Air pollution in South Asia spread over the Bay of Bengall. Photo:
Air pollution in South Asia spread over the Bay of Bengal.



Friederike Höpner, PhD candidate
Department of Meteorology, Stockholm University, Sweden


Multiple perspectives on absorbing aerosols over the northern Indian Ocean and Asia


Aerosol particles in the atmosphere scatter and absorb solar radiation, and thereby affect the Earth's energy budget, but the magnitude of the overall radiative effect due to aerosol-radiation interactions is uncertain. In particular, the impact of absorbing aerosol particles, mainly black carbon (BC), organic carbon and dust, is not completely understood. A large variety of absorbing aerosols can be found in Asia and over adjacent oceans due to huge urban, biomass burning and desert areas. This thesis focuses on the investigation of atmospheric aerosols over the northern Indian Ocean and Asia from multiple perspectives. This includes surface and vertical observations of physical and chemical particle properties by in situ and remote sensing instruments as well as an investigation of the representation of absorbing aerosols in general circulation models. One main focus is on the identification of BC-containing particles at the marine remote Maldives Climate Observatory in Hanimaadhoo (MCOH) which is frequently influenced by continental air masses containing anthropogenic aerosols. During an intensive field campaign, vertical measurements of aerosol particles were performed with a Lidar and unmanned aerial vehicles. Elevated layers of absorbing aerosol above the marine boundary layer were found frequently when air masses had their source over the northern Indian Peninsula. However, determining a complete profile of particle absorption only from Lidar measurements is linked to high uncertainties. Long-term surface measurements of particle absorption and scattering together with observations of aerosol chemical composition at MCOH are used to evaluate purely optical methods for aerosol characterization. These optical methods are found to give reasonable estimates of particle types but they can not replace detailed chemical measurements. An additional comparison study of various instruments for determination of BC mass give potentially very diverse results, highlighting the complexity of the quantification of BC-containing particles. The investigation of the representation of absorbing aerosols over Asia in general circulation models reveals firstly that the particle absorption is generally underestimated in general circulation models, and secondly that the range in aerosol absorption determined from major changes of emissions, meteorology and particle optical properties can not reach the large inter-model diversity.

Time and Place

Friday October 11, 2019, at 10.00

William-Olssonsalen, Geosciences Building Y, 1st floor, Svante Arrhenius väg 14