Variability and linkages of aerosol properties between sub-urban and high altitude environments in Northern India

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Title: Variability and linkages of aerosol properties between sub-urban and high altitude environments in Northern India
Author: Hooda, Rakesh
Belongs to series: Finnish Meteorological Institute Contributions 150
ISSN: 0782-6117
ISBN: 978-952-336-070-9
Abstract: Atmospheric aerosol particles are linked to visibility reduction and adverse health effects, and radiation balance of the Earth— directly by reflecting and absorbing solar radiation and indirectly by influencing the cloud properties and processes and, possibly, by changing the heterogeneous chemistry of reactive gaseous species. Atmospheric aerosols are the most uncertain driver of global climate change. The South‒Asian region has been increasingly recognized as one of the global hotspots of aerosols; and Indo Gangetic Plains (IGP) is one among them with complex geography, heterogeneity in sources and varying atmospheric dynamics. These factors make IGP’s aerosol and pollution very difficult to characterize. So far, long-term regional observations of aerosol properties have been scarce in this region, but argued necessary in order to bring the knowledge of regional and global distribution of aerosols further. In this context, regional studies of aerosol properties their dynamics and atmospheric processes are very important areas of investigation to better estimate the climatic importance of submicron aerosol particles. Moreover regional studies over IGP-Himalayas domain are inevitable to know how trans-Himalayan valleys are acting as conduits for aerosol and pollution transport from the plains to the Himalayas. Therefore, in this thesis we studied these issues by applying basic to state-of-the-art instrumentation in two different environments, plains—Gual Pahari, and Himalayan foothills— Mukteshwar; to obtain physical and optical properties of submicron particles. Additionally, we used meteorological parameters, emissions and process modelling to determine local and regional scale transport of atmospheric aerosols. The work carried out as part of the thesis infers four main conclusions, 1) Simultaneous long-term measurements at both the environments in Northern India region are useful to establish linkages between sub-urban environment and high altitude sites. One site represents a source region, while another characterize as a receiver site of atmospheric pollutants; 2) A distinct cycle of aerosol properties, both seasonal and diurnal, is present and provides information of driving factors of aerosol variability at both the sites; 3) The contribution of regional sources seem to dominate over the local /sub-urban sources, in the IGP region boundary layer; 4) Aerosol properties and specific humidity “passive tracer” based analysis clearly reveal that the mountainous terrain sites are under the influence of air from the plains due to convective transport processes enhanced by local and mesoscale topography. The results presented in this thesis are particularly useful, first, when examining the linkages of aerosol properties variability between two different environments. The second, in determining for instance local versus regional influences, and pollutants reaching high altitude sites which can be explained by boundary layer dynamics processes, especially in the mountain terrain where the modelled mixing layer depths have uncertainties. This work outlines future direction of multi-points measurements on vertical profile of atmospheric particles and local boundary layer over mountainous terrain where the atmospheric structure becomes much more complicated. Additionally, investigations including isotope-based analysis and modelling work over the Himalayan region are desirable to be able to describe better the transport of atmospheric aerosols from IGP to high altitudes and further up to Himalayan ice-pack and glaciers where aerosol deposition could have serious environmental impacts.
Date: 2019-03
Subject: Aerosol properties
Atmospheric dynamics
Regional transport
Indo-Gangetic Plains
Himalayan foothills

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