Brownness of Organics in Anthropogenic Biomass Burning Aerosols over South Asia

Navinya, Chimurkar; Kapoor, Taveen Singh; Anurag, Gupta; Venkataraman, Chandra; Phuleria, Harish C.; Chakrabarty, Rajan K.

In South Asia, biomass is burned for energy and waste disposal, producing brown carbon (BrC) aerosols whose climatic impacts are highly uncertain. To assess these impacts, a real-world understanding of BrC’s physio-optical properties is essential. For this region, the order-of-magnitude variability in BrC’s spectral refractive index as a function of particle volatility distribution is poorly understood. This leads to oversimplified model parameterization and subsequent underestimation of regional radiative forcing. Here we used the field-collected aerosol samples from major anthropogenic biomass activities to examine the methanol-soluble BrC optical properties. We show a strong relation between the absorption strength, wavelength dependence, and thermo-optical fractions of carbonaceous aerosols. Our observations show strongly absorbing BrC near the Himalayan foothills that may accelerate glacier melt, further highlighting the limitations of climate models where variable BrC properties are not considered. These findings provide crucial inputs for refining climate models and developing effective regional strategies to mitigate BrC.

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Navinya, Chimurkar / Kapoor, Taveen Singh / Anurag, Gupta / et al: Brownness of Organics in Anthropogenic Biomass Burning Aerosols over South Asia. 2024. Copernicus Publications.

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