AGW Observer

Observations of anthropogenic global warming

Papers on black carbon

Posted by Ari Jokimäki on February 5, 2010

This is a list of papers on the climatic effects of black carbon. This subject was suggested by Kaj Luukko in this thread. The list is not complete, and will most likely be updated in the future in order to make it more thorough and more representative.

Evaluation of black carbon estimations in global aerosol models – Koch et al. (2009) “We evaluate black carbon (BC) model predictions from the AeroCom model intercomparison project by considering the diversity among year 2000 model simulations and comparing model predictions with available measurements. … In regions other than Asia, most models are biased high compared to surface concentration measurements. However compared with (column) AAOD or BC burden retreivals, the models are generally biased low.” [Full text]

Global and regional climate changes due to black carbon – Ramanathan & Carmichael (2008) A review paper. “Anthropogenic sources of black carbon, although distributed globally, are most concentrated in the tropics where solar irradiance is highest. … Because of the combination of high absorption, a regional distribution roughly aligned with solar irradiance, and the capacity to form widespread atmospheric brown clouds in a mixture with other aerosols, emissions of black carbon are the second strongest contribution to current global warming, after carbon dioxide emissions.” [Full text]

Present-day climate forcing and response from black carbon in snow – Flanner et al. (2007) “We apply our Snow, Ice, and Aerosol Radiative (SNICAR) model, coupled to a general circulation model with prognostic carbon aerosol transport, to improve understanding of climate forcing and response from black carbon (BC) in snow. … Applying biomass burning BC emission inventories for a strong (1998) and weak (2001) boreal fire year, we estimate global annual mean BC/snow surface radiative forcing from all sources (fossil fuel, biofuel, and biomass burning) of +0.054 (0.007–0.13) and +0.049 (0.007–0.12) W m−2, respectively.” [Full text]

20th-Century Industrial Black Carbon Emissions Altered Arctic Climate Forcing – McConnell et al. (2007) “Black carbon (BC) from biomass and fossil fuel combustion alters chemical and physical properties of the atmosphere and snow albedo, yet little is known about its emission or deposition histories. Measurements of BC, vanillic acid, and non–sea-salt sulfur in ice cores indicate that sources and concentrations of BC in Greenland precipitation varied greatly since 1788 as a result of boreal forest fires and industrial activities. Beginning about 1850, industrial emissions resulted in a sevenfold increase in ice-core BC concentrations, with most change occurring in winter. BC concentrations after about 1951 were lower but increasing. At its maximum from 1906 to 1910, estimated surface climate forcing in early summer from BC in Arctic snow was about 3 watts per square meter, which is eight times the typical preindustrial forcing value.” [Supporting information]

Aerosol organic carbon to black carbon ratios: Analysis of published data and implications for climate forcing – Novakov et al. (2005) “Measurements of organic carbon (OC) and black carbon (BC) concentrations over a variety of locations worldwide have been analyzed to infer the spatial distributions of the ratios of OC to BC. Since these ratios determine the relative amounts of scattering and absorption, they are often used to estimate the radiative forcing due to aerosols. … The OC to BC ratios, ranging from 1.3 to 2.4, appear relatively constant and are generally unaffected by seasonality, sources, or technology changes, at the locations considered here. The ratios compare well with emission inventories over Europe and China but are a factor of 2 lower in other regions. The reduced estimate for OC/BC in aerosols strengthens the argument that reduction of soot emissions maybe a useful approach to slow global warming.” [Full text]

Climate response of direct radiative forcing of anthropogenic black carbon – Chung & Seinfeld (2005) “The equilibrium climate effect of direct radiative forcing of anthropogenic black carbon (BC) is examined by 100-year simulations in the Goddard Institute for Space Studies General Circulation Model II-prime coupled to a mixed-layer ocean model. … The climate sensitivity of BC direct radiative forcing is calculated to be 0.6 K W−1 m2, which is about 70% of that of CO2, independent of the assumption of BC mixing state. The largest surface temperature response occurs over the northern high latitudes during winter and early spring.” [Full text]

Climate sensitivity to black carbon aerosol from fossil fuel combustion – Roberts & Jones (2004) “However, it is unclear how the climate sensitivity to black carbon aerosol forcing compares with the sensitivity to greenhouse gas forcing. Here we investigate this question using the HadSM4 configuration of the Hadley Centre climate model, extended by the addition of interactive black carbon and sulphate aerosol schemes. The results confirm earlier suggestions that the climate sensitivities are not necessarily similar and indicate that the black carbon sensitivity may be weaker.”

