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Black Carbon Characteristics over a Semi-urban Environment in the Garhwal Himalayas


Black carbon (BC) concentrations were measured over a semi-urban location in Srinagar (Garhwal) in the central Himalaya from October 2019 to September 2020. The BC ranged between 0.7 and 3.4 µg m−3 in different months. The highest BC concentration was observed in the post-monsoon season. The long-range transport and biomass burning (BB) were found to be the major reason for BC over the region. The k values over the region ranged between − 0.004 and 0.004 in different months and indicate that aged BC was present during monsoon periods because of long-range transport. However, fresh BC was present during November, December and February (relatively fresh BC in other months). The BB contribution was up to 58%. Brown carbon (BrC) showed a similar seasonal pattern as black carbon. The BC values in the COVID-19 lockdown period were analyzed and were low compared to very high values in the same season a year before. The influence of long-range transport and forest fire incidents on BC mass concentrations is illustrated in detail. Hence, this study provides an insight into the amount of BC production due to human activity. The BC of anthropogenic origin over this region should be controlled because of its proximity to adjacent glaciers to avoid excessive BC transport to these vulnerable regions.

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Data availability

Data used in the paper is the property of Indian institute of Tropical Meteorology, MoES, Govt. India. Can be shared up on request based on terms and conditions only.


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Authors acknowledge the Director of IITM for his encouragement. IITM is funded by MoES, Government of India.


IITM is funded by MoES, Government of India.

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ASP and KS analyzed data and prepared the manuscript. ASG and SK managed data and prepared figures. GB, RL and BSM helped to correct the manuscript and figures.

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Correspondence to A. S. Panicker or A. S. Gautam.

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Panicker, A.S., Sandeep, K., Gautam, A.S. et al. Black Carbon Characteristics over a Semi-urban Environment in the Garhwal Himalayas. Pure Appl. Geophys. 180, 2879–2888 (2023).

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