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Volume 15, issue 10 | Copyright

Special issue: The community version of the Weather Research and Forecasting...

Special issue: Coupled chemistry–meteorology modelling: status and...

Atmos. Chem. Phys., 15, 5415-5428, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-15-5415-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 19 May 2015

Research article | 19 May 2015

Sources of black carbon aerosols in South Asia and surrounding regions during the Integrated Campaign for Aerosols, Gases and Radiation Budget (ICARB)

R. Kumar1,2, M. C. Barth2, V. S. Nair3, G. G. Pfister2, S. Suresh Babu3, S. K. Satheesh4, K. Krishna Moorthy5, G. R. Carmichael6, Z. Lu7, and D. G. Streets7 R. Kumar et al.
  • 1Advanced Study Program, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, USA
  • 2Atmospheric Chemistry Division, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, USA
  • 3Space Physical Laboratory, Vikram Sarabhai Space Center, Thiruvanantpuram, India
  • 4Centre for Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India
  • 5Indian Space Research Organization (HQ), New BEL Road, Bangalore, India
  • 6Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA
  • 7Energy Systems Division, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, IL 60439, USA

Abstract. This study examines differences in the surface black carbon (BC) aerosol loading between the Bay of Bengal (BoB) and the Arabian Sea (AS) and identifies dominant sources of BC in South Asia and surrounding regions during March–May 2006 (Integrated Campaign for Aerosols, Gases and Radiation Budget, ICARB) period. A total of 13 BC tracers are introduced in the Weather Research and Forecasting Model coupled with Chemistry to address these objectives. The model reproduced the temporal and spatial variability of BC distribution observed over the AS and the BoB during the ICARB ship cruise and captured spatial variability at the inland sites. In general, the model underestimates the observed BC mass concentrations. However, the model–observation discrepancy in this study is smaller compared to previous studies. Model results show that ICARB measurements were fairly well representative of the AS and the BoB during the pre-monsoon season. Elevated BC mass concentrations in the BoB are due to 5 times stronger influence of anthropogenic emissions on the BoB compared to the AS. Biomass burning in Burma also affects the BoB much more strongly than the AS. Results show that anthropogenic and biomass burning emissions, respectively, accounted for 60 and 37% of the average ± standard deviation (representing spatial and temporal variability) BC mass concentration (1341 ± 2353 ng m−3) in South Asia. BC emissions from residential (61%) and industrial (23%) sectors are the major anthropogenic sources, except in the Himalayas where vehicular emissions dominate. We find that regional-scale transport of anthropogenic emissions contributes up to 25% of BC mass concentrations in western and eastern India, suggesting that surface BC mass concentrations cannot be linked directly to the local emissions in different regions of South Asia.

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We examine differences in the surface BC between the Bay of Bengal (BoB) and the Arabian Sea (AS) and identify dominant sources of BC in South Asia during ICARB. Anthropogenic emissions were the main source of BC during ICARB and had about 5 times stronger influence on the BoB compared to the AS. Regional-scale transport contributes up to 25% of BC mass concentrations in western and eastern India, suggesting that surface BC mass concentrations cannot be linked directly to the local emissions.
We examine differences in the surface BC between the Bay of Bengal (BoB) and the Arabian Sea...
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