A modeling study on the climate impacts of black carbon aerosols – Wang (2004) “A three-dimensional interactive aerosol-climate model has been developed and used to study the climatic impact of black carbon (BC) aerosols. When compared with the model’s natural variability, significant global-scale changes caused by BC aerosols occurred in surface latent and sensible heat flux, surface net long-wave radiative flux, planetary boundary layer height, convective precipitation (all negative), and low-cloud coverage (positive), all closely related to the hydrological cycle. … The result of this study suggests that with a constant annual emission of 14 TgC, BC aerosols do not cause a significant change in global-mean surface temperature. The calculated surface temperature change is determined by a subtle balance among changes in surface energy budget as well as in the hydrological cycle, all caused by BC forcing and often compensate each other. The result of this study shows that the influences of BC aerosols on climate and environment are more significant in regional scale than in global scale.” [Full text]

Global atmospheric black carbon inferred from AERONET – Sato et al. (2003) “The spectral range of AERONET allows discrimination between constituents that absorb most strongly in the UV region, such as soil dust and organic carbon, and the more ubiquitously absorbing black carbon (BC). … We find that the amount of BC in current climatologies must be increased by a factor of 2–4 to yield best agreement with AERONET, in the approximation in which BC is externally mixed with other aerosols. The inferred climate forcing by BC, regardless of whether it is internally or externally mixed, is ≈1 W/m2, most of which is probably anthropogenic.” [Full text]

Large historical changes of fossil-fuel black carbon aerosols – Novakov et al. (2003) “We estimate historical trends of fossil-fuel BC emissions in six regions that represent about two-thirds of present day emissions and extrapolate these to global emissions from 1875 onward. Qualitative features in these trends show rapid increase in the latter part of the 1800s, the leveling off in the first half of the 1900s, and the re-acceleration in the past 50 years as China and India developed. We find that historical changes of fuel utilization have caused large temporal change in aerosol absorption, and thus substantial change of aerosol single scatter albedo in some regions, which suggests that BC may have contributed to global temperature changes in the past century.” [Full text]

Climate Effects of Black Carbon Aerosols in China and India – Menon et al. (2002) “In recent decades, there has been a tendency toward increased summer floods in south China, increased drought in north China, and moderate cooling in China and India while most of the world has been warming. We used a global climate model to investigate possible aerosol contributions to these trends. We found precipitation and temperature changes in the model that were comparable to those observed if the aerosols included a large proportion of absorbing black carbon (“soot”), similar to observed amounts. Absorbing aerosols heat the air, alter regional atmospheric stability and vertical motions, and affect the large-scale circulation and hydrologic cycle with significant regional climate effects.” [Full text]

Strong radiative heating due to the mixing state of black carbon in atmospheric aerosols – Jacobson (2001) “Here I simulate the evolution of the chemical composition of aerosols, finding that the mixing state and direct forcing of the black-carbon component approach those of an internal mixture, largely due to coagulation and growth of aerosol particles. This finding implies a higher positive forcing from black carbon than previously thought, suggesting that the warming effect from black carbon may nearly balance the net cooling effect of other anthropogenic aerosol constituents. The magnitude of the direct radiative forcing from black carbon itself exceeds that due to CH4, suggesting that black carbon may be the second most important component of global warming after CO2 in terms of direct forcing.”

A global black carbon aerosol model – Cooke & Wilson (1996) “A global inventory has been constructed for emissions of black carbon from fossil fuel combustion and biomass burning. … The modeled values of black carbon mass concentration compare within a factor of 2 in continental regions and some remote regions but are higher than measured values in other remote marine regions and in the upper troposphere.” [Full text]

Effect of black carbon on the optical properties and climate forcing of sulfate aerosols – Chýlek et al. (1995) “We study the optical properties of anthropogenic sulfate aerosols containing black carbon using a recently developed exact solution of the scattering problem for a spherical particle (sulfate aerosol) containing an eccentrically located spherical inclusion (black carbon). … The black carbon within the sulfate aerosol reduces the expected sulfate direct cooling effect by about 0.034 W/m2 for each 1% of the black carbon to sulfate mass mixing ratio. Thus the presence of black carbon within sulfate in the background aerosol does not significantly change the previous estimates of the global aerosol direct cooling effect. However, in regions where the black carbon in sulfate concentrations are of the order of 5% or more, the local and regional effects are significant.”


2 Responses to “Papers on black carbon”

  1. Naseema said

    This site is very usefull

  2. […] List of articles, with links, about black carbon deposits’ effect on climate, AGW Observer […]

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