was 7.8 ± 3.4 m2 g-1 from 12 aethalometers at 880 nm, and 10.6 ± 4.7 m2 g-1 from 10 MAAPs at 637 nm. The experimental MAC showed significant site and seasonal dependencies, with heterogeneous patterns between summer and winter in different regions. In addition, long-term trend analysis revealed statistically significant (s.s.) decreasing trends in EC. Interestingly, we showed that the corresponding corrected eBC trends are not independent of the way eBC is calculated due to the variability of MAC. NeBC and EC decreasing trends were consistent at sites with no significant trend in experimental MAC. Conversely, where MAC showed s.s. trend, the NeBC and EC trends were not consistent while ReBC concentration followed the same pattern as EC. These results underscore the importance of accounting for MAC variations when deriving eBC measurements from FAPs and emphasize the necessity of incorporating EC observations to constrain the uncertainty associated with eBC.