Anthropogenic aerosols increasing over India

Nov 05, 2013

Aerosol particles in the Earth's atmosphere scatter and absorb light differently at different wavelengths, thereby affecting the amount of incoming sunlight that reaches the planet's surface and the amount of heat that escapes, potentially altering the planet's climate. Most recent regional studies of aerosol trends have used satellite data to examine aerosol levels over ocean regions; fewer regional studies have measured aerosol over land.

A network of observatories known as ARFINET was set up in the mid-1980s to measure aerosols over the Indian subcontinent. Babu et al. analyzed the data from ARFINET observations to look at the long-term trends in aerosol optical depth, a measure of the concentration of aerosols in the atmosphere. They find statistically significant increases in aerosol optical depth at most stations over the past 2 decades. In fact, they report that "a phenomenal increase in aerosol loading has taken place."

Aerosol levels and the rate of increase varied seasonally, the authors find. The rate of increase was high during the dry months of December through March, but there was no strong trend during the premonsoon (April to May) and summer monsoon periods (June through September).

The authors also used simulations to determine the contributions of different aerosol chemicals to the total aerosol optical depth. They find that contributions to total aerosol from dust have decreased, but the contributions from anthropogenic emissions have increased over the past 2 decades.

Explore further: Researchers develop new instrument to monitor atmospheric mercury

More information: Trends in Aerosol Optical Depth over Indian region: Potential causes and impact indicators, Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres, DOI: 10.1002/2013JD020507 , 2013 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2013JD020507/abstract

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

No rest for the tornado

Jul 30, 2013

(Phys.org) —Do tornadoes take the weekends off? Researchers from NC State University examined the question of the connection between tornado frequency and aerosol pollution, and found that any link between ...

The brass ring of climate modeling

Aug 05, 2013

Finding a simple way to express complex climate processes is the ultimate prize. Scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, University of Leeds, Colorado State University, the National Aeronautics ...

Recommended for you

Arsenic stubbornly taints many US wells, say new reports

23 hours ago

Naturally occurring arsenic in private wells threatens people in many U.S. states and parts of Canada, according to a package of a dozen scientific papers to be published next week. The studies, focused mainly ...

Who's been affected by Australia's extreme heat? Everyone

Jan 30, 2015

Australia has been hit by two years of heat: 2013 was the hottest ever recorded and 2014 wasn't far behind, taking third place. The country has also sweltered through several significant heatwaves, and, though ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.