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Modeling the origin of anthropogenic black carbon and its climatic effect over the Tibetan Plateau and surrounding regions

Journal article
Authors Junhua Yang
Shichang Kang
Zhenming Ji
Deliang Chen
Published in Journal of Geophysical Research
Volume 123
Issue 2
Pages 671-692
ISSN 0148-0227
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Earth Sciences
Pages 671-692
Language en
Subject categories Earth and Related Environmental Sciences


Black carbon (BC) in snow/ice induces enhanced snow and glacier melting. As over 60% of atmospheric BC is emitted from anthropogenic sources, which directly impact the distribution and concentration of BC in snow/ice, it is essential to assess the origin of anthropogenic BC transported to the Tibetan Plateau (TP) where there are few direct emissions attributable to local human activities. In this study, we used a regional climate-atmospheric chemistry model and a set of BC scenarios for quantitative evaluation of the impact of anthropogenic BC from various sources and its climate effects over the TP in 2013. The results showed that the model performed well in terms of climatology, aerosol optical properties, and near-surface concentrations, which indicates that this modeling framework is appropriate to characterize anthropogenic BC source-receptor relationships over the TP. The simulated surface concentration associated with the anthropogenic sources showed seasonal differences. In the monsoon season, the contribution of anthropogenic BC was less than in the non-monsoon season. In the non-monsoon season, westerly winds prevailed and transported BC from central Asia and north India to the western TP. In the monsoon season, BC aerosol was transported to the middle-upper troposphere over the Indo-Gangetic Plain and crossed the Himalayas via southwesterly winds. The majority of anthropogenic BC over the TP was transported from South Asia, which contributed to 40%-80% (mean of 61.3%) of surface BC in the non-monsoon season, and 10%-50% (mean of 19.4%) in the monsoon season. For the northeastern TP, anthropogenic BC from eastern China accounted for less than 10% of the total in the non-monsoon season, but can be up to 50% in the monsoon season. Averaged over the TP, the eastern China anthropogenic sources accounted for 6.2% and 8.4% of surface BC in the non-monsoon and monsoon seasons, respectively. The anthropogenic BC induced negative radiative forcing and cooling effects at the near surface over the TP.

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