Vertical profiles of submicron aerosol single scattering albedo over the Indian region immediately before monsoon onset and during its development: research from the SWAAMI field campaign

Manoj, Mohanan R.; Satheesh, Sreedharan K.; Moorthy, Krishnaswamy K.; Coe, Hugh

Vertical structures of aerosol single scattering albedo (SSA), from near the surface through the free troposphere, have been estimated for the first time at distinct geographical locations over the Indian mainland and adjoining oceans, using in situ measurements of aerosol scattering and absorption coefficients aboard the Facility for Airborne Atmospheric Measurements (FAAM) BAe-146 aircraft during the South West Asian Aerosol Monsoon Interactions (SWAAMI) campaign from June to July 2016. These are used to examine the spatial variation of SSA profiles and also to characterize its transformation from just prior to the onset of Indian Summer Monsoon (June 2016) to its active phase (July 2016). Very strong aerosol absorption, with SSA values as low as 0.7, persisted in the lower altitudes (inline-formula<3‚ÄČkm) over the Indo-Gangetic Plains (IGP), prior to the monsoon onset, with a west-to-east gradient; lower values occurred in the north-western arid regions, peaking in the central IGP and somewhat decreasing towards the eastern end. During the active phase of the monsoon, the SSA is found to increase remarkably, indicating far less absorption. Nevertheless, significant aerosol absorption persisted in the lower and middle troposphere over the IGP. Inputting these SSA and extinction profiles into a radiative transfer model, we examined the effects of using height-resolved information in estimating atmospheric heating rates due to aerosols, over similar estimates made using a single columnar value. It was noted that use of a single SSA value leads to an underestimation (overestimation) of the heating rates over regions with low (high) SSA, emphasizing the importance of height-resolved information. Further, the use of realistic profiles showed significant heating of the atmosphere by submicron aerosol absorption at the middle troposphere, which may have strong implications for clouds and climate.

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Manoj, Mohanan R. / Satheesh, Sreedharan K. / Moorthy, Krishnaswamy K. / et al: Vertical profiles of submicron aerosol single scattering albedo over the Indian region immediately before monsoon onset and during its development: research from the SWAAMI field campaign. 2020. Copernicus Publications.

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