Spatial-temporal pattern of black carbon (BC) emission from biomass burning and anthropogenic sources in New South Wales and the greater metropolitan region of Sydney, Australia

Hiep Nguyen Duc*, Kristina Shingles, Stephen White, David Salter, Lisa Tzu-Chi Chang, Gunaratnam Gunashanhar, Matthew Riley, Toan Trieu, Upma Dutt, Merched Azzi, Kathleen Beyer, Robert Hynes, John Kirkwood

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
8 Downloads (Pure)


Biomass burnings either due to Hazards Reduction Burnings (HRBs) in late autumn and early winter or bushfires during summer periods in various part of the world (e.g., CA, USA or New South Wales, Australia) emit large amount of gaseous pollutants and aerosols. The emissions, under favourable meteorological conditions, can cause elevated atmospheric particulate concentrations in metropolitan areas and beyond. One of the pollutants of concern is black carbon (BC), which is a component of aerosol particles. BC is harmful to health and acts as a radiative forcing agent in increasing the global warming due to its light absorption properties. Remote sensing data from satellites have becoming increasingly available for research, and these provide rich datasets available on global and local scale as well as in situ aethalometer measurements allow researchers to study the emission and dispersion pattern of BC from anthropogenic and natural sources. The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) in New South Wales (NSW) has installed recently from 2014 to 2019 a total of nine aethalometers to measure BC in its state-wide air quality network to determine the source contribution of BC and PM2.5 (particulate Matter less than 2.5 μm in diameter) in ambient air from biomass burning and anthropogenic combustion sources. This study analysed the characteristics of spatial and temporal patterns of black carbon (BC) in New South Wales and in the Greater Metropolitan Region (GMR) of Sydney, Australia, by using these data sources as well as the trajectory HYSPLIT (Hybrid Single Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory) modelling tool to determine the source of high BC concentration detected at these sites. The emission characteristics of BC in relation to PM2.5 is dependent on the emission source and is analysed using regression analysis of BC with PM2.5 time series at the receptor site for winter and summer periods. The results show that, during the winter, correlation between BC and PM2.5 is found at nearly all sites while little or no correlation is detected during the summer period. Traffic vehicle emission is the main BC emission source identified in the urban areas but was less so in the regional sites where biomass burnings/wood heating is the dominant source in winter. The BC diurnal patterns at all sites were strongly influenced by meteorology.

Original languageEnglish
Article number570
Pages (from-to)1-39
Number of pages39
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2020. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • black carbon (BC)
  • aethalometer
  • MERRA-2
  • hazards reduction burning


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