• K Krishna Moorthy

      Articles written in Journal of Earth System Science

    • The role of low-frequency intraseasonal oscillations in the anomalous Indian summer monsoon rainfall of 2002

      S Sajani S Naseema Beegum K Krishna Moorthy

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      We analyze the dynamical features and responsible factors of the low-frequency intraseasonal time scales which influenced the nature of onset, intensity and duration of active/break phases and withdrawal of the monsoon during the anomalous Indian summer monsoon of 2002 – the most severe drought recorded in recent times. During that season, persistent warm sea surface temperature anomalies over the equatorial Indian Ocean played a significant role in modulating the strength of the monsoon Hadley circulation. This in turn affected the onset and intense break spells especially the long break during the peak monsoon month of July. Strong low-frequency intraseasonal modulations with significant impact on the onset and active/break phases occurred in 2002 which were manifested as a good association between low-frequency intraseasonal oscillations and the onset and active/break spells. Further, SST anomalies over the equatorial Indo-Pacific region on low-frequency intraseasonal time scales were found to affect the equatorial eastward and thereby off-equatorial northward propagations of enhanced convection over the Indian region. These propagations in turn modulated the active/break cycle deciding the consequent severity of the 2002 drought.

    • Preface

      K Krishna Moorthy

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    • Integrated Campaign for Aerosols, gases and Radiation Budget (ICARB): An overview

      K Krishna Moorthy S K Satheesh S Suresh Babu C B S Dutt

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      During March–May 2006, an extensive, multi-institution, multi-instrument, and multi-platform integrated field experiment ‘Integrated Campaign for Aerosols, gases and Radiation Budget’ (ICARB) was carried out under the Geosphere Biosphere Programme of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO-GBP). The objective of this largest and most exhaustive field campaign, ever conducted in the Indian region, was to characterize the physico-chemical properties and radiative effects of atmospheric aerosols and trace gases over the Indian landmass and the adjoining oceanic regions of the Arabian Sea, northern Indian Ocean, and Bay of Bengal through intensive, simultaneous observations. A network of ground-based observatories (over the mainland and islands), a dedicated ship cruise over the oceanic regions using a fully equipped research vessel, the Sagar Kanya, and altitude profiling over selected regions using an instrumented aircraft and balloonsondes formed the three segments of this integrated experiment, which were carried out in tandem. This paper presents an overview of the ICARB field experiment, the database generated, and some of its interesting outcomes though these are preliminary in nature.

      The ICARB has revealed significant spatio-temporal heterogeneity in most of the aerosol characteristics both over land and ocean. Observed aerosol loading and optical depths were comparable to or in certain regions, a little lower than those reported in some of the earlier campaigns for these regions. The preliminary results indicate:

      low (> 0.2) aerosol optical depths (AOD) over most part of the Arabian Sea, except two pockets; one off Mangalore and the other, less intense, in the central Arabian Sea at ∼18° N latitude;

      High ˚Angström exponent in the southern Arabian Sea signifying steep AOD spectra and higher abundance of accumulation mode particles in the southern Arabian Sea and off Mangalore;

      Remarkably low ˚Angström exponents signifying increased concentration of coarse mode aerosols and high columnar abundance in the northern Arabian Sea;

      Altitude profiles from aircraft showed a steady BC level up to 3 km altitude with structures which were associated with inversions in the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL);

      A surprisingly large increase in the BC mass fraction with altitude;

      Presence of a convectively mixed layer extending up to about 1 km over the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal;

      A spatial off shore extent of > 100 km for the anthropogenic impact at the coast; and

      Advection of aerosols, through airmass trajectories, from west Asia and NW arid regions of India leading to formation of elevated aerosol layers extending as far as 400 km off the east coast.

