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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2019-104
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2019-104
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 18 Apr 2019

Research article | 18 Apr 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT).

Inter-comparison of the Elemental and Organic Carbon Mass Measurements from Three North American National Long-term Monitoring Networks

Tak W. Chan1, Lin Huang1, Kulbir Banwait2, Wendy Zhang1, Darrell Ernst1, Xiaoliang Wang3, John G. Watson3, Judith C. Chow3, Mark Green3, Claudia I. Czimczik4, Guaciara M. Santos4, Sangeeta Sharma1, and Keith Jones5 Tak W. Chan et al.
  • 1Climate Chemistry Measurements and Research, Climate Research Division, Environment and Climate Change Canada, 4905 Dufferin Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M3H 5T4
  • 2Measurements and Analysis Research Section, Air Quality Research Division, Environment and Climate Change Canada, 4905 Dufferin Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M3H 5T4
  • 3Division of Atmospheric Sciences, Environmental Analysis Facility, Desert Research Institute, 2215 Raggio Parkway, Reno, NV 89512
  • 4Earth System Science, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697-3100, USA
  • 5Applied Environmental Prediction Science Pacific & Yukon, Prediction Services Operations West, Prediction Services Directorate, Meteorological Service of Canada, #201–401 Burrard Street, Vancouver, B. C., Canada, V6C 3S5

Abstract. Carbonaceous aerosol is a major contributor to the total aerosol load and being monitored by diverse measurement approaches. Here, ten years of continuous carbonaceous aerosol measurements collected at the Centre of Atmospheric Research Experiments (CARE) in Egbert, Ontario, Canada on quartz filters by three independent networks (Interagency Monitoring of PROtected Visual Environments (IMPROVE), Canadian Air and Precipitation Monitoring Network (CAPMoN), and Canadian Aerosol Baseline Measurement (CABM)) were compared. Specifically, the study evaluated how differences in sample collection and analysis affected the yield of total carbon (TC), organic carbon (OC), and elemental carbon (EC). When all measurements were normalized with respect to concentration measured in a common reference year, OC measurements agreed to within 29–48 % and EC measurement to within 20 % amongst the different networks. Fitted with a sigmoid function, elevated OC and EC concentrations were found when ambient temperature exceeded 10 °C. These increased ambient concentrations of OC during summer were attributed to the secondary organic aerosol (SOA) formation and forest fire emissions, while elevated EC concentrations were attributed to forest fire emissions and increased vehicle emissions. The observations from this study suggest that carbonaceous aerosol measurements, especially EC, can be synchronized across networks if sample collection and analytical method in each network remain internally consistent. This study allows the generation of regional to continental-scale-harmonized concentration data sets for benchmarking of atmospheric chemical transport models that determine emission sources and sinks, and assess the effectiveness of government mitigation policies in improving air quality and reducing reliance on fossil fuel consumption.

Tak W. Chan et al.
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Short summary
This study compared ten years of carbonaceous aerosol measurements collected at three North American long-term monitoring networks. This study evaluated how different sample collection and analysis affected the yield of total carbon (TC), organic carbon (OC), and elemental carbon (EC). Normalized OC agreed to within 29–48 % and normalized EC agreed within 20 % amongst the different networks. In addition, elevated OC and EC concentrations were observed when ambient temperature exceeded 10 °C.
This study compared ten years of carbonaceous aerosol measurements collected at three North...
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