Headline: Trends in physical, optical and chemical columnar aerosol characteristics and radiative effects over South and East Asia: Satellite and ground-based observations

Recent satellite observations of atmospheric aerosol loading over Asia indicate a dipole pattern in the aerosol optical depth (AOD) with a substantial decrease in AOD over East Asia and persistent increase in AOD over South Asia, the two global hotspots of aerosol emissions. Aerosol emissions over Asia are also changing rapidly. However, the evolution of physical, optical and chemical columnar aerosol characteristics, and their radiative effects over time, and the resultant impacts of such evolving trends on climate and other associated risks are not yet properly quantified, and used in climate impact assessments. In order to do so, we closely examine, in addition to satellite observations, for the first time, high-quality, ca. two-decade long ground-based observations since 2001 of aerosols and their radiative effects from several locations in the Indo-Gangetic Plain (IGP) in South Asia and the North China Plain (NCP) in East Asia. A clear divergence in the trends in AODs is evident between the IGP and the NCP. The single scattering albedo (SSA) is increasing, and the absorption AOD due to carbonaceous aerosols (AAODCA) is decreasing over both regions, confirming that aerosols are becoming more scattering in nature. The trends in observed aerosol content (AOD) and composition (SSA) are statistically significant over Kanpur in the IGP and Beijing in the NCP, two locations with longest ground-based records. The aerosol radiative forcing of atmosphere (ARFATM) and resultant atmospheric heating rate (HR) are decreasing over both regions. However, current regionally coherent and high annual HR of 0.5–1.0 K day−1 has severe implications to climate, hydrological cycle, and cryosphere over Asia and beyond. These results based on high-quality observations over a large spatial domain are of great significance and are crucial for modelling and quantifying aerosol-climate interactions.

Publication Year
2022
Publication Type
Academic Articles
Citation

Ramachandran, S., & Rupakheti, M. (2022). Trends in physical, optical and chemical columnar aerosol characteristics and radiative effects over South and East Asia: Satellite and ground-based observations. Gondwana research, 105, 366-387. doi:10.1016/j.gr.2021.09.016.

DOI
10.1016/j.gr.2021.09.016
Links
https://publications.iass-potsdam.de/rest/items/item_6001291_7/component/file_6…
Staff involved
Projects involved
A Sustainable Atmosphere for the Kathmandu Valley (SusKat)