Black carbon-climate interactions regulate dust burdens over India revealed during COVID-19. Academic Article uri icon


  • India as a hotspot for air pollution has heavy black carbon (BC) and dust (DU) loadings. BC has been identified to significantly impact the Indian climate. However, whether BC-climate interactions regulate Indian DU during the premonsoon season is unclear. Here, using long-term Reanalysis data, we show that Indian DU is positively correlated to northern Indian BC while negatively correlated to southern Indian BC. We further identify the mechanism of BC-dust-climate interactions revealed during COVID-19. BC reduction in northern India due to lockdown decreases solar heating in the atmosphere and increases surface albedo of the Tibetan Plateau (TP), inducing a descending atmospheric motion. Colder air from the TP together with warmer southern Indian air heated by biomass burning BC results in easterly wind anomalies, which reduces dust transport from the Middle East and Sahara and local dust emissions. The premonsoon aerosol-climate interactions delay the outbreak of the subsequent Indian summer monsoon.

published proceedings

  • Nat Commun

altmetric score

  • 27.75

author list (cited authors)

  • Wei, L., Lu, Z., Wang, Y., Liu, X., Wang, W., Wu, C., ... Jiang, Y.

citation count

  • 11

complete list of authors

  • Wei, Linyi||Lu, Zheng||Wang, Yong||Liu, Xiaohong||Wang, Weiyi||Wu, Chenglai||Zhao, Xi||Rahimi, Stefan||Xia, Wenwen||Jiang, Yiquan

publication date

  • April 2022