Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-1052
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-1052

  20 Oct 2020

20 Oct 2020

Review status: a revised version of this preprint was accepted for the journal ACP.

Drought-induced biomass burning as a source of black carbon to the Central Himalaya since 1781 CE as reconstructed from the Dasuopu Ice Core

Joel D. Barker1,2, Susan Kaspari3, Paolo Gabrielli1,2, Anna Wegner2, Emilie Beaudon2, M. Roxana Sierra-Hernández2, and Lonnie Thompson1,2 Joel D. Barker et al.
  • 1Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center, The Ohio State University, Columbus, 43210, USA
  • 2School of Earth Sciences, The Ohio State University, Columbus, 43210, USA
  • 3Department of Geological Sciences, Central Washington University, Ellensburg, USA, 98926

Abstract. Himalayan glaciers are melting due to atmospheric warming with the potential to limit access to water for more than 25 % of the global population that reside in these glacier meltwater catchments. Black carbon has been implicated as a factor that is contributing to Himalayan glacier melt, but its sources and mechanisms of delivery to the Himalayas remain controversial. Here, we provide a 211-year ice core record spanning 1781–1992 CE for refractory black carbon (rBC) deposition from the Dasuopu glacier ice core, that has to date provided the highest elevation ice core record (7200 m). We report an average rBC concentration of 1.5 µg/L (SD = 5.0, n = 1628) over the 211-year period. An increase in the frequency and magnitude of rBC deposition occurs after 1877 CE, accompanied by decreased snow accumulation associated with a shift in the North Atlantic Oscillation Index to a positive phase. Typically, rBC is deposited onto Dasuopu glacier during the non-monsoon season, and short-lived increases in rBC concentration are associated with periods of drought within neighboring regions in north-west India, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Using a combination of spectral and back trajectory analyses, and comparison with a concurrent analysis of trace metals at equivalent depths in the same ice core, we show that biomass burning resulting from dry conditions is a source of rBC to the central Himalaya, and is responsible for deposition that is up to 60 times higher than the average rBC concentration over the time period analyzed. We suggest that biomass burning is a significant source of rBC to the central Himalaya, and that the rBC record can be used to identify periods of drought in nearby regions that are up-wind of Dasuopu glacier.

Joel D. Barker et al.

 
Status: final response (author comments only)
Status: final response (author comments only)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
[Login for authors/editors] [Subscribe to comment alert] Printer-friendly Version - Printer-friendly version Supplement - Supplement

Joel D. Barker et al.

Joel D. Barker et al.

Viewed

Total article views: 117 (including HTML, PDF, and XML)
HTML PDF XML Total Supplement BibTeX EndNote
82 33 2 117 18 5 5
  • HTML: 82
  • PDF: 33
  • XML: 2
  • Total: 117
  • Supplement: 18
  • BibTeX: 5
  • EndNote: 5
Views and downloads (calculated since 20 Oct 2020)
Cumulative views and downloads (calculated since 20 Oct 2020)

Viewed (geographical distribution)

Total article views: 282 (including HTML, PDF, and XML) Thereof 278 with geography defined and 4 with unknown origin.
Country # Views %
  • 1
1
 
 
 
 
Latest update: 07 Mar 2021
Download
Short summary
Black carbon (BC), an aerosol that contributes to glacier melt, is important for central Himalayan hydrology because glaciers are a water source to rivers that affect 25 % of the global population in south-east Asia. Using the Dasuopu ice core (1781–1992 CE), we find that drought-associated biomass burning is an important source of BC to the central Himalaya over a period of months to years, and that hemispheric changes in atmospheric circulation influence BC deposition over longer periods.
Altmetrics