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Zhao R.,University of Toronto | Lee A.K.Y.,University of Toronto | Huang L.,Climate Research Division | Li X.,Beihang University | And 2 more authors.
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics | Year: 2015

Atmospheric brown carbon (BrC) is a collective term for light absorbing organic compounds in the atmosphere. While the identification of BrC and its formation mechanisms is currently a central effort in the community, little is known about the atmospheric removal processes of aerosol BrC. As a result, we report on a series of laboratory studies of photochemical processing of BrC in the aqueous phase, by direct photolysis and OH oxidation. Solutions of ammonium sulfate mixed with glyoxal (GLYAS) or methylglyoxal (MGAS) are used as surrogates for a class of secondary BrC mediated by imine intermediates. Three nitrophenol species, namely 4-nitrophenol, 5-nitroguaiacol and 4-nitrocatechol, were investigated as a class of water-soluble BrC originating from biomass burning. Photochemical processing induced significant changes in the absorptive properties of BrC. The imine-mediated BrC solutions exhibited rapid photo-bleaching with both direct photolysis and OH oxidation, with atmospheric half-lives of minutes to a few hours. The nitrophenol species exhibited photo-enhancement in the visible range during direct photolysis and the onset of OH oxidation, but rapid photo-bleaching was induced by further OH exposure on an atmospheric timescale of an hour or less. To illustrate the atmospheric relevance of this work, we also performed direct photolysis experiments on water-soluble organic carbon extracted from biofuel combustion samples and observed rapid changes in the optical properties of these samples as well. Overall, these experiments indicate that atmospheric models need to incorporate representations of atmospheric processing of BrC species to accurately model their radiative impacts. © Author(s) 2015.

Choi D.H.,Marine Biotechnology Research Division | Noh J.H.,Marine Ecosystem Research Division | Ahn S.M.,Marine Ecosystem Research Division | Lee C.M.,Ocean Policy Institute | And 4 more authors.
Ocean and Polar Research | Year: 2013

In order to understand phytoplankton and bacterial distribution in tropical coral reef ecosystems in relation to the mangrove community, their biomass and activities were measured in the sea waters of the Chuuk and the Kosrae lagoons located in Micronesia. Chlorophyll a and bacterial abundance showed maximal values in the seawater near the mangrove forests, and then steeply decreased as the distance increased from the mangrove forests, indicating that environmental conditions for these microorganisms changed greatly in lagoon waters. Together with chlorophyll a, abundance of Synechococcus and phototrophic picoeukaryotes and a variety of indicator pigments for dinoflagellates, diatoms, green algae and cryptophytes also showed similar spatial distribution patterns, suggesting that phytoplankton assemblages respond to the environmental gradient by changing community compositions. In addition, primary production and bacterial production were also highest in the bay surrounded by mangrove forest and lowest outside of the lagoon. These results suggest that mangrove waters play an important role in energy production and nutrient cycling in tropical coasts, undoubtedly receiving large inputs of organic matter from shore vegetation such as mangroves. However, the steep decrease of biomass and production of phytoplankton and heterotrophic bacteria within a short distance from the bay to the level of oligotrophic waters indicates that the effect of mangrove waters does not extend far away.

Schwalm C.R.,Clark University | Williams C.A.,Clark University | Schaefer K.,University of Colorado at Boulder | Anderson R.,University of Montana | And 43 more authors.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences | Year: 2010

Our current understanding of terrestrial carbon processes is represented in various models used to integrate and scale measurements of CO2 exchange from remote sensing and other spatiotemporal data. Yet assessments are rarely conducted to determine how well models simulate carbon processes across vegetation types and environmental conditions. Using standardized data from the North American Carbon Program we compare observed and simulated monthly CO 2 exchange from 44 eddy covariance flux towers in North America and 22 terrestrial biosphere models. The analysis period spans ∼220 site-years, 10 biomes, and includes two large-scale drought events, providing a natural experiment to evaluate model skill as a function of drought and seasonality. We evaluate models' ability to simulate the seasonal cycle of CO2 exchange using multiple model skill metrics and analyze links between model characteristics, site history, and model skill. Overall model performance was poor; the difference between observations and simulations was ∼10 times observational uncertainty, with forested ecosystems better predicted than nonforested. Model-data agreement was highest in summer and in temperate evergreen forests. In contrast, model performance declined in spring and fall, especially in ecosystems with large deciduous components, and in dry periods during the growing season. Models used across multiple biomes and sites, the mean model ensemble, and a model using assimilated parameter values showed high consistency with observations. Models with the highest skill across all biomes all used prescribed canopy phenology, calculated NEE as the difference between GPP and ecosystem respiration, and did not use a daily time step. Copyright 2010 by the American Geophysical Union.

Keenan T.F.,Harvard University | Baker I.,Colorado State University | Barr A.,Climate Research Division | Ciais P.,French Climate and Environment Sciences Laboratory | And 16 more authors.
Global Change Biology | Year: 2012

Interannual variability in biosphere-atmosphere exchange of CO 2 is driven by a diverse range of biotic and abiotic factors. Replicating this variability thus represents the 'acid test' for terrestrial biosphere models. Although such models are commonly used to project responses to both normal and anomalous variability in climate, they are rarely tested explicitly against inter-annual variability in observations. Herein, using standardized data from the North American Carbon Program, we assess the performance of 16 terrestrial biosphere models and 3 remote sensing products against long-term measurements of biosphere-atmosphere CO 2 exchange made with eddy-covariance flux towers at 11 forested sites in North America. Instead of focusing on model-data agreement we take a systematic, variability-oriented approach and show that although the models tend to reproduce the mean magnitude of the observed annual flux variability, they fail to reproduce the timing. Large biases in modeled annual means are evident for all models. Observed interannual variability is found to commonly be on the order of magnitude of the mean fluxes. None of the models consistently reproduce observed interannual variability within measurement uncertainty. Underrepresentation of variability in spring phenology, soil thaw and snowpack melting, and difficulties in reproducing the lagged response to extreme climatic events are identified as systematic errors, common to all models included in this study. © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Kim Y.,University of Montana | Kimball J.S.,University of Montana | Robinson D.A.,Rutgers University | Derksen C.,Climate Research Division
Environmental Research Letters | Year: 2015

We examined new satellite climate data records documenting frozen (FR) season and snow cover extent (SCE) changes from 1979 to 2011 over all northern vegetated land areas (≥45 °N). New insight on the spatial and temporal characteristics of seasonal FR ground and snowpack melt changes were revealed by integrating the independent FR and SCE data records. Similar decreasing trends in annual FR and SCE durations coincided with widespread warming (0.4 °C decade-1). Relatively strong declines in FR and SCE durations in spring and summer are partially offset by increasing trends in fall and winter. These contrasting seasonal trends result in relatively weak decreasing trends in annual FR and SCE durations. A dominant SCE retreat response to FR duration decreases was observed, while the sign and strength of this relationship was spatially complex, varying by latitude and regional snow cover, and climate characteristics. The spatial extent of FR conditions exceeds SCE in early spring and is smaller during snowmelt in late spring and early summer, while FR ground in the absence of snow cover is widespread in the fall. The integrated satellite record, for the first time, reveals a general increasing trend in annual snowmelt duration from 1.3 to 3.3 days decade-1 (p < 0.01), occurring largely in the fall. Annual FR ground durations are declining from 0.8 to 1.3 days decade-1. These changes imply extensive biophysical impacts to regional snow cover, soil and permafrost regimes, surface water and energy budgets, and climate feedbacks, while ongoing satellite microwave missions provide an effective means for regional monitoring. © 2015 IOP Publishing Ltd.

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