Ramachandran, S; Ghosh, S; Verma, A; Panigrahi, PK (2013). Multiscale periodicities in aerosol optical depth over India. ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH LETTERS, 8(1), 10.1088/1748-9326/8/1/014034.
Aerosols exhibit periodic or cyclic variations depending on natural and anthropogenic sources over a region, which can become modulated by synoptic meteorological parameters such as winds, rainfall and relative humidity, and long-range transport. Information on periodicity and phase in aerosol properties assumes significance in prediction as well as examining the radiative and climate effects of aerosols including their association with changes in cloud properties and rainfall. Periodicity in aerosol optical depth, which is a columnar measure of aerosol distribution, is determined using continuous wavelet transform over 35 locations (capitals of states and union territories) in India. Continuous wavelet transform is used in the study because continuous wavelet transform is better suited to the extraction of the periodic and local modulations present in various frequency ranges when compared to Fourier transform. Monthly mean aerosol optical depths (AODs) from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on board the Terra satellite at 1 degrees x 1 degrees resolution from January 2001 to December 2012 are used. Annual and quasi-biennial oscillations (QBOs) in AOD are evident in addition to the weak semi-annual (5-6 months) and quasi-triennial oscillations (similar to 40 months). The semi-annual and annual oscillations are consistent with the seasonal and yearly cycle of variations in AODs. The QBO type periodicity in AOD is found to be non-stationary while the annual period is stationary. The 40 month periodicity indicates the presence of long term correlations in AOD. The observed periodicities in MODIS Terra AODs are also evident in the ground-based AOD measurements made over Kanpur in the Indo-Gangetic Plain. The phase of the periodicity in AOD is stable in the mid-frequency range, while local disturbances in the high-frequency range and long term changes in the atmospheric composition give rise to unstable phases in the low-frequency range. The presence of phase relations among different locations reveals that modulations in AOD over a location/region can influence aerosol characteristics over other locations/regions.