Carbonates cause large uncertainties in determining the concentrations of organic carbon (OC) and elemental carbon (EC), as well as EC’s light absorption characteristics, in arid locations, such as Central Asia. To investigate this influence, a comparison between acid (HCl)-treated and original total suspended particle (TSP) samples was conducted in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

  According to the results, the OC and EC concentrations were overestimated by approximately 22.8 ± 33.8 and 32.5 ± 33.5%, with the actual values being 11.9 ± 3.0 and 5.13 ± 2.24 μg m−3, respectively. It was found that carbonates had a larger influence from May to October than during the other months, which was significantly correlated with the amount of TSPs on the filter.

  Furthermore, the mass absorption cross-section of EC (MACEC) increased from 4.52 ± 1.32 to 6.02 ± 1.49 m2 g−1; this indicated that carbonates can significantly decrease MACEC, thus causing an underestimation of approximately 23.9 ± 16.7%. This is the first study that quantifies the influence of carbonates on the light-absorbing abilities of EC.

Read more... Significant Influence of Carbonates on Determining Organic Carbon and Black Carbon: A Case Study in Tajikistan, Central Asia