Aerosol Absorption And Source Characteristics Over Different Environments
Sindhu, Kapil Dev
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Extremely fine liquid droplets or solid particles, those remain suspended in the air, are known as aerosols. They are produced by natural sources and anthropogenic activities. Several types of aerosols produced by different processes are present in the atmosphere and every type of aerosol species exhibit different types of physical and chemical properties. Though making up only a small fraction of atmospheric mass aerosols are capable of altering Earth’s climate by scattering and absorbing incoming solar radiation and absorbing outgoing radiation. Adding to the complexity, they can act as cloud condensation nuclei and modify cloud properties. Major objective of this thesis is to study absorption due to aerosols and factors controlling the absorbing efficiency of aerosols over various environments. We have demonstrated a new method to quantify the organic carbon in terms of optical depth. Our studies demonstrate large “anomalous” absorption in the UV wavelength region over several regions. Further investigations revealed that a major part of this additional absorption is contributed by organic carbon aerosols and partly due to dust aerosols. We show that it is possible to discriminate UV absorption by dust and organic carbon by making use of the fact that dust aerosols are much larger in size compared to organic aerosols. Examination of aerosol optical depth values measured at cities south of Saharan desert indicates high short wave absorption due to coarse mode aerosols probably dust. Even at low values of Angstrom wavelength exponent, which indicates the presence of large aerosols (e.g., dust over land), absorption was found reasonably high compared to that of pure dust. On the other hand, over regions in the northern part of the Sahara close to Europe, short wave absorption was found to be lower. The enhanced short wave absorption due to coarse particles is unexpected. It appears that the deposition of anthropogenic aerosols such as black carbon over dust aerosols is likely to be responsible for this enhanced short wave absorption. This is a typical example of how anthropogenic aerosols can modify the properties of natural aerosols. We have carried out source apportionment using backward air parcel trajectories by applying k-means method of clustering and obtained various aerosol terms corresponding to each cluster. We have selected three island sites and one site in the middle of Saharan desert for this study. High aerosol radiative forcing values are observed even over remote island locations. Our study demonstrates the role of aerosols transported from the main land in influencing the aerosol environment even over remote marine regions.
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