MODIS satellite images show that the Himalayas act as a barrier for the aerosols being transported from the Indian Gangetic Plains (IGP). This accumulation of aerosols during the pre-monsoon season not only affects the radiation budget, but can also have a profound impact on the evolution of orographically induced clouds and the local hydrological cycle.
Tropical cyclones (TCs) are well known for hazardous aspects due to the damage and loss of life they cause along their track. Beyond this common association, hurricanes and tropical cyclones provide an important amount of freshwater to the landscape in a short time period. This significant input of freshwater is necessary for the recharge of surface and subsurface reservoirs for several regions of the world.
The Barros research group has installed a research-grade precipitation monitoring network in the Pigeon River Basin (PRB) in Western North Carolina. One meteorological tower and 32 rain gauges are currently deployed at high-elevation locations along ridgelines. In addition to collecting data from these instruments, which have been in the field for as long as three years, the group has conducted several Intensive Observation Periods (IOPs), at Purchase Knob, a central location along the Cataloochee Ridge in the PRB.
The overarching research objective of this research is to investigate aerosol-cloud-rainfall interactions in the Central Himalayas with a focus on elucidating the impact of anthropogenic aerosols on cloudiness, the space-time variability of precipitation, and ultimately the regional water cycle in the northern Indian subcontinent, and in particular the Ganges river basin.