Black carbon in surface soil of the Himalayas and Tibetan Plateau and its contribution to total black carbon deposition at glacial region.

Affiliation

Key Laboratory of Tibetan Environment Changes and Land Surface Processes, Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100101, China. [Email]

Abstract

At present, the glaciers in the Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau (HTP) are retreating partly due to albedo reduction caused by deposited light-absorbing impurities such as mineral dust (MD) and black carbon (BC). Because BC also exists widely in MD from surface soil, it is necessary to further evaluate the contribution of BC from MD to the total BC at glacier region. This will help to improve the study of BC sources by considering the relative contributions from MD and direct combustion sources. Therefore, in this study, concentrations of total organic carbon (TOC) and fine particles of BC from 43 surface soil samples of the HTP were investigated. The contribution of BC from MD to total BC deposited at the glacier region was evaluated. The results showed strong correlations between TOC and BC of studied samples (R2 = 0.70, p < 0.01), suggesting that they have similar sources and activity characteristics. The average BC concentration of studied samples was 2.02 ± 1.55 mg g-1, much lower than those of particles deposited at the glacier region and other regions with high soil TOC concentration. The contributions of BC from MD to total surface BC at two glaciers of the inner HTP (Zhadang and Xiaodongkemadi) were 17.66 ± 10.84% and 20.70 ± 16.35%, respectively. Therefore, the contribution of MD to glacier melting of the HTP is higher than that of previously assumed after BC coming along with MD is considered. Because MD concentration is higher at north and west part of the HTP, the contributions of MD at these glacier regions should be larger than previously assumed.

Keywords

Black carbon,Glacier,Mineral dust,Surface soil,The Himalayas and Tibetan Plateau,Total organic carbon,

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