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IASTA 2012 Conference: A Brief Report

Ganges Valley Aerosol Experiment (GVAX)

Air Pollution and Human Health

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Research News
  1. Ganges Valley Aerosol Experiment (GVAX)
Our climate is strongly influenced by the manner in which solar radiation is absorbed and scattered in the Earth’s atmosphere. Aerosols have a direct impact on the atmosphere as they scatter and absorb solar and infrared radiations and indirectly affect the cloud microphysics. On the other hand solar activity affects the overall dynamics of the atmosphere. Hence, the knowledge of aerosol characteristics is the basic requirement for understanding their impact on our environment. Meanwhile, the knowledge of the atmospheric dynamics and quantification of aerosol concentration is equally important to understand their impact on our climate as a whole. In this context, the Asian region assumes great importance because of its high population density and diverse human activities. Most of these studies focused to either urban/semi-urban landmass or oceans adjacent to densely populated coastal belt. However, such investigations from a remote high altitude and sparsely inhabited location have the importance of providing a sort of background against which the urban impacts can be compared. As Nainital is located geographically in the free troposphere, thus the atmospheric measurements from such a region have the importance for providing a sort of background atmospheric parameters against which the impact of aerosol-loading from far-off low laying regions can be assessed.

As the Indo-Gangetic Plain (IGP) region in the Northern India is one of the most populated and polluted regions of the Indian subcontinent and encompasses a variety of anthropogenic and biogenic source of aerosols and pollutants due to rapidly growing industrialization and expanding urbanization in recent years. Recent satellite-based measurements have indicated that the upper Ganges valley has some of the highest persistently observed aerosol optical depth values. However, the ground based observations are very limited to verify the same.

Based on the model study, the vertical lifting of pollutants from this region and
the wide spread transport of aerosols and pollutants during the prevailing higher wind speed, hence influencing the radiation budget and thereby climate change over the wide region.

In view of this the first Atmospheric Radiation Measurement mobile facility (AMF1) has been set-up at ARIES, Manora Peak, Nainital (29.4° N, 79.5° E, 1958 m above mean sea level) under the Indo-US collaborative filed programme termed as “Regional Aerosol Warming Experiment (RAWEX) - Ganges Valley Aerosol Experiment (GVAX)”. In order to make the measurements of atmospheric radiation, properties of aerosols & clouds and aerosol cloud interaction and their effect on regional climate and monsoon, a number of state-of-art-instruments were deployed at ARIES, during June 2011 to March 2012. The vertical profiling of meteorological parameters was also made using Radiosonde launches at 00, 06, 12, and 18 GMT on the regular basis. The vertical winds were measured using a wind profiler. A Doppler LIDAR and ceilometer were also operational.

Dr. U. C. Dumka

ARIES, Nainital

GVAX Participating Scientists and Affiliations

ARIES, Nainital
  • Dr. U. C. Dumka
  • Dr. Manish Naja
  • Dr.Narendra Singh
  • Dr. D.V. Phanikumar
  • Late Dr. P. Pant
  • Prof. Ram Sagar
IISc, Bangalore
  • Prof. S. K. Satheesh
SPL, VSSC, Trivandrum
  • Dr. K. Krishna Moorthy
Argonne National Laboratory, USA
  • Dr. V. R. Kotamarthi
LIDAR Data from Nainital

GVAX Research Group at ARIES, Nainital

  1. Air Pollution and Human Health
Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India has recently initiated a network programme on "Climate Change and Human Health". The major science objectives of this programme, coordinated by Prof. S. K. Dash (IIT Delhi) and Dr. P. K. Nag (NIOH, Ahmedabad), are better quantification of the impacts of climate change on human health in India and identify the hotspots. One of the three major thematic areas under this network programme is "Air pollution and Health". Recent studies have highlighted air pollution (indoor and outdoor) as one of the leading factors contributing to burden of disease in India. Various aspects of health impacts of aerosols, projected changes in aerosol concentration in future and associated health risks will be studied under this network coordinated by Dr. D. Behra (PGI, Chandigarh). Participating institutions in this thematic area are IIT Delhi, AIIMS, Delhi; National Physical Laboratory (NPL), Delhi; PGI, Chandigarh and L. R. S. Institute of TB and Respiratory Diseases, New Delhi.

Dr.Sagnik Dey

IITD, New Delhi
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