Atmospheric pollution in the Himalayan foothills: The SusKat-ABC international air pollution measurement campaign
Atmospheric pollution in the Himalayan foothills: The SusKat-ABC international air pollution measurement campaign
Editor(s): S. S. Gunthe, E. Weingartner, K. O. Nguyen Thi, and E. Stone
South Asia, notably the vast Indo–Gangetic plains (IGP), is one of the most heavily populated and most polluted regions of the world, and it is getting worse, for example, the region has been projected to have the worst ozone pollution in the world by 2030. The region is directly upwind of vulnerable ecosystems in the Himalayan-Tibetan region, one of the least sampled regions of the globe. Recent field experiments and modeling studies focused on northern South Asia have demonstrated that human activities have had dramatic impacts on atmospheric chemistry and physics in this region, with important implications for air quality, human health, agriculture, the cryosphere, and climate in the broader region. In order to characterize the air pollutant emissions, ambient distributions, atmospheric processes, and potential impacts in this region, the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS), Potsdam, Germany, and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), Kathmandu, Nepal, led the SusKat-ABC (Sustainable Atmosphere for the Kathmandu Valley – atmospheric brown cloud) international air pollution measurement campaign during December 2012–June 2013 in Nepal. In the course of this campaign, high-quality atmospheric data were collected at six sites (including one supersite) in the highly polluted Kathmandu Valley as well as at six sites in the surrounding regions, including the northern part of the IGP, the Himalayan foothills, and the base of Mt. Everest. With the participation of over 40 scientists from 18 research groups in 9 countries, SusKat-ABC was the second largest international air pollution measurement campaign ever conducted in South Asia (after INDOEX in 1999), and it provides detailed air pollution data for the first time for the Himalayan foothills. The campaign was endorsed by the UNEP’s Project ABC (atmospheric brown cloud). Key features of the measurements include the first deployment of a proton transfer reaction time-of-flight mass spectrometry (PTR-ToF-MS) in South Asia for the speciated measurement of ambient volatile organic compounds (VOCs), a 3-year time series of black carbon (BC) monitored with the new generation Aethalometer AE33 (the only such time series worldwide acquired with an AE33 in a highly polluted environment), an isotopic analysis of elemental carbon (EC) and organic carbon (OC) and quantification of BC and brown carbon (BrC), seasonal variations of several air pollutants at multiple sites, particle-bound polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) at six sites across the Himalayan foothills, as well as a detailed analysis of the interplay between meteorology and emissions in determining ambient air pollution concentrations in the Kathmandu Valley. This special issue will highlight the field studies carried out under the SusKat-ABC field campaign and associated modeling investigations. These studies address scientific questions on the emissions, atmospheric distributions, and atmospheric chemical composition, processing, regional trans-boundary transport, and impacts of air pollutants, for example, on air quality, human health, weather, the cryosphere, and climate in the IGP and Himalayan regions. Furthermore, this special issue is open to the submission of closely related manuscripts that are generally focused on these topics relating to IGP-Himalayan-Tibetan region. The findings of the papers in this special issue are expected to be of a great interest to the international scientific community, policy and decision makers, and the general public alike.

Download citations of all papers

04 Mar 2019
Molecular characterization of organic aerosols in the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal: insights into primary and secondary sources
Xin Wan, Shichang Kang, Maheswar Rupakheti, Qianggong Zhang, Lekhendra Tripathee, Junming Guo, Pengfei Chen, Dipesh Rupakheti, Arnico K. Panday, Mark G. Lawrence, Kimitaka Kawamura, and Zhiyuan Cong
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 19, 2725–2747,,, 2019
Short summary
05 Oct 2018
Observation and analysis of spatiotemporal characteristics of surface ozone and carbon monoxide at multiple sites in the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal
Khadak Singh Mahata, Maheswar Rupakheti, Arnico Kumar Panday, Piyush Bhardwaj, Manish Naja, Ashish Singh, Andrea Mues, Paolo Cristofanelli, Deepak Pudasainee, Paolo Bonasoni, and Mark G. Lawrence
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 18, 14113–14132,,, 2018
Short summary
21 Aug 2018
Variations in surface ozone and carbon monoxide in the Kathmandu Valley and surrounding broader regions during SusKat-ABC field campaign: role of local and regional sources
Piyush Bhardwaj, Manish Naja, Maheswar Rupakheti, Aurelia Lupascu, Andrea Mues, Arnico Kumar Panday, Rajesh Kumar, Khadak Singh Mahata, Shyam Lal, Harish C. Chandola, and Mark G. Lawrence
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 18, 11949–11971,,, 2018
Short summary
05 Apr 2018
Sources and physicochemical characteristics of black carbon aerosol from the southeastern Tibetan Plateau: internal mixing enhances light absorption
Qiyuan Wang, Junji Cao, Yongming Han, Jie Tian, Chongshu Zhu, Yonggang Zhang, Ningning Zhang, Zhenxing Shen, Haiyan Ni, Shuyu Zhao, and Jiarui Wu
