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Variational Estimates of Black Carbon Emissions in the Western United States : Volume 14, Issue 15 (27/08/2014)

By Mao, Y. H.

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Book Id: WPLBN0003986264
Format Type: PDF Article :
File Size: Pages 52
Reproduction Date: 2015

Title: Variational Estimates of Black Carbon Emissions in the Western United States : Volume 14, Issue 15 (27/08/2014)  
Author: Mao, Y. H.
Volume: Vol. 14, Issue 15
Language: English
Subject: Science, Atmospheric, Chemistry
Collections: Periodicals: Journal and Magazine Collection, Copernicus GmbH
Publication Date:
Publisher: Copernicus Gmbh, Göttingen, Germany
Member Page: Copernicus Publications


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Gao, M., Mao, Y. H., Hao, W., He, C., Li, Q. B., Henze, D. K.,...Liou, K. (2014). Variational Estimates of Black Carbon Emissions in the Western United States : Volume 14, Issue 15 (27/08/2014). Retrieved from

Description: Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA. We estimate black carbon (BC) emissions in the Western United States (WUS) for July–September 2006 by inverting surface BC concentrations from the Interagency Monitoring of PROtected Visual Environment (IMPROVE) network using a global chemical transport model (GEOS-Chem) and its adjoint. Our best estimate of the BC emissions is 49.9 Gg at 2° × 2.5° (a factor of 2.1 increase) and 47.3 Gg at 0.5° × 0.667° (1.9 times increase). Model results now capture the observed major fire episodes with substantial bias reductions (∼35% at 2° × 2.5° and ∼15% at 0.5° × 0.667°). The emissions are ∼20–50% larger than those from our earlier analytical inversions (Mao et al., 2014). The discrepancy is especially drastic in the partitioning of anthropogenic vs. biomass burning emissions. The August biomass burning BC emissions are 4.6–6.5 Gg and anthropogenic BC emissions 8.6–12.8 Gg, varying with the model resolution, error specifications, and subsets of observations used. On average both increase twofold relative to the respective a priori emissions, in distinct contrast to the halving of the anthropogenic and tripling of the biomass burning emissions in the analytical inversions. We attribute these discrepancies to the inability of the inversion system, with limited spatiotemporal coverage of the IMPROVE observations, to effectively distinguish collocated anthropogenic and biomass burning emissions on model grid scales. This calls for concurrent measurements of other tracers of biomass burning and fossil fuel combustion (e.g., carbon monoxide and carbon isotopes). We find that the inversion system as is has sufficient information content to constrain the total emissions of BC on the model grid scales.

Variational estimates of black carbon emissions in the western United States

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