A deep learning approach for classifying black carbon aerosol morphology (Proposals Track)

Kara Lamb (Cooperative Institute for Research in the Environmental Sciences)


Black carbon (BC) is a sub-micron aerosol sourced from incomplete combustion which strongly absorbs solar radiation, leading to both direct and indirect climate impacts. The state-of-the-art technique for characterizing BC is the single particle soot photometer (SP2) instrument, which detects these aerosols in real time via laser-induced incandescence (L-II). This measurement technique allows for quantification of BC mass on a single particle basis, but time-resolved signals may also provide constraints on BC morphology, which impacts both its optical properties and atmospheric lifetime. No methods currently exist to use this information. I propose applying a deep learning based approach to classify the fractal dimension of single BC particles from time-resolved L-II signals. This method would provide the first on-line measurement technique for quantifying BC morphology. These observations could be used to improve representations of BC optical properties and atmospheric processing in climate models.