U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights


State of Carbonaceous Aerosols in California
Published: November 21, 2012
Posted: March 26, 2013

Researchers, including U.S. Department of Energy scientists from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, used two aircraft-based field campaigns to understand the distribution and mixing state of carbonaceous aerosols in California. One campaign sampled aerosols over southern California to understand the role of particle composition on air quality and climate change. The other campaign followed the evolution of organics and soot as urban emissions were transported from Sacramento into the Sierra Nevada foothills. These studies, conducted in May and June 2010, assessed the particle mixing state throughout most of California. Even though atmospheric particle composition in both regions was influenced by urban sources, the mixing state was found to vary greatly. Nitrate and soot were the dominant species in southern California, while sulfate and organics were more prevalent in northern California. The mixing state varied temporally in northern California, where soot mixed with organics became the prevalent particle type toward the end of the study as regional pollution levels increased. Nearly 97% of submicron particles contained carbonaceous material, and nearly 88% of all particles sampled showed signs of atmospheric aging. These studies demonstrate that the majority of ambient carbonaceous particles in California are internally mixed and heavily influenced by the secondary species that are most prevalent in this particular region. Considerations of regionally dominant sources and secondary species, as well as temporal variations of aerosol physical and optical properties, will be required to obtain more accurate predictions of aerosol climate impacts in California and elsewhere.

Reference: Cahill, J. F., K. Suski, J. H. Seinfeld, R. A. Zaveri, and K. A. Prather. 2012. “The Mixing State of Carbonaceous Aerosol Particles in Northern and Southern California Measured During CARES and CalNex 2010,” Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 12, 10989–11002. DOI: 10.5194/acp-12-10989-2012, 2012. (Reference link)

Contact: Rickey Petty, SC-23.1, (301) 903-5548, Ashley Williamson, SC-23.1, (301) 903-3120
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Atmospheric System Research
  • Facility: DOE ARM User Facility

Division: SC-23.1 Climate and Environmental Sciences Division, BER

 

BER supports basic research and scientific user facilities to advance DOE missions in energy and environment. More about BER

Recent Highlights

May 10, 2019
Quantifying Decision Uncertainty in Water Management via a Coupled Agent-Based Model
Considering risk perception can improve the representation of human decision-making processes in age [more...]

May 09, 2019
Projecting Global Urban Area Growth Through 2100 Based on Historical Time Series Data and Future Scenarios
Study provides country-specific urban area growth models and the first dataset on country-level urba [more...]

May 05, 2019
Calibrating Building Energy Demand Models to Refine Long-Term Energy Planning
A new, flexible calibration approach improved model accuracy in capturing year-to-year changes in bu [more...]

May 03, 2019
Calibration and Uncertainty Analysis of Demeter for Better Downscaling of Global Land Use and Land Cover Projections
Researchers improved the Demeter model’s performance by calibrating key parameters and establi [more...]

Apr 22, 2019
Representation of U.S. Warm Temperature Extremes in Global Climate Model Ensembles
Representation of warm temperature events varies considerably among global climate models, which has [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)