Declining pre-monsoon dust loading over South Asia: Signature of a changing regional climate

Desert dust over the Indian region during pre-monsoon season is known to strengthen monsoon circulation, by modulating rainfall through the elevated heat pump (EHP) mechanism. In this context, an insight into long term trends of dust loading over this region is of signifcant importance in understanding monsoon variability. In this study, using long term (2000 to 2015) aerosol measurements from multiple satellites, ground stations and model based reanalysis, we show that dust loading in the atmosphere has decreased by 10 to 20% during the pre-monsoon season with respect to start of this century. Our analysis reveals that this decrease is a result of increasing pre-monsoon rainfall that in turn increases (decreases) wet scavenging (dust emissions) and slowing circulation pattern over the Northwestern part of the sub-continent.

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