Black carbon (BC)

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Operationally defined aerosol type based on measurement of light absorption and chemical reactivity and/or thermal stability. It is sometimes referred to as soot. BC is mostly formed by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, biofuels and biomass but it also occurs naturally. It stays in the atmosphere only for days or weeks. It is the strongest light-absorbing component of particulate matter (PM) and has a warming effect by absorbing heat into the atmosphere and reducing the albedo when deposited on snow or ice.

See also: Aerosol.