Diurnal and seasonal variations of meteorology and aerosol concentrations in the foothills of the nepal himalayas (Nagarkot: 1,900 m asl)
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A 10-months long monitoring experiment to investigate the diurnal and seasonal variation of aerosol size distribution at Nagarkot (1,900 m asl) in the Kathmadu Valley was carried out as part of a study on katabatic and anabatic influence on pollution dispersion mechanisms. Seasonal means show total aerosol number concentration was highest during post-monsoon season (775 ± 417 cm−3) followed by pre-monsoon (644 ± 429 cm−3) and monsoon (293 ± 205 cm−3) periods. Fine particle concentration (0.25 μm ≤ DP ≤ 2.5 μm) dominated in all seasons, however, contribution by coarse particles (3.0 μm ≤ DP ≤ 10.0 μm) is more significant in the monsoon season with contributions from particles larger than 10.0 μm being negligible. Our results show a regular diurnal pattern of aerosol concentration in the valley with a morning and an evening peak. The daily twin peaks are attributed to calm conditions followed by transitional growth and break down of the valley boundary layer below. The peaks are generally associated with enhancement of the coarse particle fraction. The evening peak is generally higher than the morning peak, and is caused by fresh evening pollution from the valley associated with increased local activities coupled with recirculation of these trapped pollutants. Relatively clean air masses from neighbouring valleys contribute to the smaller morning peak. Gap flows through the western passes of the Kathmandu Valley, which sweep away the valley pollutants towards the eastern passes modulated by the mountain - valley wind system, are mainly responsible for the dominant pollutant circulation patterns exhibited within the valley.
Key wordsHimalayas aerosol Kathmandu Valley mountain-valley circulation
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