    • Aircraft measurements of aerosol black carbon from a coastal location in the north-east part of peninsular India during ICARB

      S Suresh Babu S K Satheesh K Krishna Moorthy C B S Dutt Vijayakumar S Nair Denny P Alappattu P K Kunhikrishnan

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      During the Integrated Campaign for Aerosols, gases and Radiation Budget (ICARB) over India, high-resolution airborne measurements of the altitude profiles of the mass concentrations (MB) of aerosol black carbon (BC) were made off Bhubaneswar (BBR, 85.82°E, 20.25°N), over northwest Bay of Bengal, in the altitude region upto 3 km. Such high-resolution measurements of altitude profiles of aerosols are done for the first time over India. The profiles showed a near-steady vertical distribution of MB modulated with two small peaks, one at 800m and the other at ∼2000m. High resolution GPS (Global Positioning System) sonde (Vaisala) measurements around the same region onboard the research vessel Sagar Kanya (around the same time of the aircraft sortie) revealed two convectively well mixed layers, one from ground to ∼700m with an inversion at the top and the other extends from 1200m to ∼2000m with a second inversion at ∼2200m and a convectively stable region in the altitude range 700–1200m. The observed peaks in the MB profile are found to be associated with these temperature inversions. In addition, long-range transport from the Indo- Gangetic Plain (IGP) and deserts lying further to the west also influence the vertical profile of BC. Latitudinal variation of MB showed a remarkable land ocean contrast at the 500m altitude (within the well mixed region) with remarkably lower values over oceans, suggesting the impact of strong sources over the mainland. However, above the ABL (at 1500m), the latitudinal variations were quite weak, and this appears to be resulting from the impact of long-range transport. Comparison of the altitude profiles of MB over BoB off BBR with those obtained during the earlier occasion over the inland stations of Hyderabad and Kanpur showed similarities above ∼500m, with MB remaining around a steady value of ∼1 𝜇 g m−3. However, large differences are seen within the ABL. Even though the observed MB values are not unusually high, their near constancy in the vertical column will have important implications to radiative forcing.

    • Characteristics of spectral aerosol optical depths over India during ICARB

      S Naseema Beegum K Krishna Moorthy Vijayakumar S Nair S Suresh Babu S K Satheesh V Vinoj R Ramakrishna Reddy K Rama Gopal K V S Badarinath K Niranjan Santosh Kumar Pandey M Behera A Jeyaram P K Bhuyan M M Gogoi Sacchidanand Singh P Pant U C Dumka Yogesh Kant J C Kuniyal Darshan Singh

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      Spectral aerosol optical depth (AOD) measurements, carried out regularly from a network of observatories spread over the Indian mainland and adjoining islands in the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea, are used to examine the spatio-temporal and spectral variations during the period of ICARB (March to May 2006). The AODs and the derived ˚Angström parameters showed considerable variations across India during the above period. While at the southern peninsular stations the AODs decreased towards May after a peak in April, in the north Indian regions they increased continuously from March to May. The ˚Angström coefficients suggested enhanced coarse mode loading in the north Indian regions, compared to southern India. Nevertheless, as months progressed from March to May, the dominance of coarse mode aerosols increased in the columnar aerosol size spectrum over the entire Indian mainland, maintaining the regional distinctiveness. Compared to the above, the island stations showed considerably low AODs, so too the northeastern station Dibrugarh, indicating the prevalence of cleaner environment. Long-range transport of aerosols from the adjoining regions leads to remarkable changes in the magnitude of the AODs and their wavelength dependencies during March to May. HYSPLIT back-trajectory analysis shows that enhanced long-range transport of aerosols, particularly from the west Asia and northwest coastal India, contributed significantly to the enhancement of AOD and in the flattening of the spectra over entire regions; if it is the peninsular regions and the island Minicoy are more impacted in April, the north Indian regions including the Indo Gangetic Plain get affected the most during May, with the AODs soaring as high as 1.0 at 500 nm. Over the islands, the ˚Angström exponent (𝛼) remained significantly lower (∼1) over the Arabian Sea compared to Bay of Bengal (BoB) (∼1.4) as revealed by the data respectively from Minicoy and Port Blair. Occurrences of higher values of 𝛼, showing dominance of accumulation mode aerosols, over BoB are associated well with the advection, above the boundary layer, of fine particles from the east Asian region during March and April. The change in the airmass to marine in May results in a rapid decrease in 𝛼 over the BoB.

