Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 13, 15271-15299, 2013
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This discussion paper is under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).
Aerosol variability and atmospheric transport in the Himalayan region from CALIOP 2007–2010 observations
S. Bucci1,2, C. Cagnazzo1, F. Cairo1, L. Di Liberto1, and F. Fierli1
1Institute for Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, ISAC-CNR, Italy
2Dept. of Physics, Ferrara University, Italy

Abstract. Himalayan Plateau is surrounded by regions with high natural and anthropogenic aerosol emissions that have a strong impact on regional climate. This is particularly critical for the Himalayan glaciers whose equilibrium is also largely influenced by radiative direct and indirect effects induced by aerosol burden. This work focuses on the spatial and vertical distribution of different aerosol types, their seasonal variability and sources. The analysis of the 2007–2010 yr of CALIPSO vertically resolved satellite data allows the identification of spatial patterns of desert dust and carbonaceous particles in different atmospheric layers. Clusters of Lagrangian back-trajectories highlight the transport pathways from source regions during the dusty spring season. The analysis shows a prevalence of dust; at low heights they are distributed mainly north (with a main contribution from the Gobi and Taklamakan deserts) and west of the Tibetan Plateau (originating from the deserts of South-West Asia and advected by the westerlies). Above the Himalayas the dust amount is minor but still not negligible (detectable in around 20% of the measurements), and transport from more distant deserts (Sahara and Arabian Peninsula) is important. Smoke aerosol, produced mainly in North India and East China, is subject to shorter range transport and is indeed observed closer to the sources while there is a limited amount reaching the top of the plateau. Data analysis reveals a clear seasonal variability in the frequencies of occurrence for the main aerosol types; dust is regulated principally by the monsoon dynamics, with maxima of occurrence in spring. The study also highlights relevant interannual differences, showing a larger presence of aerosol in the region during 2007 and 2008 yr.

Citation: Bucci, S., Cagnazzo, C., Cairo, F., Di Liberto, L., and Fierli, F.: Aerosol variability and atmospheric transport in the Himalayan region from CALIOP 2007–2010 observations, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 13, 15271-15299, doi:10.5194/acpd-13-15271-2013, 2013.
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