Changes in Himalayan Snow Cover and Summer Monsoon from Black Carbon Aerosols


Scientists in the DOE Atmospheric System Research (ASR) Program have quantified, for the first time, climatic impacts of aerosols on snow/ice cover in the Himalayas. Climate impacts for 20 years (1990-2010) were simulated. For 1990 to 2000 over the entire Himalayan region, model results indicate an average 0.9% decrease of snow/ice cover due to aerosol impacts. Of the different types of aerosols modeled, black carbon aerosols released from incomplete combustion are primarily responsible for the increased snow-melt. Recent thinning of glaciers has raised concern for future water supplies since glaciers supply water to large river systems that support millions of people. The study highlights future expected climate change challenges from aerosols.


Menon, S., D. Koch, G. Beig, S. Sahu, J. Fasullo and D. Orlikowski 2009: Black carbon aerosols and the third polar ice cap, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discus., 9, 26593-26625.