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How monsoon winds impact climate change by transporting pollutants in to the upper atmosphere

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As the Asian monsoon brings rain that’s vital for the agricultural economy of the vast region, additionally it is recognized to suck up in to the upper atmosphere chemical pollutants that accelerate climate change.

Scientists are eagerly awaiting the outcomes of a US-led international project that seeks to verify earlier findings published in Science that pollutants generated by get transported upwards by the and impact and, subsequently, change climate.

Atmospheric chemistry may be the study of the the different parts of planetary atmospheres, which include the tropospherethe layer of the atmosphere closest to the Earththe stratosphere along with other layers.

Laura Pan is really a principal investigator on the project and a scientist at the united states National Center for Atmospheric Research, that is leading the Asian Summer Monsoon Chemical and Climate Impact Project (ACCLIP) combined with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

ACCLIP is investigating how gas and affect global chemistry and climate.

“In recent decades, satellites have revealed that the monsoon creates a definite layer of chemicals about 16 kilometers above the planet earth, but we realize hardly any about its composition and evolution,” Pan told SciDev.Net.

“ACCLIP gives us a chance to sample what’s there, but we realize that whatever its composition, it connects to the climate.”

Studying the skies

The month-long project involves scientists from Korea, Japan, Italy and Germany, who’ll concentrate on the powerful circulation of the monsoon and sample the which are pulled upwards in to the higher atmosphere where they affect rainfall over Asia in various waysleading to both floods and droughts.

Researchers, using aircraft based at the united states air base in South Korea, will fly through areas with the worst air qualitywhich are actually where in fact the Asian monsoon occurs. Scientists think that while rain pours downwards an array of chemical pollutants get sucked by wind systems in to the upper atmosphere and that their reactions collectively are associated with .

Evidence that the South Asian monsoon transports pollutants as high because the stratosphere was initially obtainable in 2015 whenever a similar experiment, using flying into pollution hotspots, was completed by the Germany-based Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and the German Aerospace Centre.

The lifted air contains various chemicals and aerosols made by industry, agriculture, vehicle emissions along with other human-related activities, alongside natural biological processes.

“Research conducted as yet demonstrates the Asian summer monsoon lifts pollutant gases and aerosols from the boundary layer of Asia to top of the atmosphere. Part of these pollutants are transported higher in to the stratosphere and horizontally to the Western Pacific and West Africa by means of eddies,” Suvarna Fadnavis, from the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology in Pune, tells SciDev.Net.

“These pollutant gases and aerosols affect the radiative balance and chemical composition of top of the troposphere and lower stratosphere (upper atmosphere).”

Measuring monsoons

Lockdowns through the COVID-19 pandemic brought industrial and road traffic to a temporary halt, reducing the generation of pollutants and affecting the monsoon, in accordance with a 2021 Environmental Research Letters study. Researchers discovered that rainfall increased over South Asia, which includes been facing water scarcity over recent decades.

In South Asia, East Asia and West Africa, increases in monsoon rains because of global warming have already been counteracted by decreases in monsoon rains because of cooling from human-caused aerosol emissions through the 20th century, in accordance with a written report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

“Scientists have already been interested to learn if the pollutants at the top reach the stratosphere through the strong ascent occurring through the monsoon which project may prove helpful,” says Jayaraman Srinivasan, a distinguished scientist at the Divecha Centre for Climate Change and honorary professor at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore’s Centre for Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

Fadnavis says that the ACCLIP project can help understand the “linkages of the unknown pattern of Asian summer monsoon with chemical changes occurring at higher altitudes on the Asia-Pacific region and the implications on the monsoon precipitation, extreme or drought, ice clouds, temperature changes etc.”

Jayanarayanan Kuttippurath, climate scientist at the Centre for Oceans, Rivers, Atmosphere and Land Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur says that wind systems that transport pollutants and moisture certainly are a concern for East Asian and South Parts of asia.

“That is particularly very important to regions like the Indo-Gangetic Plain, where atmospheric pollution is quite highthe urban regions already are big heat islands and extra warming would make life in the cities more miserable,” he says.

Recent studies identified an area of high aerosol loading close to the tropopausethe boundary between your troposphere and the stratospherecalled the Asian Tropopause Aerosol Layer. This serves to go aerosols to top of the atmospheric layers where high aerosol concentrations make a difference “radiative forcing” and cool the Earth’s surface.

Radiative forcing is really a measure of the power balance change in the atmosphere that results from the “forcing agent”such as for example greenhouse gases and aerosols.

The Asian Summer Monsoon Chemical and Climate Impact Project will study the outflowthe wind generated by way of a stormof the Asian monsoonal circulation, which occurs primarily in top of the troposphere and stratosphere, says Kenneth Jucks, manager for top of the Atmosphere Research Program at NASA.

“Because we have been considering the outflow, being deployed on the coast of Asia to see on the Pacific is ideal,” Jucks said. “The outflow is influenced by processes that occur throughout a lot of Asia, including China, the Himalayas, northern India, and also South-East Asia.”

Kuttippurath says that reliable measurements from top of the troposphere and lower stratosphere have already been tricky to find, adding that “this kind of campaign would help scientists to raised understand the chemistry and dynamics of the spot.”

More info: J. Lelieveld et al, The South Asian monsoonpollution pump and purifier, Science (2018). DOI: 10.1126/science.aar2501

Suvarna Fadnavis et al, The impact of COVID-19 lockdown measures on the Indian summer monsoon, Environmental Research Letters (2021). DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/ac109c

J.-P. Vernier et al, CALIPSO detection of an Asian tropopause aerosol layer, Geophysical Research Letters (2011). DOI: 10.1029/2010GL046614

Pengfei Yu et al, Radiative forcing from anthropogenic sulfur and organic emissions achieving the stratosphere, Geophysical Research Letters (2016). DOI: 10.1002/2016GL070153

Provided bySciDev.Net

Citation: How monsoon winds impact climate change by transporting pollutants in to the upper atmosphere (2022, August 12) retrieved 14 August 2022 from

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