Seasonal and Interannual Variations of Carbonaceous Aerosols over the Amazon

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This study examines the seasonal and interannual variabilities of carbonaceous aerosols, including black carbon (BC) and organic carbon (OC), over the years of 2005-2016 by using outputs from the NASA GISS ModelE simulations and observations from the OMI instrument aboard Aura, AERONET stations in Amazon region, and the GoAmazon aircraft campaigns.

Simulated seasonal variations and spatial distributions of surface concentrations of BC and OC in Amazon agree well with those of biomass burning emissions. The concentrations are the highest in the dry season (July-September) and lowest in the wet season (February-May), and the locations of high concentrations follow those of high emissions. ModelE is found to underestimate concentrations of OC and BC. Comparisons of the vertical profiles of OC from ModelE with GoAmazon observations in 2014 show that ModelE underestimates OC at all altitudes. In the dry season, when biomass burning dominates, ModelE captures 42%-86% of OMI AAOD in Amazon over 2005-2016, suggesting a low bias in simulated BC concentrations. Simulated seasonal variations in AOD and AAOD in ModelE differ from OMI observations; simulated AOD (AAOD) values are the highest in the dry season, while OMI observed AOD (AAOD) values are the highest in October-January.

Interannual variations in BC and OC are quantified by relative deviation from the mean (RDEVM). Interannual variations of BC and OC in dry season are much higher than those in wet season. RDEVM values are in the range of -63.2% to 127.2% (-70.8% to 143.8%) for BC (OC) in dry season and in the range of -17.8% to 32.7% (-26.3% to 53.4%) for BC (OC) in wet season. Simulated OC concentrations have larger interannual variability than simulated BC for both the dry and wet seasons. We also found that, compared with OMI observations, ModelE overestimates the interannual variability of AOD and AAOD in the Amazon region for both the dry and wet seasons.

Results from this study contribute to the understanding of aerosol distributions in the Amazon and have implications for the impact of carbonaceous aerosols on climate on an interannual timescale.





Hu, Allen (2020). Seasonal and Interannual Variations of Carbonaceous Aerosols over the Amazon. Master's thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from


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