Understanding the Indian Ocean Experiment (INDOEX) aerosol distributions with an aerosol assimilation


  • Philip J. Rasch,

  • William D. Collins,

  • Brian E. Eaton


We use the aerosol assimilation procedure described by Collins et al. [2000] to help explain INDOEX aerosol distributions. The procedure combines modeled aerosol with AVHRR satellite estimates. The result is consistent with satellite measurements, regular in space and time, and provides information where retrievals are difficult (over land, coincident with clouds, and at night). Extra information on aerosol composition, vertical distribution, and region of origin is also produced. Carbonaceous, sulfate, and sea salt aerosols agree with the in situ measurements to 10–20%. Carbonaceous aerosols were estimated to be the dominant contributor (36%) to the aerosol optical depth (AOD); dust (31%) and sulfate (26%) were also important. The residence time for sulfate and carbon is ∼7 and ∼8 days respectively, longer than globally averaged residence times of many modeling studies. Thus aerosols produced here during the winter monsoon may have a larger climate impact than the same emissions occurring where the residence time is shorter. Three points of entry are found for anthropogenic aerosol to the INDOEX region: a strong near surface southward flow near Bombay; a deeper plume flowing south and east off Calcutta and a westward flow originating from southeast Asia and entering the Bay of Bengal. All three plumes are strongly modulated by a low-frequency change of meteorological regime associated with the Madden Julian Oscillation. The analysis suggests that India is the dominant source of aerosol in the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal near the surface but that Asia, Africa and the rest of world also contribute at higher altitudes. India and Asia contribute ∼40% each to the total column mass of air reaching the Maldives, the balance of air comes from other source regions. The assimilation procedure produces an analysis that is a synergy in information about aerosols, that is not easily accessible by independent estimates from remote sensing, in situ measurements, or global transport models by themselves.