Light-Absorbing Brown Carbon Aerosol Constituents from Combustion of Indonesian Peat and Biomass

TitleLight-Absorbing Brown Carbon Aerosol Constituents from Combustion of Indonesian Peat and Biomass
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsSri H B, Riva M, Williams M, Chen J, Itoh M, Surratt JD, Kuwata M
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Date Published04/2017

Light-absorbing-brown carbon (BrC) constituents of organic aerosol (OA) have been shown to significantly absorb ultraviolet (UV) and visible light and thus impact radiative forcing. However, molecular identification of the BrC constituents is still limited. In this study, we characterize BrC constituents at the molecular level in (i) aerosols emitted by combustion of peat, fern/leaf, and charcoal from Indonesia and (ii) ambient aerosols collected in Singapore during the 2015 haze episode. Aerosols were analyzed using ultra performance liquid chromatography instrument interfaced to a diode array detector and electrospray ionization high-resolution quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometer "operated in the negative ion mode: In the laboratory-generated aerosols, we identified 41 compounds that can potentially absorb near-UV and visible wavelengths, such as oxygenated conjugated compounds, nitroaromatics, and 8-containing compoundS. The sum of BrC constituents in peat, fern/leaf, and charcoal burning aerosols are 16%, 35%, and 28% of the OA mass, respectively, giiiing an average contribution of 24%. On average, the BrC constituents account for 0.4% of the ambient OA mass; however, large uncertainties in mass closure remain because of the "lack of authentic standards. This study highlights the potential of light absorbing BrC OA, constituents from peat, fern/leaf, and charcoal burning and their importance in the atmosphere.