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Fog-Induced Changes in Optical and Physical Properties of Transported Aerosols over Sundarban, India

Category: Aerosol Physics and Instrumentation

Volume: 15 | Issue: 4 | Pages: 1201-1212
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2014.11.0287
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Sanat Kumar Das 1,2, Abhijit Chatterjee1,2,3, Sanjay K. Ghosh2,3, Sibaji Raha1,2,3

  • 1 Environmental Sciences Section, Bose Institute, Kolkata, India
  • 2 Center for Astroparticle Physics and Space Science, Bose Institute, Kolkata, India
  • 3 National Facility on Astroparticle Physics and Space Science, Darjeeling, India

Highlights

AOD during foggy days is observed to increase by a factor of three.
Black Carbon is trapped by fog.
‘Trapped’ BC may attach with other aerosols during fog.


Abstract

A campaign was conducted at Kalas Island, Sundarban to address fog-induced changes in optical and physical properties of aerosols during the winter period (11–16 January 2014). Being an isolated remote island in the northern coastal region of Bay of Bengal, the measurement site provides a unique opportunity to investigate aerosol properties and foggy conditions during transported aerosol plumes from the Indo-Gangetic Basin (IGB). Two fog events were observed over Sundarban during the campaign increasing Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) by almost a factor of three (1.6 ± 0.4) compared to “background” AOD of 0.52 ± 0.2 on a normal winter day. Back-trajectory analysis shows that aerosols mostly originate from the IGB contributing to higher fine-mode as well as coarse-mode aerosol concentrations during the foggy days. Black Carbon (BC), known as a tracer for anthropogenic sources, is found to be about 15.2 ± 1.3 µg/m3 at such a remote region and increased by 30% during foggy days indicating strong influence from transported anthropogenic aerosols from nearby urban regions. Similar enhancement is also observed in aerosol absorption coefficient, especially in the UV region. Low ventilation due to calm and cool atmosphere with a shallow boundary layer during foggy days could have ‘trapped’ BC over Sundarban and resulted in such an enhancement. On the other hand, the absorption angstrom exponent reduced indicating dominance of weakly spectral dependent aerosols during foggy period, mostly associated with fossil-fuel combustion. However, this could also be the result of BC coating with water-soluble species under high RH conditions. Enhancement of absorbing aerosols during foggy period reduces the incoming solar radiation, causing large perturbation in the radiation budget over the site.

Keywords

Aerosol Black carbon Fog Indo-Gangetic basin Sundarban


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