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Sectoral and geographical contributions to summertime continental United States...

Huang, M., G. Carmichael, S. Kulkarni, D. Streets, Z. Lu, Q. Zhang, B. Pierce, Y. Kondo, J. Jimenez-Palacios, M. J. Cubison, B. E. Anderson, and A. Wisthaler (2012), Sectoral and geographical contributions to summertime continental United States (CONUS) black carbon spatial distributions, Atmos. Environ., 51, 165-174, doi:10.1016/j.atmosenv.2012.01.021.

The sectoral and regional contributions from northern hemisphere anthropogenic and biomass burning emission sectors to black carbon (BC) distributions over the continental United States (CONUS) in summer 2008 are studied using the Sulfur Transport and dEposition Model (STEM). North American (NA) emissions heavily (>70% of total emissions) affect the BC levels from the surface to w5 km, while non-NA plumes compose more than half of the BC above w5 km. Among all sectors, NA and non-NA biomass burning, NA transportation and non-NA residential emissions are the major contributors. The sectoral contributions vary among ten regions defined by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): NA anthropogenic emissions enhance northeastern US BC levels; biomass burning strongly impacts northern California and southeastern US; and the influence of extra-regional plumes is largest in the northwestern US but extends to eastern US. The mean contribution from non-NA sources to US surface BC is w0.05 mg m-3, with a maximum value of w0.11 mg m-3 in the northwestern US. The non-NA contributions to column BC are higher than to surface BC, ranging from 30% to 80%, depending on region. EPA region 8 is most sensitive to extra-regional BC, partially explaining the observed increasing BC trend there during the past decades associated with the increasing Asian BC emissions. Measurements from the June 24 DC-8 flight during the ARCTAS-CARB field campaign show that BC/(organic matter þ nitrate þ sulfate) mass ratios fairly well represent BC’s warming potential over southern California, which can be approximated by BC/(organic matter þ sulfate) and BC/sulfate for plumes affected and unaffected by fires, respectively. The responses of BC/(organic matter þ sulfate) and BC/sulfate to removing each emission sector are further discussed, indicating that mitigating NA transportation emissions has the highest potential for regional air quality and climate co-benefits.

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Tropospheric Composition Program (TCP)