This study, based on new and high quality in situ observations, quantifies for the first time, the individual contributions of light-absorbing aerosols (black carbon (BC), brown carbon (BrC) and dust) to aerosol absorption over the Indo-Gangetic Plain (IGP) and the Himalayan foothill region, a relatively poorly studied region with several sensitive ecosystems of global importance, as well as highly vulnerable populations. The annual and seasonal average single scattering albedo (SSA) over Kathmandu is the lowest of all the locations. The SSA over Kathmandu is < 0.89 during all seasons, which confirms the dominance of light-absorbing carbonaceous aerosols from local and regional sources over Kathmandu. It is observed here that the SSA decreases with increasing elevation, confirming the dominance of light absorbing carbonaceous aerosols at higher elevations. In contrast, the SSA over the IGP does not exhibit a pronounced spatial variation. BC dominates (≥75%) the aerosol absorption over the IGP and the Himalayan foothills throughout the year. Higher BC concentration at elevated locations in the Himalayas leads to lower SSA at elevated locations in the Himalayas. The contribution of dust to aerosol absorption is higher throughout the year over the IGP than over the Himalayan foothills. The aerosol absorption over South Asia is very high, exceeding available observations over East Asia, and also exceeds previous model estimates. This quantification will be valuable as observational constraints to help improve regional simulations of climate change, impacts on the glaciers and the hydrological cycle, and will help to direct the focus towards BC as the main contributor to aerosol-induced warming in the region.
- Publication Year
- Publication Type
- Academic Articles
Ramachandran, S., Rupakheti, M., & Lawrence, M. G. (2020). Black carbon dominates the aerosol absorption over the Indo-Gangetic Plain and the Himalayan foothills. Environment international, 142: 105814. doi:10.1016/j.envint.2020.105814.
- Staff involved
- Projects involved
- A Sustainable Atmosphere for the Kathmandu Valley (SusKat)