Health, Medicine

Technical note: Aerosol light absorption measurements with a carbon analyser – Calibration and precision estimates


Publication date: September 2017
Source:Atmospheric Environment, Volume 164
Author(s): B.A.J. Ammerlaan, R. Holzinger, A.D. Jedynska, J.S. Henzing
Equivalent Black Carbon (EBC) and Elemental Carbon (EC) are different mass metrics to quantify the amount of combustion aerosol. Both metrics have their own measurement technique. In state-of-the-art carbon analysers, optical measurements are used to correct for organic carbon that is not evolving because of pyrolysis. These optical measurements are sometimes used to apply the technique of absorption photometers. Here, we use the transmission measurements of our carbon analyser for simultaneous determination of the elemental carbon concentration and the absorption coefficient. We use MAAP data from the CESAR observatory, the Netherlands, to correct for aerosol-filter interactions by linking the attenuation coefficient from the carbon analyser to the absorption coefficient measured by the MAAP. Application of the calibration to an independent data set of MAAP and OC/EC observations for the same location shows that the calibration is applicable to other observation periods. Because of simultaneous measurements of light absorption properties of the aerosol and elemental carbon, variation in the mass absorption efficiency (MAE) can be studied. We further show that the absorption coefficients and MAE in this set-up are determined within a precision of 10% and 12%, respectively. The precisions could be improved to 4% and 8% when the light transmission signal in the carbon analyser is very stable.


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