Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-718
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-718

  18 Dec 2020

18 Dec 2020

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Atmospheric gas-phase composition over the Indian Ocean

Susann Tegtmeier1, Christa Marandino2, Yue Jia1, Birgit Quack2, and Anoop S. Mahajan3 Susann Tegtmeier et al.
  • 1Institute of Space and Atmospheric Studies, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada
  • 2GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, 24105 Kiel, Germany
  • 3Center for Climate Change Research, Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune, 411016, India

Abstract. The Indian Ocean is coupled to atmospheric dynamics, transport and chemical composition via several unique mechanisms, such as the seasonally varying monsoon circulation. During the winter monsoon season, high pollution levels are regularly observed over the entire northern Indian Ocean, while during the summer monsoon, clean air dominates the atmospheric composition, leading to distinct chemical regimes. The changing atmospheric composition over the Indian Ocean can interact with oceanic biogeochemical cycles and impact marine ecosystems, resulting in potential climate feedbacks.

Here, we review current progress in detecting and understanding atmospheric gas-phase composition over the Indian Ocean and its local and global impacts. The review takes into account results from recent Indian Ocean ship campaigns, satellite measurements, station data and information on continental and oceanic trace gas emissions. The distribution of all major pollutants and greenhouse gases shows pronounced differences between the landmass source regions and the Indian Ocean with strong gradients over the coastal areas. Surface pollution and ozone are highest during the winter monsoon over the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea coastal waters due to air mass advection from the Indo-Gangetic Plain and continental outflow from Southeast Asia.

We observe, however, that unusual types of wind patterns can lead to pronounced deviations of the typical trace gas distributions. For example, the ozone distribution maxima shift to different regions under different wind scenarios. The distribution of greenhouse gases over the Indian Ocean shows many similarities when compared to the pollution fields, but also some differences of the latitudinal and seasonal variations resulting from their long lifetimes and biogenic sources. Mixing ratios of greenhouse gases such as methane show positive trends over the Indian Ocean, but long-term changes of pollution and ozone, and in particular how they are driven by changing emissions and transport patterns, require further investigation in the future. Although we know that changing atmospheric composition and perturbations within the Indian Ocean affect each other, the impacts of atmospheric pollution on oceanic biogeochemistry and trace gas cycling is severely understudied. We highlight potential mechanisms, future research topics and observational requirements that need to be explored in order to fully understand interactions and feedbacks between the ocean and atmosphere in the Indian Ocean region.

Susann Tegtmeier et al.

 
Status: open (extended)
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Susann Tegtmeier et al.

Susann Tegtmeier et al.

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Short summary
In the atmosphere over the Indian Ocean, intense anthropogenic pollution from Southeast Asia mixes with pristine oceanic air. During the winter monsoon, high pollution levels are regularly observed over the entire northern Indian Ocean, while during the summer monsoon, clean air dominates. Here, we review current progress in detecting and understanding atmospheric gas-phase composition over the Indian Ocean and its impacts on the upper atmosphere, oceanic biogeochemistry and marine ecosystems.
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