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Mixing states of aerosols over four environmentally distinct atmospheric regimes in Asia: coastal, urban, and industrial locations influenced by dust

Abstract

Mixing can influence the optical, physical, and chemical characteristics of aerosols, which in turn can modify their life cycle and radiative effects. Assumptions on the mixing state can lead to uncertain estimates of aerosol radiative effects. To examine the effect of mixing on the aerosol characteristics, and their influence on radiative effects, aerosol mixing states are determined over four environmentally distinct locations (Karachi, Gwangju, Osaka, and Singapore) in Asia, an aerosol hot spot region, using measured spectral aerosol optical properties and optical properties model. Aerosol optical depth (AOD), single scattering albedo (SSA), and asymmetry parameter (g) exhibit spectral, spatial, and temporal variations. Aerosol mixing states exhibit large spatial and temporal variations consistent with aerosol characteristics and aerosol type over each location. External mixing of aerosol species is unable to reproduce measured SSA over Asia, thus providing a strong evidence that aerosols exist in mixed state. Mineral dust (MD) (core)-Black carbon (BC) (shell) is one of the most preferred aerosol mixing states. Over locations influenced by biomass burning aerosols, BC (core)-water soluble (WS, shell) is a preferred mixing state, while dust gets coated by anthropogenic aerosols (BC, WS) over urban regions influenced by dust. MD (core)-sea salt (shell) mixing is found over Gwangju corroborating the observations. Aerosol radiative forcing exhibits large seasonal and spatial variations consistent with features seen in aerosol optical properties and mixing states. TOA forcing is less negative/positive for external mixing scenario because of lower SSA. Aerosol radiative forcing in Karachi is a factor of 2 higher when compared to Gwangju, Osaka, and Singapore. The influence of g on aerosol radiative forcing is insignificant. Results emphasize that rather than prescribing one single aerosol mixing state in global climate models regionally and temporally varying aerosol mixing states should be included for more accurate assessment of aerosol radiative effects

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Acknowledgments

We thank B.N. Holben (Karachi), S.-C. Liew and S.V. Salinos Cortijo (Singapore), Y.J. Kim (Gwangju), and I. Sano (Osaka), the principal investigators of the respective sites, for their efforts in establishing and maintaining the AERONET, the data of which are used in the study. Columnar ozone from OMI are downloaded from GES-DISC, NASA. Winds, temperature, and pressure profiles are downloaded from http://www.cdc.noaa.gov. PRL high performance computing cluster was used for the coated sphere Mie calculation and radiative forcing computation.

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Correspondence to S. Ramachandran.

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Responsible Editor: Gerhard Lammel

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Ramachandran, S., Srivastava, R. Mixing states of aerosols over four environmentally distinct atmospheric regimes in Asia: coastal, urban, and industrial locations influenced by dust. Environ Sci Pollut Res 23, 11109–11128 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-016-6254-8

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Keywords

  • Aerosols
  • Mixing
  • Environment
  • Pollution effects
  • Region
  • Radiative implications