University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Centre for Atmospheric Science seminars, Chemistry Dept. > Biomass and Black Carbon particles over Peninsular India: How are they affecting precipitation over the region?

Biomass and Black Carbon particles over Peninsular India: How are they affecting precipitation over the region?

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The Indian media is currently awash with stories about insufficient rains from clouds this season. New research from the subcontinent suggests that soot and black carbon emanating from mega cities may be affecting the partitioning of cloud water into rain water. These particles are also “short-lived climate forcers” and can contribute to climate change substantially (by even as much as 25-30 % by some estimates).and if controlled, can also provide health and farming benefits. However, incorporating black carbon particles derived from biomass burning into long term climate model runs can be quite complicated. We present new research results from VIT , India, and Leeds, U.K. on how the inclusion of Biomass particles into localized air masses (which also contain the more common sulphate aerosol and sea-salt particles) can significantly impact cloud formation over a region. We have in particular, looked at bio particle emissions from the burning of cow dung cakes and firewood over Chennai slums. In polluted cities along peninsular India (Chennai and Kolkata among others) biomass particles also contain soluble sulphates, enabling them to activate into cloud droplets. It is found that the cloud droplet number concentrations are not always directly proportional to aerosol number concentrations and this may profoundly affect precipitation rates. The results from this study can be used for Environmental Impact Analyses, Regional Pollution Forecasts, and eventually, as inputs to climate models concerned with aerosol and cloud effects.

This talk is part of the Centre for Atmospheric Science seminars, Chemistry Dept. series.

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