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Advancing the ability to accurately measure and characterise black carbon 

The presence of black carbon (BC) in the atmosphere has a significant impact on climate change, and human health. The main sources of black carbon are incomplete combustion of fossil or biomass fuel, and emissions from vehicle exhausts. We conduct crucial research into black carbon, advancing the UK’s ability to accurately measure black carbon concentration.  

BC measurements are often based on aethalometry, a method-defined optical measurement providing near real time data. BC containing particles absorb visible light and contain a carbonaceous refractory core.  Our current work is focused on understanding differences in results obtained for different aethalometers. More information about optical properties and BC mass concentrations in the UK can be found in the Challenges and policy implications paper.

We led the EMPIR Black Carbon project which addresses calibration issues related to black carbon instrumentation by developing and characterising aerosol generators that simulate ambient-like air. 


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