Climate Dynamics

, Volume 49, Issue 4, pp 1411–1428 | Cite as

Direct radiative effects of aerosols over South Asia from observations and modeling

  • Vijayakumar S. NairEmail author
  • S. Suresh Babu
  • M. R. Manoj
  • K. Krishna Moorthy
  • Mian Chin


Quantitative assessment of the seasonal variations in the direct radiative effect (DRE) of composite aerosols as well as the constituent species over the Indian sub continent has been carried out using a synergy of observations from a dense network of ground based aerosol observatories and modeling based on chemical transport model simulations. Seasonal variation of aerosol constituents depict significant influence of anthropogenic aerosol sources in winter and the dominance of natural sources in spring, even though the aerosol optical depth doesn’t change significantly between these two seasons. A significant increase in the surface cooling and atmospheric warming has been observed as season changes from winter (DRESUR = −28 ± 12 W m−2 and DREATM = +19.6 ± 9 W m−2) to spring (DRESUR = −33.7 ± 12 W m−2 and DREATM = +27 ± 9 W m−2). Interestingly, springtime aerosols are more absorptive in nature compared to winter and consequently the aerosol induced diabatic heating of the atmosphere goes as high as ~1 K day−1 during spring, especially over eastern India. The atmospheric DRE due to dust aerosols (+14 ± 7 W m−2) during spring overwhelms that of black carbon DRE (+11.8 ± 6 W m−2) during winter. The DRE at the top of the atmosphere is mostly governed by the anthropogenic aerosols during all the seasons. The columnar aerosol loading, its anthropogenic fraction and radiative effects shows a steady increase with latitude across Indian mainland leading to a larger aerosol-induced atmospheric warming during spring than in winter.


Aerosol radiative effect Black carbon Dust Anthropogenic aerosols 



This study has been carried out as a part of ARFI project of the ISRO-Geosphere Biosphere program. We thank the seamless effort made by the each and every ARFINET PIs for their interest and dedication to support the program, which resulted in such long term aerosol data over the region. Details of ARFINET are available at: We also acknowledge NASA AERONET and IMD for providing aerosol data over the Indian region. The authors acknowledge the NASA Giovanni for GOCART data, MODIS and TOMS data made available.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Space Physics LaboratoryVikram Sarabhai Space CentreThiruvananthapuramIndia
  2. 2.ISRO HeadquartersBangaloreIndia
  3. 3.NASA Goddard Space Flight CenterGreenbeltUSA

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