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Auromeet Saha and K. Krishna Moorthy

Abstract

A case study is presented on the impact of two isolated, strong thundershowers during a prevailing dry, sunny season on the spectral optical depths and inferred columnar size characteristics of atmospheric aerosols at a tropical station. Results show a remarkable decrease in the aerosol optical depth and change in the spectral slope after the rain. The scavenging was found to be dependent on the particle size distribution; the larger, supermicron particles were found to be removed faster during the first shower itself, even though it was of only moderate intensity, resulting in about a 64% decrease in the columnar mass loading. In the second shower, which was stronger and more widespread than the former, more of the submicron particles in the optically active submicron size range were removed, but the reduction in mass loading was very small. The effective radius decreased continuously and so too did the columnar mass loading (total aerosol volume). The data are used to estimate the apparent columnar scavenging efficiency. The inferred apparent scavenging efficiencies were ∼57% and 68% for the aerosol columnar number density in the optically active submicron size range for the two events, whereas for the coarse aerosols (r > 0.5 μm), it was ∼75% for the first event but insignificant for the subsequent event, in line with the pattern of mass loading. The prevailing synoptic conditions (continental air mass and dry weather) helped the atmosphere to “recharge” within about 1 week after the events (which removed more than 70% of the aerosol burden), unlike the case with extensive synoptic phenomena, like monsoons, for which the aerosol optical depths remain depleted over the entire season. This recharging is also dependent on the size distribution of aerosols; the fine and accumulation particles are replenished faster than the coarse particles.

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Auromeet Saha, K. Krishna Moorthy, and K. Niranjan

Abstract

Interannual variations in spectral aerosol optical depths (AOD) were examined using the data obtained from a chain of ground-based multiwavelength solar radiometers from various locations of the Indian peninsula during the dry winter season (January–March) of 1996–2001. All of the stations revealed significant interannual variations, even though the spatial pattern of the variations differed over the years. These interannual variations were found to be significantly influenced by the extent of the southward excursion of the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ). The years in which the southward excursion of the ITCZ was less (i.e., the years when the wintertime ITCZ was closer to the equator) showed higher AODs than the years in which the ITCZ moved far southward. The spatial variation was found to be influenced by large-scale vertical descent of an air mass over peninsular India, the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean, and the Bay of Bengal.

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K. Krishna Moorthy, B. V. Krishna Murthy, and Prabha R. Nair

Abstract

The effects of sea breeze on optical depth, size distribution, and columnar loading of aerosols at the tropical coastal station of Trivandrum are studied. It has been observed that sea-breeze front activity results in a significant and short-lived enhancement in aerosol optical depth and columnar loading in contrast to the effects seen on normal sea-breeze days. Examination of the changes in columnar aerosol size distribution associated with sea-breeze activity revealed an enhancement of small-particle (size less than 0.28 µ m) concentration. The aerosol size distributions deduced from optical depth measurements generally show a pronounced bimodal structure associated with the frontal activity.

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K. Krishna Moorthy, Prabha R. Nair, and B. V. Krishna Murthy

Abstract

Using aerosol optical depth as a function of wavelength obtained from ground-based multiwavelength radiometer observations, columnar size-distribution functions of aerosols have been derived. It has been found that the nature of the derived size-distribution function is strongly dependent on season. The derived size-distribution functions are discussed in term of seasonally dependent natural aerosol sources and sinks.

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K. Krishna Moorthy, S. Suresh Babu, and S. K. Satheesh

Abstract

During the second phase of the Arabian Sea Monsoon Experiment (ARMEX-II), extensive measurements of spectral aerosol optical depth, mass concentration, and mass size distribution of ambient aerosols as well as mass concentration of aerosol black carbon (BC) were made onboard a research vessel during the intermonsoon period (i.e., when the monsoon winds are in transition from northeasterlies to westerlies/southwesterlies) over the Arabian Sea (AS) adjoining the Indian Peninsula. Simultaneous measurements of spectral aerosol optical depths (AODs) were made at different regions over the adjoining Indian landmass. Mean AODs (at 500-nm wavelength) over the ocean (∼0.44) were comparable to those over the coastal land (∼0.47), but were lower than the values observed over the plateau regions of central Indian Peninsula (∼0.61). The aerosol properties were found to respond distinctly with respect to change in the trajectories, with higher optical depths and flatter AOD spectra associated with trajectories indicating advection from west Asia, and northwest and west-coastal India. On average, BC constituted only ∼2.2% to total aerosol mass compared to the climatological values of ∼6% over the coastal land during the same season.

These data are used to characterize the physical properties of aerosols and to assess the resulting short-wave direct aerosol forcing. The mean values were –27 W m−2 at the surface and −12 W m−2 at the top of the atmosphere (TOA), resulting in a net atmospheric forcing of +15 W m−2. The forcing also depended on the region from where the advection predominates. The surface and atmospheric forcing were in the range −40 to −57 W m−2 and +27 to +39 W m−2, respectively, corresponding to advection from the west Asian and western coastal India where they were as low as −19 and +10 W m−2, respectively, when the advection was mainly from the Bay of Bengal and from central/peninsular India. In all these cases, the net atmospheric forcing (heating) efficiency was lower than the values reported for northern Indian Ocean during northern winter, which is attributed to the reduced BC mass fraction.

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K. Parameswaran, G. Vijayakumar, B. V. Krishna Murthy, and K. Krishna Moorthy

Abstract

Altitude distribution of aerosols in the mixing region in a tropical coastal environment is studied using a bistatic continuous-wave lidar. It is found that aerosols remain fairly well mixed—their number density showing little variation with altitude up to an altitude of approximately 300 m from the surface, and above this their number density, in general, decreases with an increase in altitude. The aerosol number density shows a significant dependence on the near-surface wind speed. This dependence, could be represented fairly well by an exponential function of wind speed. The wind contribution to aerosol content is found to be at its maximum during the southwest monsoon period.

