EGU23-2709, updated on 22 Feb 2023
EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Identification of source regions of the Asian Tropopause Aerosol Layer on the Indian subcontinent in August 2016

Jan Clemens1,2,3, Bärbel Vogel1,3, Lars Hoffman2,3, Sabine Griessbach2,3, Nicole Thomas1,3, Suvarna Fadnavis4, Rolf Müller1,3, Thomas Peter5, and Felix Ploeger1,3,5
Jan Clemens et al.
  • 1Institute for Energy and Climate 7, Germany (
  • 2Jülich Supercomputing Center (JSC), Forschungszentrum Jülich, Jülich, Germany
  • 3Center for Advanced Simulation and Analytics (CASA), Forschungszentrum Jülich, Jülich, Germany
  • 4Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune, India
  • 5Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science (IAC), Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zürich, Switzerland

The Asian tropopause aerosol layer (ATAL) is a distinct feature during the Asian summer monsoon season with an impact on the regional radiative balance of the Earth's atmosphere. However, the source regions and the detailed transport pathways of ATAL particles are still uncertain. In our study, we investigate transport pathways from different  regions at the model boundary (MB)  to the ATAL using the two Lagrangian transport models  CLaMS (Chemical Lagrangian Model of the Stratosphere) and MPTRAC (Massive-Parallel Trajectory Calculations), two reanalyses (ERA5 and ERA-Interim),  and balloon-borne measurements of the ATAL performed by the Compact Optical Backscatter Aerosol Detector (COBALD) above Nainital (India) in August 2016.  Trajectories are initialized at the location of the ATAL, as measured by COBALD in the Himalayas, and calculated 90 days backward in time to investigate the relation between the measured, daily averaged, aerosol backscatter ratio and different source regions at the MB. Nine source regions at the MB are distinguished, marking continental and maritime sources in the region of the Asian monsoon. Different simulation scenarios are performed, to find systematic differences as well as robust patterns, when the reanalysis data, the trajectory model, the vertical coordinate (kinematic and diabatic approach) or the convective parameterisation are varied.

While there are many robust features, the simulation scenarios also show some considerable differences between the air mass contributions of different source regions at the MB in the region of the Asian monsoon. The contribution to all air parcels from the MB varied between 5% and 40% for the Indo-Gangetic plain, the contribution from the Tibetan Plateau varied between 30% and 40% and contributions from oceans varied between 14% and 43% for different scenarios. However, the robust finding among all scenarios is that the largest continental air mass contributions originate from the Tibetan plateau and the India subcontinent (mostly the Indo-Gangetic plain), and largest maritime air mass contributions in Asia come from the Western Pacific (e.g. related to tropical cyclones such as typhoons).  Additionally, all simulation scenarios indicate that transport of maritime air from the Tropical Western Pacific to the region of the ATAL lowers the backscatter ratio (BSR) of the ATAL, while most scenarios indicate that transport of polluted air from the Indo-Gangetic plain increases the BSR. Therefore, while the results corroborate key findings from previous ERA-Interim based studies, they highlight the variability of the contributions of different MB regions to the ATAL depending on the meteorological input data, vertical velocities and in particular on the treatment of convection within the model calculations. 


How to cite: Clemens, J., Vogel, B., Hoffman, L., Griessbach, S., Thomas, N., Fadnavis, S., Müller, R., Peter, T., and Ploeger, F.: Identification of source regions of the Asian Tropopause Aerosol Layer on the Indian subcontinent in August 2016, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-2709,, 2023.