Long-term record of aerosol optical properties and chemical composition from a high-altitude site (Manora Peak) in Central Himalaya

K. Ram, M. M. Sarin, P. Hegde
2010 Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics  
A long-term study, conducted from February 2005 to July 2008, involving chemical composition and optical properties of ambient aerosols from a high-altitude site (Manora Peak: 29.4 • N, 79.5 • E, ∼1950 m a.s.l.) in the central Himalaya is reported here. The total suspended particulate (TSP) mass concentration varied from 13 to 272 µg m −3 over a span of 42 months. Aerosol optical depth (AOD) and TSP increase significantly during the summer (April-June) due to increase in the concentration of
more » ... concentration of mineral dust associated with the long-range transport from desert regions (from the middle-East and Thar Desert in western India). The seasonal variability in the carbonaceous species (EC, OC) is also significantly pronounced, with lower concentrations during the summer and monsoon (July-August) and relatively high during the post-monsoon (September-November) and winter (December-March). On average, total carbonaceous aerosols (TCA) and water-soluble inorganic species (WSIS) contribute nearly 25 and 10% of the TSP mass, respectively. The WSOC/OC ratios range from 0.36 to 0.83 (average: 0.55 ± 0.15), compared to lower ratios in the Indo-Gangetic Plain (range: 0.35-0.40), and provide evidence for the enhanced contribution from secondary organic aerosols. The mass fraction of absorbing EC ranged from less than a percent (during the summer) to as high as 7.6% (during the winter) and absorption coefficient (b abs , at 678 nm) varied between 0.9 to 33.9 Mm −1 (1 Mm −1 =10 −6 m −1 ). A significant linear relationship between b abs and EC (µgC m −3 ) yields a slope of 12.2 (± 2.3) m 2 g −1 , which is used as a measure of the mass absorption efficiency (σ abs ) of EC.
doi:10.5194/acp-10-11791-2010 fatcat:aezbuyiptnclfjgrf2i6lhwcza