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Discussion papers | Copyright
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 09 Jul 2018

Research article | 09 Jul 2018

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This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Large contrast in the vertical distribution of aerosol optical properties and radiative effects across the Indo-Gangetic Plain during SWAAMI-RAWEX campaign

Aditya Vaishya1, Surendran Nair Suresh Babu1, Venugopalan Jayachandran1, Mukunda M. Gogoi1, Naduparambil Bharathan Lakshmi1, Krishnaswamy Krishna Moorthy2, and Sreedharan Krishnakumari Satheesh2,3 Aditya Vaishya et al.
  • 1Space Physics Laboratory, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, ISRO PO, Thiruvananthapuram, India
  • 2Centre for Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India
  • 3Divecha Centre for Climate Change, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India

Abstract. Measurements of the vertical profiles of the optical properties (namely the extinction/scattering and absorption coefficients; respectively σext/σscat/σabs) of aerosols have been made across the Indo-Gangetic Plain (IGP) using an instrumented aircraft operated from three base stations (Jodhpur (JDR) representing the semiarid western IGP; Varanasi (VNS) the central IGP characterized by significant anthropogenic activities; and the industrialised coastal location in the eastern end of the IGP (Bhubaneswar, BBR)), just prior to the onset of the Indian Summer monsoon. The vertical profiles depicted region-specific absorption characteristics, while the scattering characteristics remained fairly uniform across the region, leading to a west-east gradient in the vertical structure of single scattering albedo (SSA). Integrated from near ground to 3km, the highest absorption coefficient and hence the lowest SSA occurred in the central IGP (Varanasi). Size distribution, inferred from the spectral variation of the scattering coefficient, showed a gradual shift from coarse particle dominance in the western IGP to strong accumulation dominance in the eastern coast with the central IGP coming in-between, arising from a change in the aerosol type from predominantly natural (dust and sea-salt) type in the western IGP to highly anthropogenic type (industrial emissions, fossil fuel and biomass combustion) in the eastern IGP; the central IGP exhibiting a mixture of both. Aerosol induced short-wave radiative forcing, estimated using altitude resolved SSA information, revealed significant atmospheric warming in the central IGP while a top-of-atmosphere cooling is seen, in general, in the IGP. Atmospheric heating rate profiles, estimated using altitude resolved SSA and column average SSA, revealed considerable underestimation in the latter case, emphasising the importance and necessity of having altitude resolved SSA information as against a single value for the entire column.

Aditya Vaishya et al.
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Aditya Vaishya et al.
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Short summary
Aircraft based measurements of vertical profiles of aerosol properties, across the Indo-Gangetic Plain (IGP), prior to onset of the Indian Summer Monsoon reveal a highly absorbing aerosol system over the IGP. Aerosols over the west IGP are mostly natural, larger in size, and scatter light efficiently. Those over the central and east IGP are mostly anthropogenic in origin, smaller in size, and absorb more light. Elevated absorbing aerosol layers may modulate regional precipitation patterns.
Aircraft based measurements of vertical profiles of aerosol properties, across the Indo-Gangetic...