Observation of black carbon, ozone and carbon monoxide in the Kali Gandaki Valley Nepal

Tuesday, 16 December 2014: 2:40 PM
Shradda Dhungel, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, United States, Arnico K Panday, International Center for Integrated Mountain Development, Kathmandu, Nepal and Bhogendra Kathayat, Nepal Wireless, Kathmandu, Nepal
The increased melting of snow and ice in the arctic and the Himalaya is a growing concern for all of the earth’s population. Deposition of black carbon (BC) on the snow and ice surface accelerates melting by absorbing the radiative energy and directly transferring all that energy onto the underlying surface. During pre-monsoon season, satellite images show a thick layer of haze covering the Indo-Gangetic plain (IGP) and the Himalayan foothills. Sub-micron particles are transported to the Himalaya from the IGP predominantly driven by the thermal valley wind system. The Himalayas consist of some of the tallest mountain ranges in the world, over 8000m tall that reach the stratosphere. The Kali Gandaki Valley in Nepal is one of the deepest gorges in the world, and has some of the highest up-valley winds in the world. It is also one of the most open connecting points for air from IGP to reach the Tibetan Plateau.

In 2010 the University of Virginia, in collaboration with ICIMOD and Nepal Wireless, established an atmospheric research station in Jomsom, Nepal (28.78N, 83.42E, 2900 m.a.s.l.) half-way along the Kali Gandaki valley. The station is equipped to measure black carbon (BC), carbon monoxide (CO), and ozone concentrations. It also has an automated weather station, a filter sampler, and a NASA Aeronet Sunphotometer.

Here we present our observations of black carbon, ozone, carbon monoxide at Jomsom to show the diurnal and seasonal variability of the pollutants. The results show diurnal patterns in the concentration of these pollutants and also episodes of high pollutant transport along the valley. These transport episodes are more common during the pre-monsoon season which indicates that deep mountain valleys like the Kali Gandaki valley facilitate the transport of pollutants and thus promote snow and glacial melting.