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Discussion papers | Copyright
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2018-86
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 25 May 2018

Research article | 25 May 2018

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This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC).

Quantifying light absorption and its source attribution of insoluble light-absorbing particles in Tibet an Plateau glaciers from 2013–2015

Xin Wang1, Hailun Wei1, Jun Liu1, Baiqing Xu2, and Mo Wang2 Xin Wang et al.
  • 1Key Laboratory for Semi-Arid Climate Change of the Ministry of Education, College of Atmospheric Sciences, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou, 730000, China
  • 2Key Laboratory of Tibetan Environment Changes and Land Surface Processes, Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100085, China

Abstract. Amounts of insoluble light-absorbing particles (ILAPs) deposited on the surface of snow and ice can significantly reduce the snow albedo and accelerate the snow melting process. In this study, ~67 snow/ice samples were collected in 7 high mountain glaciers over the Tibetan Plateau (TP) regions from May 2013 to October 2015. The mixing ratio of black carbon (BC), organic carbon (OC), and mineral dust (MD) was measured using an integrating sphere/integrating sandwich spectrophotometer (ISSW) system associated with the chemical analysis by assuming the light absorption of mineral dust due to iron oxide. The results indicate that mass mixing ratios of BC, ISOC, and MD show a large variation of 10–3100ngg-1, 10–17000ngg-1, 10–3500ngg-1, with a mean value of 218±397ngg-1, 1357±2417ngg-1, 241±452ngg-1 on TP glaciers during the entire snow field campaign, respectively. The chemical elements and the selected carbonaceous particles were also analyzed of the attributions of the particulate light absorption based on a positive matrix factorization (PMF) receptor model. On average, the industrial pollution (33.1%), biomass/biofuel burning (29.4%), and soil dust (37.5%) were the major sources of the ILAPs in TP glaciers. Although the soil dust assumed to be the highest contributor to the mass loading of ILAPs, we noted that the averaged light absorption of BC (50.7%) and ISOC (33.2%) was largely responsible for the measured light absorption in the high mountain glaciers at the wavelengths of 450–600nm.

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A total of 189 snow/ice samples from 67 sites of 7 glaciers in the Tibetan Plateau during 2013–2015 were collected for optical and chemical analysis. The results indicated that the mass mixing ratios of black carbon, insoluble organic carbon, and iron all showed a tendency to decrease from north to south, and the industrial pollution (33.1 %), biomass/biofuel burning (29.4 %), and soil dust (37.5 %) were the major sources of the light-absorbing impurities in Tibetan Plateau glaciers.
A total of 189 snow/ice samples from 67 sites of 7 glaciers in the Tibetan Plateau during...
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