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Volume 16, No. 3, March 2016, Pages 752-763 PDF(3.78 MB)  
doi: 10.4209/aaqr.2015.04.0255   

Black Carbon Aerosols at Mt. Muztagh Ata, a High-Altitude Location in the Western Tibetan Plateau

Chong-Shu Zhu1,2, Jun-Ji Cao1,2,5, Bai-Qing Xu3, Ru-Jin Huang1,2, Ping Wang1,7, Kin-Fai Ho4, Zhen-Xing Shen6, Sui-Xin Liu1,2, Yong-Ming Han1,2, Xue-Xi Tie1,2, Zhu-Zi Zhao1,2, L.-W. Antony Chen8

1 Key Laboratory of Aerosol Chemistry & Physics, Institute of Earth Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xi'an, China
2 SKLLQG, Institute of Earth Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xi'an, China
3 Laboratory of Tibetan Environment and Land Surface Processes, Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
4 The Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong
5 Institute of Global Environmental Change, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi'an, China
6 Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an, China
7 School of Tropical Eco-environment Protection, Hainan Tropical Marine University, Sanya, China
8 Division of Atmospheric Sciences, Desert Research Institute, Reno, NV, USA


  • The variation of EBC was obtained at Mt. Muztagh Ata.
  • Four major potential EBC sources were identified.
  • AOD and wind patterns during EBC episodes were investigated.



Measurements of equivalent black carbon (EBC) were conducted for 8 months from November 2009 to September 2010 at Mt. Muztagh Ata to determine its seasonal variation, transport, and potential contribution source areas. The daily EBC concentrations ranged from 33.6 to 330.2 ng m–3 with an average of 133.1 ± 55.0 ng m–3 during the period. Higher values were observed in summer and autumn (approximately 164.0 ng m–3) than in winter (approximately 96.5 ng m–3). The diurnal variation in all seasons was stable throughout the day but slightly increased during the nighttime. The results of the potential source contribution function analysis indicated four potential source areas for EBC, with the contributions of polluted trajectory clusters ranging from 4% to 50%. High EBC concentrations were found to be associated with regional circulations developed in high aerosol optical depth areas, resulting in recirculation and accumulation of EBC.



Keywords: Equivalent black carbon; Tibetan plateau; Transport; PSCF.



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