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Dual carbon isotopes (14C and 13C) and optical properties of WSOC and HULIS-C during winter in Guangzhou, China

Liu, Junwen, Mo, Yangzhi, Ding, Ping, Li, Jun, Shen, Chengde, Zhang, Gan
The Science of the total environment 2018 v.633 pp. 1571-1578
C4 plants, absorption, agricultural wastes, biomass, burning, climate change, fossils, natural gas, optical properties, organic carbon, particulates, radionuclides, regression analysis, stable isotopes, winter, China
Water-soluble brown carbon (ws-BrC) exerts an important influence on climate change, but its emission sources and optical properties remain poorly understood. In this study, we isolated two ws-BrC proxies, water-soluble organic carbon (WSOC) and humic-like substance carbon (HULIS-C), from particulate matter collected in Guangzhou, China, during December 2012 for the measurement of dual carbon isotopes (14C and 13C) and light absorption. The mass absorption efficiencies of WSOC and HULIS-C at 365nm were 0.81±0.16 and 1.33±0.21m2g−1C, respectively. The 14C results showed that two-thirds of WSOC and HULIS-C were derived from non-fossil sources (e.g., biomass burning and biogenic emission), and the remaining third was derived from fossil sources. The δ13C values of WSOC and HULIS-C were −23.7±1.2‰ and −24.2±0.9‰, respectively, underlining the limited influences of C4 plants and natural gas on ws-BrC. Fitting the data to a multiple linear regression, we further concluded that approximately 80% and 10% of the light absorption at 365nm was due to non-fossil and fossil carbon, respectively. Non-fossil sources of ws-BrC, such as the burning of agricultural residue, were responsible for the light absorption recorded in Guangzhou.