• Vijayakumar S Nair

Articles written in Journal of Earth System Science

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

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

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

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.

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

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 &gt; 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 (&lt; 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.

• # Journal of Earth System Science

Volume 132, 2023
All articles
Continuous Article Publishing mode

• # Editorial Note on Continuous Article Publication

Posted on July 25, 2019