Nationwide summer peaks of OC/EC ratios in the contiguous United States
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Tao Zeng; Yuhang Wang
Publication Year: 2011

Cataloging Information

  • aerosols
  • air quality
  • biomass burning
  • carbon
  • EC ratio
  • fire management
  • model evaluation
  • OC
  • particulates
  • season of fire
  • SOA
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: October 6, 2020
FRAMES Record Number: 49660
Tall Timbers Record Number: 26095
TTRS Location Status: Not in file
TTRS Call Number: Not in File
TTRS Abstract Status: Fair use, Okay, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


The ratios of observed organic carbon (OC) to elemental carbon (EC) from the rural sites of the IMPROVE network are analyzed for the 5-year period from 2000 to 2004. Among these years, nationwide OC/EC peaks are observed most consistently in the summer of 2002. Several potential factors are analyzed, including biomass burning, secondary organic aerosols (SOA) formation from biogenic sources and in-cloud processing, long-range transport from East Asia, and meteorological conditions over the U.S. We find that biomass burning and SOA formation make the most significant contributions using the global GEOS-Chem model simulations. The effect of model estimated in-cloud SOA formation is significant compared to the estimate of (non-cloud) biogenic SOA. The impacts of Canadian and western U.S. fires are larger than fires in Russia or Mexico in summer. The dry meteorological condition of the summer of 2002 tends to promote higher OC/EC ratios by inducing larger fire emissions, SOA formation, and a longer OC lifetime. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Online Link(s):
Zeng, T., and Y. H. Wang. 2011. Nationwide summer peaks of OC/EC ratios in the contiguous United States. Atmospheric Environment, v. 45, no. 3, p. 578-586. 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2010.10.038.