CO variability and its association with household cooking fuels consumption over the Indo-Gangetic Plains

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Environmental Pollution, 2017, 222 pp. 83 - 93
Issue Date:
2017-01-01
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© 2017 Elsevier Ltd This study examines the spatio-temporal trends obtained from decade long (Jan 2003–Dec 2014) satellite observational data of Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) and Measurements of Pollution in the Troposphere (MOPITT) on carbon monoxide (CO) concentration over the Indo-Gangetic Plains (IGP) region. The time sequence plots of columnar CO levels over the western, central and eastern IGP regions reveal marked seasonal behaviour, with lowest CO levels occurring during the monsoon months and the highest CO levels occurring during the pre-monsoon period. A negative correlation between CO levels and rainfall is observed. CO vertical profiles show relatively high values in the upper troposphere at ∼200 hPa level during the monsoon months, thus suggesting the role of convective transport and advection in addition to washout behind the decreased CO levels during this period. MOPITT and AIRS observations show a decreasing trend of 9.6 × 1015and 1.5 × 1016molecules cm−2yr−1, respectively, in columnar CO levels over the IGP region. The results show the existence of a spatial gradient in CO from the eastern (higher levels) to western IGP region (lower levels). Data from the Census of India on the number of households using various cooking fuels in the IGP region shows the prevalence of biomass-fuel (i.e. firewood, crop residue, cowdung etc.) use over the eastern and central IGP regions and that of liquefied petroleum gas over the western IGP region. CO emission estimates from cooking activity over the three IGP regions are found to be in the order east > central > west, which support the existence of the spatial gradient in CO from eastern to the western IGP region. Our results support the intervention of present Indian government on limiting the use of biomass-fuels in domestic cooking to achieve the benefits in terms of the better air quality, household health and regional/global climate change mitigation.
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