Articles | Volume 29, issue 5
24 May 2011
 | 24 May 2011

Airborne measurements of aerosol scattering properties above the MABL over Bay of Bengal during W_ICARB – characteristics and spatial gradients

V. Sreekanth, K. Krishna Moorthy, S. K. Satheesh, S. Suresh Babu, Vijayakumar S. Nair, and K. Niranjan

Abstract. Realizing the importance of aerosol characterization and addressing its spatio-temporal heterogeneities over Bay of Bengal (BoB), campaign mode observations of aerosol parameters were carried out using simultaneous cruise, aircraft and land-based measurements during the Winter Integrated Campaign for Aerosols gases and Radiation Budget (W_ICARB). Under this, airborne measurements of total and hemispheric backscatter coefficients were made over several regions of coastal India and eastern BoB using a three wavelength integrating nephelometer. The measurements include high resolution multi-level (ML) sorties for altitude profiles and bi-level (BL) sorties for spatial gradients within and above the Marine Atmospheric Boundary Layer (MABL) over BoB. The vertical profiles of the scattering coefficients are investigated in light of the information on the vertical structure of the atmospheric stability, which was derived from the collocated GPS (Global Positioning System) aided radiosonde ascents. In general, the altitude profiles revealed that the scattering coefficient remained steady in the convectively well-mixed regions and dropped off above the MABL. This decrease was quite rapid off the Indian mainland, while it was more gradual in the eastern BoB. Investigation on horizontal gradients revealed that the scattering coefficients over northern BoB are 3 to 4 times higher compared to that of central BoB within and above the MABL. A north-south gradient in scattering coefficients is observed over Port Blair in the eastern BoB, with values decreasing from south to north, which is attributed to the similar gradient in the surface wind speed, which can be replicated in the sea salt abundance. The gradients are parameterized using best-fit analytical functions.