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Discussion papers | Copyright
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2018-869
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 08 Oct 2018

Research article | 08 Oct 2018

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

Simulations of black carbon (BC) aerosol impact over Hindu-Kush Himalayan sites: validation, sources, and implications on glacier runoff

Sauvik Santra1, Shubha Verma1, Koji Fujita2, Indrajit Chakraborty1, Olivier Boucher3, Toshihiko Takemura4, John F. Burkhart5, Felix Matt5, and Mukesh Sharma6 Sauvik Santra et al.
  • 1Department of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, India
  • 2Graduate School of Environmental Studies, Nagoya University, Nagoya, Japan
  • 3Institut Pierre-Simon Laplace, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique/Sorbonne Université, 75252 Paris CEDEX 05, France
  • 4Research Institute for Applied Mechanics, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan
  • 5Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo, Norway
  • 6Department of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, India

Abstract. We estimated the black carbon (BC) concentration over the Hindu Kush Himalayan region (HKH), its impact on snow-albedo reduction and sensitivity on annual glacier runoff over the identified glaciers. These estimates were based on free-running aerosol simulations (freesimu) and constrained aerosol simulations (constrsimu) from an atmospheric general circulation model, combined with numerical simulations of glacial mass balance model. BC concentration estimated from freesimu performed better over higher altitude (HA) HKH stations than that over lower altitude (LA) stations. The estimates from constrsimu mirrored well the measurements when implemented for LA stations. Estimates of the spatial distribution of BC concentration in the snowpack (BCc) over the HKH region led to identifying a hot-spot zone located around Manora peak. Among glaciers over this zone, BCc (>60μgkg−1) and BC-induced snow-albedo reduction (≈5%) were estimated explicitly being high during the pre-monsoon for Pindari, Poting, Chorabari, and Gangotri glaciers (which are major sources of fresh water for the Indian sub-continent). The rate of increase of BCc in recent years (i.e. over the period 1961–2010) was, however, estimated being the highest for the Zemmu glacier. Sensitivity analysis with glacial mass balance model indicated the increase in annual runoff from debris-free glacier area due to BC-induced snow albedo reduction (SAR) corresponding to BCc estimated for the HKH glaciers was 4%–18%, with the highest being for the Milam and Pindari glacier. The rate of increase in annual glacier runoff per unit BC-induced percentage SAR was specifically high for Milam, Pindari, and Shunkalpa glacier. The source-specific contribution to atmospheric BC aerosols by emission sources led to identifying the potential emission source being primarily from the biofuel combustion in the Indo-Gangetic plain south to 30°N, but also from open burning in a more remote region north to 30°N.

Sauvik Santra et al.
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Short summary
The present study provided information on specific glaciers over the Hindu Kush Himalayan region as identified being vulnerable to black carbon (BC) induced impacts (affected by high BC-induced snow albedo reduction in addition to that being sensitive to BC-induced impacts), thus impacting the downstream hydrology. The source-specific contribution to atmospheric BC aerosols by emission sources led to identifying the potential emission source which was distinctive over south and north to 30° N.
The present study provided information on specific glaciers over the Hindu Kush Himalayan region...
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