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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 13, 10633-10644, 2013
© Author(s) 2013. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research Article
04 Nov 2013
The variability of methane, nitrous oxide and sulfur hexafluoride in Northeast India
A. L. Ganesan1, A. Chatterjee2, R. G. Prinn1, C. M. Harth3, P. K. Salameh3, A. J. Manning4, B. D. Hall5, J. Mühle3, L. K. Meredith1, R. F. Weiss3, S. O'Doherty6, and D. Young6
1Center for Global Change Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
2Environmental Sciences Section, Bose Institute, Kolkata, India
3Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California, USA
4Atmospheric Dispersion Group, Met Office, Exeter, UK
5NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado, USA
6Atmospheric Chemistry Research Group, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK

Abstract. High-frequency atmospheric measurements of methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O) and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) from Darjeeling, India are presented from December 2011 (CH4)/March 2012 (N2O and SF6) through February 2013. These measurements were made on a gas chromatograph equipped with a flame ionization detector and electron capture detector, and were calibrated on the Tohoku University, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO)-98 and SIO-2005 scales for CH4, N2O and SF6, respectively. The observations show large variability and frequent pollution events in CH4 and N2O mole fractions, suggesting significant sources in the regions sampled by Darjeeling throughout the year. By contrast, SF6 mole fractions show little variability and only occasional pollution episodes, likely due to weak sources in the region. Simulations using the Numerical Atmospheric dispersion Modelling Environment (NAME) particle dispersion model suggest that many of the enhancements in the three gases result from the transport of pollutants from the densely populated Indo-Gangetic Plains of India to Darjeeling. The meteorology of the region varies considerably throughout the year from Himalayan flows in the winter to the strong south Asian summer monsoon. The model is consistent in simulating a diurnal cycle in CH4 and N2O mole fractions that is present during the winter but absent in the summer and suggests that the signals measured at Darjeeling are dominated by large-scale (~100 km) flows rather than local (<10 km) flows.

Citation: Ganesan, A. L., Chatterjee, A., Prinn, R. G., Harth, C. M., Salameh, P. K., Manning, A. J., Hall, B. D., Mühle, J., Meredith, L. K., Weiss, R. F., O'Doherty, S., and Young, D.: The variability of methane, nitrous oxide and sulfur hexafluoride in Northeast India, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 13, 10633-10644, doi:10.5194/acp-13-10633-2013, 2013.
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