Headline: Vertical profile of aerosols in the Himalayan region using an ultralight aircraft platform

Indo-gangetic plain (IGP) and Himalayan foothills have large spatial and temporal heterogeneity in aerosols characteristics. Regional meteorology around 850-500 mb plays an important role in the transformation and transportation of aerosols from west Asia to IGP, into Himalayan foothill, as well to high-altitude region of the Himalayas. In order to quantify the vertical and horizontal variation of aerosol properties in the Himalayan , an airborne campaign was carried out in the Pokhara Valley/Nepal (83°50'-84°10' E, 25°7'-28°15' N, 815 masl ) in two phases: test flights during May 2016 and an intensive airborne sampling flight in December-January 2017. This paper provides an overview of airborne measurement campaign from the first phase of measurements in May 2016. A two-seater microlight aircraft (IKARUS C 42) was used as the aerial platform. This was deemed the feasible option in Nepal for an aerial campaign; technical specification of the aircraft include an approximately 6 hrs of flying time, short-take off run, > 100 kgs of payload, suitable for spiral upward and downward profiling. The instrument package consist of GRIMM 1.108 for particle size distribution from 0.3 to 20 um at 6 seconds time resolution, and TSI CPC 3375 for total ultrafine particle (UFP) concentration at 1 s. The package also includes a Magee Scientific Aethalometer (AE42) for aerosol absorption at seven different wavelengths. Meteorological parameters include temperature and dew point at a sampling rate of 1 Hz or higher. The paper provides a snapshot of observed vertical profile (from 800 to 4500masl) of aerosols size, number and black carbon over one of populated mountain valley in Nepal during the pre-monsoon season. During the airborne measurement, local fires- mostly agriculture burn were observed, however no large scale forest fire was captured. Sharp morning and afternoon gradients were observed in the vertical profile for aerosol number and size, mostly dominated by <400 nm. The vertical profile in the afternoon showed elevated layer with higher number concentration (than ground) over >2000 masl which may indicate regional transport than local contribution. Also presented is the comparison between the measured vertical profile of aerosol properties and columnar measurement (using AERONET) and CALIPSO-derived vertical profile.

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Conference Paper / Report

Singh, A., Mahata, K., Rupakheti, M., Lawrence, M. G., & Junkermann, W. (2017). Vertical profile of aerosols in the Himalayan region using an ultralight aircraft platform. In Proceedings.

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Projects involved
A Sustainable Atmosphere for the Kathmandu Valley (SusKat)