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  Information - BG1.08 Analysis and Characterization of Black Carbon in the Environment (co-listed in AS, HS, OS & SSS)

Event Information
Black carbon (BC) has received increasing attention due to its importance in a wide range of biogeochemical processes. For example, BC storage in ocean sediments a represents long-term sink in the global carbon cycle, and BC aerosols in the atmosphere affect Earthıs radiative heat balance. BC can be a useful tracer for Earthıs fire history; it is a significant fraction of the carbon buried in soils and sediments; and it is an important carrier of organic pollutants. EGU meetings are very cross-disciplinary and thus attractive for scientists from diverse backgrounds, including those studying BC. One focus of the BC-meeting is to bring together the broad scientific community studying black carbon in the environment to discuss the latest research. The first and also last meeting of this kind was the Goldschmidt
(geochemistry) conference in 1999 in Harvard.

A second focus of the meeting is to discuss methodological aspects.
Variations in BC chemistry, along a combustion continuum, create serious methodological problems, as every BC measurement method detects a unique window of the BC spectrum. For example, methods which rely on optical microscopes to detect charcoal particles fail to detect sub-micron soot particles, while chemical or thermal methods which rely on the refractory nature of BC fail to detect the partially charred material which can be easily degraded. Effective atmospheric methods, which measure the absorptivity of a sample, cannot be used when BC occurs within an absorptive matrix, like soils or sediments. To address these methodological problems a ring trial on BC-containing samples and materials potentially creating artifacts started in January 2004. More than 20 labs worldwide from soil, atmospheric, marine and water sciences, currently analyse samples. Results of the ring trial are expected by the end of the year 2004, and will be presented and discussed during the meeting. Further details can be found at the Web site:

Preliminary List of Solicited Speakers


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