Accuracy of black carbon measurements by a filter-based absorption photometer with a heated inlet

Sho Ohata, Yutaka Kondo, Nobuhiro Moteki, Tatsuhiro Mori, Atsushi Yoshida, Puna R. Sinha, Makoto Koike

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Long-term measurements of black carbon (BC) aerosols by filter-based absorption photometers with a heated inlet (COSMOS) in different regions have been useful in elucidating spatial variations and radiative impacts of BC. Evaluations of mass concentrations of BC (MBC) measured by the COSMOS have been made by our previous studies through comparisons with other measurement techniques. However, how variations in the microphysical properties of BC and the co-existing light scattering aerosols affect the COSMOS measurements should be evaluated in more detail. In this study, we assessed these potential effects under various field environments in the Arctic and in the East Asia. From the slopes of the correlation plots between the MBC values measured by the COSMOS and a single-particle soot photometer, the average accuracy of the COSMOS was estimated as ∼10% in the MBC range 1–3000 ng m−3. On an hourly basis, the estimated sensitivity of the COSMOS MBC values to the changes in the BC size distributions was less than 10%, within the typical variabilities of BC size at individual observation sites. The COSMOS measurements depended little on the mixing states of BC and the concentrations of co-existing light scattering aerosols, except in the maritime air masses of East Asia, where the relative abundance of sea salt to BC was very high. The MBC measured by COSMOS also well agreed with elemental carbon measurements. Our results demonstrate the high reliability of COSMOS measurements under various environments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1079-1091
Number of pages13
JournalAerosol Science and Technology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Hans Moosmüller

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Pollution


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