Spatial heterogeneity in near surface aerosol characteristics across the Brahmaputra valley

Binita Pathak, Arup Borgohain, Pradip Kumar Bhuyan, Shyam Sundar Kundu, S. Sudhakar, Mukunda M. Gogoi, Toshihiko Takemura

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    20 Citations (Scopus)


    In order to examine the spatial variability of the aerosol characteristics across the Brahmaputra valley, a land campaign was conducted during late winter (February 3-March 2) 2011. Measurements of particulate matter (PM, PM10, PM2.5) and black carbon (BC) concentrations were made onboard an interior redesigned vehicle. The length of the campaign trail stretched about 700 km, covering the longitude belt of 89.97°-95.55°E and latitude belt of 26.1°-27.6°N, comprising 13 measurement locations. The valley is divided into three sectors longitudinally: western sector (R1: 89.97°-91.75°E), middle sector (R2: 92.5°- 94.01°E) and eastern sector (R3: 94.63°-95.55°E). Spatial heterogeneity in aerosol distribution has been observed with higher PM10 and PM2.5 concentrations at the western and middle sectors compared to the eastern sector. The locations in the western sector are found to be rich in BC compared to the other two sectors and there is a gradual decrease in BC concentrations from west to east of the Brahmaputra valley. Two hotspots within the western and middle sectors with high PM and BC concentrations have been identified. The associated physico-optical parameters of PM reveal abundance of PM2.5 aerosols along the entire valley. High population density in the western and middle sectors, together with the contribution of remote aerosols, leads to higher anthropogenic aerosols over those regions. Spectral Radiation-Transport Model for Aerosol Species (SPRINTARS) slightly underestimates the measured PM10 and PM2.5 at the eastern sector while the model overestimates the measurements at a number of locations in the western sector. In general, BC is underestimated by the model. The variation of BC within the campaign trail has not been adequately captured by the model leading to higher variance in the western locations as compared to the middle and eastern locations.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)651-663
    Number of pages13
    JournalJournal of Earth System Science
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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