EGU24-15916, updated on 09 Mar 2024
EGU General Assembly 2024
© Author(s) 2024. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Source apportionment of sulfate aerosols over South Asia using δ34S

Sean Clarke, Henry Holmstrand, Krishnakant Budhavant, Manoj Remani, and Örjan Gustafsson
Sean Clarke et al.
  • Stockholm university, Environmental Science, Acesb, Sweden (

Sulfate aerosols are short lived climate forcers that cool the climate, but at the cost of human health and the environment. Their short lifetime leads to an unequal global distribution, with massive emissions in South Asia, resulting in some of the highest atmospheric loadings. These emissions originate from natural and anthropogenic sources, with their relative contributions uncertain, due to emissions being short lived and diffuse. However, the stable isotopic composition (δ34S), holds some promise of improved apportionment of sulfate sources. The aim was to leverage this isotopic composition to distinguish sources of sulfate aerosols intercepted at the Maldives Climate Observatory Hanimaadhoo (MCOH). This site is strategically located to intercept a wide footprint of the outflow from South Asia.

The results demonstrated that non-sea salt sulfate was largely of anthropogenic origin, contributing 93±21%, 85±14%, 61±20% in winter, spring, and summer, respectively. This study also found a moderate to strong correlation (r2 = 0.68) between continental anthropogenic (winter and spring) sulfate (δ34S) and fossil fuel black carbon (δ13C, Δ14C). This study provides improved constraints on sulfate sources in South Asia using stable δ34S isotopic analysis, which builds a foundation for future investigations aimed at unravelling the nexus of sulfate emissions in South Asia.

How to cite: Clarke, S., Holmstrand, H., Budhavant, K., Remani, M., and Gustafsson, Ö.: Source apportionment of sulfate aerosols over South Asia using δ34S, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-15916,, 2024.