    • Size segregated aerosol mass concentration measurements over the Arabian Sea during ICARB

      Vijayakumar S Nair K Krishna Moorthy S Suresh Babu K Narasimhulu L Siva Sankara Reddy R Ramakrishna Reddy K Rama Gopal V Sreekanth B L Madhavan K Niranjan

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      Mass concentration and mass size distribution of total (composite) aerosols near the surface are essential inputs needed in developing aerosol models for radiative forcing estimation as well as to infer the environment and air quality. Using extensive measurements onboard the oceanographic research vessel, Sagar Kanya, during its cruise SK223B in the second phase of the ocean segment of the Integrated Campaign for Aerosols, gases and Radiation Budget (ICARB), the spatial distribution of the mass concentration and mass size distribution of near-surface aerosols are examined for the first time over the entire Arabian Sea, going as far as 58°E and 22°N, within a span of 26 days. In general, the mass concentrations $(M_T)$ were found to be low with the mean value for the entire Arabian Sea being 16.7 ± 7 𝜇 g m−3; almost 1/2 of the values reported in some of the earlier campaigns. Coarse mode aerosols contributed, on an average, 58% to the total mass, even though at a few pockets accumulation mode contribution dominated. Spatially, significant variations were observed over central and northern Arabian Sea as well as close to the west coast of India. In central Arabian Sea, even though the $M_T$ was quite low, contribution of accumulation aerosols to the total mass concentration was greater than 50%. Effective radius, a parameter important in determining scattering properties of aerosol size distribution, varied between 0.07 and 0.4 𝜇 m with a mean value of 0.2 𝜇 m. Number size distributions, deduced from the mass size distributions, were approximated to inverse power-law form and the size indices (𝜐) were estimated. It was found to vary in the range 3.9 to 4.2 with a mean value of 4.0 for the entire oceanic region. Extinction coefficients, estimated using the number-size distributions, were well-correlated with the accumulation mode mass concentration with a correlation coefficient of 0.82.

    • Chemical characteristics of $PM_{10} aerosols and airmass trajectories over Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea during ICARB

      L A K Reddy U C Kulshrestha J Satyanarayana Monika J Kulshrestha K Krishna Moorthy

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      For the first time, chemical characterization of PM10 aerosols was attempted over the Bay of Bengal (BoB) and Arabian Sea (AS) during the ICARB campaign. Dominance of SO$^{2−}_{4}$, NH$^{+}_{4}$ and NO$^{−}_{3}$ was noticed over both the regions which indicated the presence of ammonium sulphate and ammonium nitrate as major water soluble particles playing a very important role in the radiation budget. It was observed that all the chemical constituents had higher concentrations over Bay of Bengal as compared to Arabian Sea. Higher concentrations were observed near the Indian coast showing influence of landmass indicating that gaseous pollutants like SO2, NH3 and NOx are transported over to the sea regions which consequently contribute to higher SO$^{2−}_{4}$, NH$^{+}_{4}$ and NO$^{−}_{3}$ aerosols respectively. The most polluted region over BoB was 13°-19°N and 70°-90°E while it was near 11°N and 75°E over AS. Although the concentrations were higher over Bay of Bengal for all the chemical constituents of PM10 aerosols, per cent non-sea salt (nss) fraction (with respect to Na) was higher over Arabian Sea. Very low Ca+2 concentration was observed at Arabian Sea which led to higher atmospheric acidity as compared to BoB. Nss SO$^{2−}_{4}$ alone contributed 48% of total water soluble fraction over BoB as well as AS. Ratios SO$^{2−}_{4}$/NO$^{−}_{3}$ over both the regions (7.8 and 9 over BoB and AS respectively) were very high as compared to reported values at land sites like Allahabad (0.63) and Kanpur (0.66) which may be due to very low NO−3 over sea regions as compared to land sites. Air trajectory analysis showed four classes: (i) airmass passing through Indian land, (ii) from oceanic region, (iii) northern Arabian Sea and Middle East and (iv) African continent. The highest nss SO$^{2−}_{4}$ was observed during airmasses coming from the Indian land side while lowest concentrations were observed when the air was coming from oceanic regions. Moderate concentrations of nss SO$^{2−}_{4}$ were observed when air was seen moving from the Middle East and African continent. The pH of rainwater was observed to be in the range of 5.9–6.5 which is lower than the values reported over land sites. Similar feature was reported over the Indian Ocean during INDOEX indicating that marine atmosphere had more free acidity than land atmosphere.

