Articles | Volume 12, issue 2
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 12, 1173–1187, 2012
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 12, 1173–1187, 2012

Research article 30 Jan 2012

Research article | 30 Jan 2012

Link between local scale BC emissions in the Indo-Gangetic Plains and large scale atmospheric solar absorption

P. S. Praveen1, T. Ahmed1, A. Kar2, I. H. Rehman2, and V. Ramanathan1 P. S. Praveen et al.
  • 1Center for Clouds, Chemistry and Climate, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, MC 0221, La Jolla, CA 92093-0221, USA
  • 2The Energy and Resources Institute, Darbari Seth Block, IHC Complex, Lodhi Road, New Delhi, 110003, India

Abstract. Project Surya has documented indoor and outdoor concentrations of black carbon (BC) from traditional biomass burning cook stoves in a rural village located in the Indo-Gangetic Plains (IGP) region of N. India from November 2009–September 2010. In this paper, we systematically document the link between local scale aerosol properties and column averaged regional aerosol optical properties and atmospheric radiative forcing. We document observations from the first phase of Project Surya and estimate the source dependent (biomass and fossil fuels) aerosol optical properties from local to regional scale. Data were collected using surface based observations of BC, organic carbon (OC), aerosol light absorption, scattering coefficient at the Surya village (SVI_1) located in IGP region and integrated with satellite and AERONET observations at the regional scale (IGP). The daily mean BC concentrations at SVI_1 showed a large increase of BC during the dry season (December to February) with values reaching 35 μg m−3. Space based LIDAR data revealed how the biomass smoke was trapped within the first kilometer during the dry season and extended to above 5 km during the pre-monsoon season. As a result, during the dry season, the variance in the daily mean single scattering albedo (SSA), the ratio of scattering to extinction coefficient, and column aerosol optical properties at the local IGP site correlated (with slopes in the range of 0.85 to 1.06 and R2>0.4) well with the "IGP_AERONET" (mean of six AERONET sites). The statistically significant correlation suggested that in-situ observations can be used to derive spatial mean forcing, at least for the dry season. The atmospheric forcing due to BC and OC exceeded 20 Wm−2 during all months from November to May, supporting the deduction that elimination of cook stove smoke emissions through clean cooking technologies will likely have a major positive impact not only on human health but also on regional climate.

Final-revised paper