Transport of short-lived climate forcers/pollutants (SLCF/P) to the Himalayas during the South Asian summer monsoon onset
Over the course of six years (2006–2011), equivalent black carbon (eqBC), coarse aerosol mass (PM 1–10), and surface ozone (O 3), observed during the monsoon onset period at the Nepal Climate Observatory–Pyramid WMO/GAW Global Station (NCO-P, 5079 m a.s.l.), were analyzed to investigate events characterized by a significant increase in these short-lived climate forcers/pollutants (SLCF/P). These events occurred during periods characterized by low (or nearly absent) rain precipitation in the central Himalayas, and they appeared to be related to weakening stages (or ‘breaking’) of the South Asian summer monsoon system. As revealed by the combined analysis of atmospheric circulation, air-mass three-dimensional back trajectories, and satellite measurements of atmospheric aerosol loading, surface open fire, and tropospheric NO x , the large amount of SLCF/P reaching the NCO-P appeared to be related to natural (mineral dust) and anthropogenic emissions occurring within the PBL of central Pakistan (i.e., Thar Desert), the Northwestern Indo-Gangetic plain, and the Himalayan foothills. The systematic occurrence of these events appeared to represent the most important source of SLCF/P inputs into the central Himalayas during the summer monsoon onset period, with possible important implications for the regional climate and for hydrological cycles.