    • Influence of circulation parameters on the AOD variations over the Bay of Bengal during ICARB

      Marina Aloysius Mannil Mohan S Suresh Babu Vijayakumar S Nair K Parameswaran K Krishna Moorthy

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      MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) level-3 aerosol data, NCEP (National Centers for Environmental Prediction) reanalysis winds and QuikSCAT ocean surface winds were made use of to examine the role of atmospheric circulation in governing aerosol variations over the Bay of Bengal (BoB) during the first phase of the ICARB (Integrated Campaign for Aerosols, gases and Radiation Budget) campaign (March 18–April 12, 2006). An inter-comparison between MODIS level-3 aerosol optical depth (AOD) data and ship-borne MICROTOPS measurements showed good agreement with correlation 0.92 (𝑝 > 0.0001) and a mean MODIS underestimation by 0.01. During the study period, the AOD over BoB showed high values in the northern/north western regions, which reduced towards the central and southern BoB. The wind patterns in lower atmospheric layers (< 850 hPa) indicated that direct transport of aerosols from central India was inhibited by the presence of a high pressure and a divergence over BoB in the lower altitudes. On the other hand, in the upper atmospheric levels, winds from central and northern India stretched south eastwards and converged over BoB with a negative vorticity indicative of a downdraft. These wind patterns pointed to the possibility of aerosol transport from central India to BoB by upper level winds. This mechanism was further confirmed by the significant correlations that AOD variations over BoB showed with aerosol flux convergence and flux vorticity at upper atmospheric levels (600–500 hPa). AOD in central and southern BoB away from continental influences displayed an exponential dependence on the QuikSCAT measured ocean surface wind speed. This study shows that particles transported from central and northern India by upper atmospheric circulations as well as the marine aerosols generated by ocean surface winds contributed to the AOD over the BoB during the first phase of ICARB.

    • Aerosol characteristics at a remote island: Minicoy in southern Arabian Sea

      V Vinoj S K Satheesh K Krishna Moorthy

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      Extensive measurements of aerosol optical and microphysical properties made at a remote island, Minicoy in southern Arabian Sea for the period (February 2006–March 2007) are used to characterize their temporal variability and Black Carbon (BC) mass mixing ratio. Large decrease in aerosol BC (from ∼800 ng m−3 to ∼100 ng m−3) was observed associated with change in airmass characteristics and monsoon rains. The total aerosol mass varied between ∼80 and 20 𝜇 g m−3. Though the total mass fell drastically, a slight increase in super micron mass was observed during the June–August period associated with high winds. The mass fraction of Black Carbon aerosols during the prevalence of continental airmass is found to be ∼1.2% of the composite aerosols, which is much lower than the values reported earlier for this region.

    • Physical and optical characteristics of atmospheric aerosols during ICARB at Manora Peak, Nainital: A sparsely inhabited, high-altitude location in the Himalayas

      U C Dumka K Krishna Moorthy P Pant P Hegde Ram Sagar K Pandey

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      Collocated measurements of the optical and physical properties of columnar and near-surface aerosols were carried out from Manora Peak, Nainital (a sparsely inhabited, high altitude location, ∼2km above mean sea level, in the Himalayas), during the Integrated Campaign for Aerosols, gases and Radiation Budget (ICARB) under the Geosphere Biosphere Programme of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO-GBP). Under this, observational data of spectral aerosol optical depths (AOD), mass concentration of aerosol black carbon (MB), mass concentration ($M_T$) and number concentration ($N_t$) of composite (total) aerosols near the surface and meteorological parameters were collected during the period February 15 to April 30, 2006. Though very low (> 0.1 at 500 nm) AODs were observed during clear days, as much as a fourfold increase was seen on hazy days. The ˚Angström exponent (𝛼), deduced from the spectral AODs, revealed high values during clear days, while on hazy days 𝛼 was low; with an overall mean value of 0.69 ± 0.06 for the campaign period. BC mass concentration varied between 0.36 and 2.87 𝜇 g m−3 and contributed in the range 0.7 to 1.8% to the total aerosol mass. Total aerosol number concentration and BC mass concentration showed diurnal variation with a midnight and early morning minimum and a late afternoon maximum; a pattern quite opposite to that seen in low altitude stations. These are attributed to the dynamics of the atmospheric boundary layer.

