Cloud processing and weeklong ageing affect biomass burning aerosol properties over the south-eastern Atlantic

Haochi Che*, Michal Segal-Rozenhaimer*, Lu Zhang, Caroline Dang, Paquita Zuidema, Amie Dobracki, Arthur J. Sedlacek, Hugh Coe, Huihui Wu, Jonathan Taylor, Xiaoye Zhang, Jens Redemann, Jim Haywood

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Southern Africa produces a third of global biomass burning emissions, which have a long atmospheric lifetime and influence regional radiation balance and climate. Here, we use airmass trajectories to link different aircraft observations to investigate the evolution of biomass-burning aerosols during their westward transport from Southern Africa over the south-eastern Atlantic, where a semi-permanent stratocumulus cloud deck is located. Our results show secondary organic aerosol formation during the initial 3 days of transport, followed by decreases in organic aerosol via photolysis before reaching equilibrium. Aerosol absorption wavelength dependency decreases with ageing, due to an increase in particle size and photochemical bleaching of brown carbon. Cloud processing, including aqueous-phase reaction and scavenging, contributes to the oxidation of organic aerosols, while it strongly reduces large diameter particles and single-scattering albedo of biomass burning aerosols. Together, these processes resulted in a marine boundary layer with fewer yet more oxidized and absorbing aerosols.

Original languageEnglish
Article number182
JournalCommunications Earth and Environment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


FundersFunder number
DOE-ASRNE/L013584/1, DE-SC0020084


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