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 18, 4639–4656,,, 2018
Short summary
30 Jan 2018
Transport of regional pollutants through a remote trans-Himalayan valley in Nepal
Shradda Dhungel, Bhogendra Kathayat, Khadak Mahata, and Arnico Panday
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 18, 1203–1216,,, 2018
Short summary
24 Oct 2017
Seasonal and diurnal variations in methane and carbon dioxide in the Kathmandu Valley in the foothills of the central Himalayas
Khadak Singh Mahata, Arnico Kumar Panday, Maheswar Rupakheti, Ashish Singh, Manish Naja, and Mark G. Lawrence
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 17, 12573–12596,,, 2017
Short summary
24 Oct 2017
Wintertime aerosol optical and radiative properties in the Kathmandu Valley during the SusKat-ABC field campaign
Chaeyoon Cho, Sang-Woo Kim, Maheswar Rupakheti, Jin-Soo Park, Arnico Panday, Soon-Chang Yoon, Ji-Hyoung Kim, Hyunjae Kim, Haeun Jeon, Minyoung Sung, Bong Mann Kim, Seungkyu K. Hong, Rokjin J. Park, Dipesh Rupakheti, Khadak Singh Mahata, Puppala Siva Praveen, Mark G. Lawrence, and Brent Holben
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 17, 12617–12632,,, 2017
Short summary
09 Oct 2017
Re-evaluating black carbon in the Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau: concentrations and deposition
Chaoliu Li, Fangping Yan, Shichang Kang, Pengfei Chen, Xiaowen Han, Zhaofu Hu, Guoshuai Zhang, Ye Hong, Shaopeng Gao, Bin Qu, Zhejing Zhu, Jiwei Li, Bing Chen, and Mika Sillanpää
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 17, 11899–11912,,, 2017
Short summary
18 Sep 2017
Pre-monsoon air quality over Lumbini, a world heritage site along the Himalayan foothills
Dipesh Rupakheti, Bhupesh Adhikary, Puppala Siva Praveen, Maheswar Rupakheti, Shichang Kang, Khadak Singh Mahata, Manish Naja, Qianggong Zhang, Arnico Kumar Panday, and Mark G. Lawrence
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 17, 11041–11063,,, 2017
Short summary
21 Jul 2017
Organic molecular tracers in the atmospheric aerosols from Lumbini, Nepal, in the northern Indo-Gangetic Plain: influence of biomass burning
Xin Wan, Shichang Kang, Quanlian Li, Dipesh Rupakheti, Qianggong Zhang, Junming Guo, Pengfei Chen, Lekhendra Tripathee, Maheswar Rupakheti, Arnico K. Panday, Wu Wang, Kimitaka Kawamura, Shaopeng Gao, Guangming Wu, and Zhiyuan Cong
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 17, 8867–8885,,, 2017
Short summary
04 Jul 2017
Source apportionment of NMVOCs in the Kathmandu Valley during the SusKat-ABC international field campaign using positive matrix factorization
Chinmoy Sarkar, Vinayak Sinha, Baerbel Sinha, Arnico K. Panday, Maheswar Rupakheti, and Mark G. Lawrence
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 17, 8129–8156,,, 2017
Short summary
04 Jul 2017
Investigation of the mixing layer height derived from ceilometer measurements in the Kathmandu Valley and implications for local air quality
Andrea Mues, Maheswar Rupakheti, Christoph Münkel, Axel Lauer, Heiko Bozem, Peter Hoor, Tim Butler, and Mark G. Lawrence
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 17, 8157–8176,,, 2017
Short summary
01 Jun 2017
Near-road sampling of PM2. 5, BC, and fine-particle chemical components in Kathmandu Valley, Nepal
Kabindra M. Shakya, Maheswar Rupakheti, Anima Shahi, Rejina Maskey, Bidya Pradhan, Arnico Panday, Siva P. Puppala, Mark Lawrence, and Richard E. Peltier
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 17, 6503–6516,,, 2017
Short summary
07 Sep 2016
Nepal Ambient Monitoring and Source Testing Experiment (NAMaSTE): emissions of trace gases and light-absorbing carbon from wood and dung cooking fires, garbage and crop residue burning, brick kilns, and other sources
Chelsea E. Stockwell, Ted J. Christian, J. Douglas Goetz, Thilina Jayarathne, Prakash V. Bhave, Puppala S. Praveen, Sagar Adhikari, Rashmi Maharjan, Peter F. DeCarlo, Elizabeth A. Stone, Eri Saikawa, Donald R. Blake, Isobel J. Simpson, Robert J. Yokelson, and Arnico K. Panday
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 16, 11043–11081,,, 2016
Short summary
24 Aug 2016
Boundary layer evolution over the central Himalayas from radio wind profiler and model simulations
Narendra Singh, Raman Solanki, Narendra Ojha, Ruud H. H. Janssen, Andrea Pozzer, and Surendra K. Dhaka
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 16, 10559–10572,,, 2016
Short summary
24 Mar 2016
Overview of VOC emissions and chemistry from PTR-TOF-MS measurements during the SusKat-ABC campaign: high acetaldehyde, isoprene and isocyanic acid in wintertime air of the Kathmandu Valley
Chinmoy Sarkar, Vinayak Sinha, Vinod Kumar, Maheswar Rupakheti, Arnico Panday, Khadak S. Mahata, Dipesh Rupakheti, Bhogendra Kathayat, and Mark G. Lawrence
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 16, 3979–4003,,, 2016
Short summary
17 Dec 2015
Seasonal variation of ozone and black carbon observed at Paknajol, an urban site in the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal
D. Putero, P. Cristofanelli, A. Marinoni, B. Adhikary, R. Duchi, S. D. Shrestha, G. P. Verza, T. C. Landi, F. Calzolari, M. Busetto, G. Agrillo, F. Biancofiore, P. Di Carlo, A. K. Panday, M. Rupakheti, and P. Bonasoni
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 15, 13957–13971,,, 2015
Short summary
01 Jun 2015
Atmospheric brown clouds reach the Tibetan Plateau by crossing the Himalayas
Z. L. Lüthi, B. Škerlak, S.-W. Kim, A. Lauer, A. Mues, M. Rupakheti, and S. Kang
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 15, 6007–6021,,, 2015
Short summary
CC BY 4.0