    • Aerosol optical depths at Mohal-Kullu in the northwestern Indian Himalayan high altitude station during ICARB

      Jagdish C Kuniyal Alpana Thakur Harinder K Thakur Sanjeev Sharma P Pant Pan S Rawat K Krishna Moorthy

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      First time observations of spectral aerosol optical depths (AODs) at Mohal (31.9°N, 77.11°E; altitude 1154m amsl) in the Kullu valley, located in the northwestern Indian Himalayan region, have been carried out during Integrated Campaign for Aerosols, gases and Radiation Budget (ICARB), as a part of the Indian Space Research Organisation–Geosphere Biosphere Program (ISRO–GBP). AODs at six wavelengths are obtained using Microtops-II Sunphotometer and Ozonometer. The monthly mean values of AOD at 500 nm are found to be 0.27 ± 0.04 and 0.24 ± 0.02 during March and April, 2006 respectively. However, their monthly mean values are 0.33 ± 0.04 at 380 nm and 0.20 ± 0.03 nm at 870 nm during March 2006 and 0.31 ± 0.3 at 380 nm and 0.17 ± 0.2 at 870 nm during April 2006, showing a gradual decrease in AOD with wavelength. The ˚Angstrom wavelength exponent '𝛼' had a mean value of 0.72 ± 0.05, implying reduced dominance of fine particles. Further, the afternoon AOD values are higher as compared to forenoon values by ∼33.0% during March and by ∼9.0% during April 2006 and are attributed to the pollutant lifted up from the valley by the evolving boundary layer. Besides the long-range transportation of aerosol particles by airmass from the Great Sahara and the Thar Desert regions to the observing site, the high values of AODs have also been influenced by biomass burning and frequent incidents of forest fire at local levels.

    • Monsoon sensitivity to aerosol direct radiative forcing in the community atmosphere model

      S Sajani K Krishna Moorthy K Rajendran Ravi S Nanjundiah

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      Aerosol forcing remains a dominant uncertainty in climate studies. The impact of aerosol direct radiative forcing on Indian monsoon is extremely complex and is strongly dependent on the model, aerosol distribution and characteristics specified in the model, modelling strategy employed as well as on spatial and temporal scales. The present study investigates (i) the aerosol direct radiative forcing impact on mean Indian summer monsoon when a combination of quasi-realistic mean annual cycles of scattering and absorbing aerosols derived from an aerosol transport model constrained with satellite observed Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) is prescribed, (ii) the dominant feedback mechanism behind the simulated impact of all-aerosol direct radiative forcing on monsoon and (iii) the relative impacts of absorbing and scattering aerosols on mean Indian summer monsoon. We have used CAM3, an atmospheric GCM (AGCM) that has a comprehensive treatment of the aerosol–radiation interaction. This AGCM has been used to perform climate simulations with three different representations of aerosol direct radiative forcing due to the total, scattering aerosols and black carbon aerosols. We have also conducted experiments without any aerosol forcing. Aerosol direct impact due to scattering aerosols causes significant reduction in summer monsoon precipitation over India with a tendency for southward shift of Tropical Convergence Zones (TCZs) over the Indian region. Aerosol forcing reduces surface solar absorption over the primary rainbelt region of India and reduces the surface and lower tropospheric temperatures. Concurrent warming of the lower atmosphere over the warm oceanic region in the south reduces the land–ocean temperature contrast and weakens the monsoon overturning circulation and the advection of moisture into the landmass. This increases atmospheric convective stability, and decreases convection, clouds, precipitation and associated latent heat release. Our analysis reveals a defining negative moisture-advection feedback that acts as an internal damping mechanism spinning down the regional hydrological cycle and leading to significant circulation changes in response to external radiative forcing perturbations. When total aerosol loading (both absorbing and scattering aerosols) is prescribed, dust and black carbon aerosols are found to cause significant atmospheric heating over the monsoon region but the aerosol-induced weakening of meridional lower tropospheric temperature gradient (leading to weaker summer monsoon rainfall) more than offsets the increase in summer-time rainfall resulting from the atmospheric heating effect of absorbing aerosols, leading to a net decrease of summer monsoon rainfall. Further, we have carried out climate simulations with globally constant AODs and also with the constant AODs over the extended Indian region replaced by realistic AODs. Regional aerosol radiative forcing perturbations over the Indian region is found to have impact not only over the region of loading but over remote tropical regions as well. This warrants the need to prescribe realistic aerosol properties in strategic regions such as India in order to accurately assess the aerosol impact.

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