Characteristics of black carbon in snow from Laohugou No. 12 glacier on the northern Tibetan Plateau

Yulan Zhang, Shichang Kang, Chaoliu Li, Tanguang Gao, Zhiyuan Cong, Michael Sprenger, Yajun Liu, Xiaofei Li, Junming Guo, Mika Sillanpää, Kun Wang, Jizu Chen, Yang Li, Shiwei Sun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Black carbon (BC) emitted from the incomplete combustion of biomass and fossil fuel impacts the climate system, cryospheric change, and human health. This study documents black carbon deposition in snow from a benchmark glacier on the northern Tibetan Plateau. Significant seasonality of BC concentrations indicates different input or post-depositional processes. BC particles deposited in snow had a mass volume median diameter slightly larger than that of black carbon particles typically found in the atmosphere. Also, unlike black carbon particles in the atmosphere, the particles deposited in snow did not exhibit highly fractal morphology by Scanning Transmission Electron Microscope. Footprint analysis indicated BC deposited on the glacier in summer originated mainly from Central Asia; in winter, the depositing air masses generally originated from Central Asia and Pakistan. Anthropogenic emissions play an important role on black carbon deposition in glacial snow, especially in winter. The mass absorption efficiency of BC in snow at 632 nm exhibited significantly seasonality, with higher values in summer and lower values in winter. The information on black carbon deposition in glacial snow provided in this study could be used to help mitigate the impacts of BC on glacier melting on the northern Tibetan Plateau.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1237-1249
Number of pages13
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume607-608
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • BC morphology
  • BC size
  • Black carbon
  • Glacier
  • Tibetan Plateau

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

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