Diurnal cycle of air pollution in the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal: 2. Modeling results
Author(s)Panday, Arnico K.; Prinn, Ronald G.; Schär, Christoph
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After completing a 9-month field experiment studying air pollution and meteorology in the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal, we set up the mesoscale meteorological model MM5 to simulate the Kathmandu Valley's meteorology with a horizontal resolution of up to 1 km. After testing the model against available data, we used it to address specific questions to understand the factors that control the observed diurnal cycle of air pollution in this urban basin in the Himalayas. We studied the dynamics of the basin's nocturnal cold air pool, its dissipation in the morning, and the subsequent growth and decay of the mixed layer over the valley. During mornings, we found behavior common to large basins, with upslope flows and basin-center subsidence removing the nocturnal cold air pool. During afternoons the circulation in the Kathmandu Valley exhibited patterns common to plateaus, with cooler denser air originating over lower regions west of Kathmandu arriving through mountain passes and spreading across the basin floor, thereby reducing the mixed layer depth. We also examined the pathways of pollutant ventilation out of the valley. The bulk of the pollution ventilation takes place during the afternoon, when strong westerly winds blow in through the western passes of the valley, and the pollutants are rapidly carried out through passes on the east and south sides of the valley. In the evening, pollutants first accumulate near the surface, but then are lifted slightly when katabatic flows converge underneath. The elevated polluted layers are mixed back down in the morning, contributing to the morning pollution peak. Later in the morning a fraction of the valley's pollutants travels up the slopes of the valley rim mountains before the westerly winds begin.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Center for Global Change Science
Journal of Geophysical Research
American Geophysical Union
Panday, Arnico K., Ronald G. Prinn, and Christoph Schär. “Diurnal Cycle of Air Pollution in the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal: 2. Modeling Results.” Journal of Geophysical Research 114, no. D21 (2009).
Final published version