Articles | Volume 11, issue 16
Research article
15 Aug 2011
Research article |  | 15 Aug 2011

Effect of the summer monsoon on aerosols at two measurement stations in Northern India – Part 2: Physical and optical properties

A.-P. Hyvärinen, T. Raatikainen, M. Komppula, T. Mielonen, A.-M. Sundström, D. Brus, T. S. Panwar, R. K. Hooda, V. P. Sharma, G. de Leeuw, and H. Lihavainen

Abstract. Aerosol physical and optical properties were measured at two locations in northern India. The first measurement station was a background site in Mukteshwar, about 350 km northeast of New Delhi, in the foothills of the Indian Himalayas, with data from 2006 to 2009. The second measurement site was located in Gual Pahari, about 25 km south of New Delhi, with data from 2008 to 2009. At both stations, the average aerosol concentrations during the monsoon were decreased by 40–75 % compared to the pre-monsoon average concentrations. The decrease varied with the total local rainfall. In Mukteshwar, the monsoon season removed particles from all size classes, due to a combination of rain scavenging and activation to cloud and mountain fog droplets. The scavenging by rain is least effective for the size range of the accumulation mode particles. In Gual Pahari, this was the only major wet removal mechanism and, as a result, the accumulation mode particles were less effectively removed. Aerosol concentrations during the early monsoon were found to be affected by mineral dust which in Gual Pahari was observed as an increased particle volume at a diameter around 3–4 μm. The single scattering albedo varied from 0.73 to 0.93 during the monsoon season, being slightly lower in Gual Pahari than in Mukteshwar. This is due to the fact that Gual Pahari resided closer to high anthropogenic black carbon emissions. As the absorbing particles are typically in the accumulation mode, they were not effectively removed by rain scavenging. The aerosol columnar properties, which were measured in Gual Pahari, showed a somewhat different seasonal behaviour compared to the surface measurements, with the aerosol optical depth increasing to an annual maximum in the early monsoon season.

Final-revised paper