Headline: Observation of optical properties and sources of aerosols at Buddha’s birthplace, Lumbini, Nepal: environmental implications

For the first time, aerosol optical properties are measured over Lumbini, Nepal, with CIMEL sunphotometer of the Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET) program. Lumbini is a sacred place as the birthplace of Lord Buddha, and thus a UNESCO world heritage site, located near the northern edge of the central Indo-Gangetic Plains (IGP) and before the Himalayan foothills (and Himalayas) to its north. Average aerosol optical depth (AOD) is found to be 0.64 ± 0.38 (0.06–3.28) over the sampling period (January 2013–December 2014), with the highest seasonal AOD during the post-monsoon season (0.72 ± 0.44). More than 80% of the daily averaged AOD values, during the monitoring period, are above 0.3, indicating polluted conditions in the region. The levels of aerosol load observed over Lumbini are comparable to those observed at several heavily polluted sites in the IGP. Based on the relationship between AOD and Ångstrom exponent (α), anthropogenic, biomass burning, and mixed aerosols are found to be the most prevalent aerosol types. The aerosol volume-size distribution is bi-modal during all four seasons with modes centered at 0.1–0.3 and 3–4 μm. For both fine and coarse modes, the highest volumetric concentration of ~ 0.08 μm−3 μm−2 is observed during the post-monsoon and pre-monsoon seasons. As revealed by the single-scattering albedo (SSA), asymmetry parameter (AP), and refractive index (RI) analyses, aerosol loading over Lumbini is dominated by absorbing, urban-industrial, and biomass burning aerosols.

Publication Year
2018
Publication Type
Academic Articles
Citation

Rupakheti, D., Kang, S., Rupakheti, M., Cong, Z., Tripathee, L., Panday, A. K., Holben, B. N. (2018): Observation of optical properties and sources of aerosols at Buddha’s birthplace, Lumbini, Nepal: environmental implications. - Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 25, 15, p. 14868-14881.DOI: http://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-018-1713-z

DOI
10.1007/s11356-018-1713-z
Staff involved
Projects involved
A Sustainable Atmosphere for the Kathmandu Valley (SusKat)