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Priyanka Banerjee, S. K. Satheesh, K. Krishna Moorthy, Ravi S. Nanjundiah, and Vijayakumar S. Nair

Abstract

Synergizing satellite remote sensing data with vertical profiles of atmospheric thermodynamics and regional climate model simulations, we investigate the relative importance, transport pathways, and seasonality of contribution of dust from regional (Thar Desert and adjoining arid regions) and remote (southwest Asia and northeast Africa) sources over the northeast Indian Ocean [i.e., the Bay of Bengal (BOB)]. We show that while over the northern BOB dust from the regional sources contribute more than 50% to the total dust load during the southwest monsoon period (June–September), interestingly; the remote dust sources dominate rest of the year. On the other hand, over the southern BOB, dust transported from the remote-source regions dominate throughout the year. During June, the dry elevated layer (at altitudes between 850 and 700 hPa) of dust, transported across the Indo-Gangetic Plain to the northern BOB, arises primarily from the Thar Desert. Dust from remote sources in the far west reaches the southern BOB after traversing over and around the southern Indian Peninsula. Since dust from these distinct source regions have different mineral composition (hence optical properties) and undergo distinct changes during atmospheric transport, it is important to understand source-specific dust contribution and transport pathways to address dust–climate feedback.

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U. C. Dumka, K. Krishna Moorthy, S. K. Satheesh, Ram Sagar, and P. Pant

Abstract

Multiyear measurements of spectral aerosol optical depths (AODs) were made at Manora Peak in the central Himalaya Range (29°22′N, 79°27′E, ∼1950 m above mean sea level), using a 10-channel multiwavelength solar radiometer for 605 days during January 2002–December 2004. The AODs at 0.5 μm were very low (≤0.1) in winter and increased steeply to reach high values (∼0.5) in summer. It was observed that monthly mean AODs vary significantly (by more than a factor of 6) from January to June. Strong short-period fluctuations (within a daytime) were observed in the AODs. Further investigations of this aspect have revealed that boundary layer dynamics plays a key role in transporting aerosols from the polluted valley region to higher altitudes, causing large contrast in AODs between forenoon and afternoon. The seasonal variations in AODs, while examined in conjunction with synoptic-scale wind fields, have revealed that the transport of dust aerosols from arid regions to the valley regions adjacent to the observational site and their subsequent transport upward by boundary layer dynamics are responsible for the summer increases.

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Vijayakumar S. Nair, K. Krishna Moorthy, S. Suresh Babu, and S. K. Satheesh

Abstract

Simultaneous and collocated measurements of total and hemispherical backscattering coefficients (σ and β, respectively) at three wavelengths, mass size distributions, and columnar spectral aerosol optical depth (AOD) were made onboard an extensive cruise experiment covering, for the first time, the entire Bay of Bengal (BoB) and northern Indian Ocean. The results are synthesized to understand the optical properties of aerosols in the marine atmospheric boundary layer and their dependence on the size distribution. The observations revealed distinct spatial and spectral variations of all the aerosol parameters over the BoB and the presence of strong latitudinal gradients. The size distributions varied spatially, with the majority of accumulation modes decreasing from north to south. The scattering coefficient decreased from very high values (resembling those reported for continental/urban locations) in the northern BoB to very low values seen over near-pristine environments in the southeastern BoB. The average mass scattering efficiency of BoB aerosols was found to be 2.66 ± 0.1 m2 g−1 at 550 nm. The spectral dependence of columnar AOD deviated significantly from that of the scattering coefficients in the northern BoB, implying vertical heterogeneity in the aerosol type in that region. However, a more homogeneous scenario was observed in the southern BoB. Simultaneous lidar and in situ measurements onboard an aircraft over the ocean revealed the presence of elevated aerosol layers of enhanced extinction at altitudes of 1 to 3 km with an offshore extent of a few hundred kilometers. Back-trajectory analyses showed these layers to be associated with advection from west Asia and western India. The large spatial variations and vertical heterogeneity in aerosol properties, revealed by the present study, need to be included in the regional radiative forcing over the Bay of Bengal.

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Vijayakumar S. Nair, S. Suresh Babu, K. Krishna Moorthy, and S. S. Prijith

Abstract

Making use of the extensive shipboard and aircraft measurements of aerosol properties over the oceanic regions surrounding the Indian peninsula, under the Integrated Campaign for Aerosols, gases and Radiation Budget (ICARB) field experiment during the premonsoon season (March–May), supplemented with long-term satellite data and chemical transport model simulations, investigations are made of the east–west and north–south gradients in aerosol properties and estimated radiative forcing, over the oceans around India. An eastward gradient has been noticed in most of the aerosol parameters that persisted both within the marine atmospheric boundary layer and above up to an altitude of ~6 km; the gradients being steeper at higher altitudes. It was also noticed that the north–south gradient has contrasting patterns over the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea on the either side of the Indian peninsula. The aerosol-induced atmospheric heating rate increased from a low value of ≤0.1 K day−1 in the southwestern Arabian Sea to as high as ~0.5 K day−1 over the northeastern Bay of Bengal. The simulations of species-resolved spatial gradients have revealed that the observed gradients are the result of the strong modulations by anthropogenic species over the natural gradients, thereby emphasizing the role of human activities in imparting regional forcing. These large spatial gradients in aerosol forcing induced by mostly anthropogenic aerosols over the oceanic regions around the Indian peninsula can potentially affect the regional circulation patterns.

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