Publications

Export 16 results:
Sort by: Author Title Type [ Year  (Desc)]
2015
Sambandam, S, Balakrishnan K, Ghosh S, Sadasivam A, Madhav S, Ramasamy R, Samanta M, Mukhopadhyay K, Rehman H, Ramanathan V.  2015.  Can currently available advanced combustion biomass cook-stoves provide health relevant exposure reductions? Results from initial assessment of select commercial models in india Ecohealth. 12:25-41.   10.1007/s10393-014-0976-1   AbstractWebsite

Household air pollution from use of solid fuels is a major contributor to the national burden of disease in India. Currently available models of advanced combustion biomass cook-stoves (ACS) report significantly higher efficiencies and lower emissions in the laboratory when compared to traditional cook-stoves, but relatively little is known about household level exposure reductions, achieved under routine conditions of use. We report results from initial field assessments of six commercial ACS models from the states of Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh in India. We monitored 72 households (divided into six arms to each receive an ACS model) for 24-h kitchen area concentrations of PM2.5 and CO before and (1-6 months) after installation of the new stove together with detailed information on fixed and time-varying household characteristics. Detailed surveys collected information on user perceptions regarding acceptability for routine use. While the median percent reductions in 24-h PM2.5 and CO concentrations ranged from 2 to 71% and 10-66%, respectively, concentrations consistently exceeded WHO air quality guideline values across all models raising questions regarding the health relevance of such reductions. Most models were perceived to be sub-optimally designed for routine use often resulting in inappropriate and inadequate levels of use. Household concentration reductions also run the risk of being compromised by high ambient backgrounds from community level solid-fuel use and contributions from surrounding fossil fuel sources. Results indicate that achieving health relevant exposure reductions in solid-fuel using households will require integration of emissions reductions with ease of use and adoption at community scale, in cook-stove technologies. Imminent efforts are also needed to accelerate the progress towards cleaner fuels.

2013
Hu, AX, Xu YY, Tebaldi C, Washington WM, Ramanathan V.  2013.  Mitigation of short-lived climate pollutants slows sea-level rise. Nature Climate Change. 3:730-734.   10.1038/nclimate1869   AbstractWebsite

Under present growth rates of greenhouse gas and black carbon aerosol emissions, global mean temperatures can warm by as much as 2 degrees C from pre-industrial temperatures by about 2050(1,2). Mitigation of the four short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs), methane, tropospheric ozone, hydrofluorocarbons and black carbon, has been shown to reduce the warming trend by about 50% (refs 1,2) by 2050. Here we focus on the potential impact of this SLCP mitigation on global sea-level rise (SLR). The temperature projections under various SLCP scenarios simulated by an energy-balance climate model(1) are integrated with a semi-empirical SLR model(3), derived from past trends in temperatures and SLR, to simulate future trends in SLR. A coupled ocean-atmosphere climate model(4) is also used to estimate SLR trends due to just the ocean thermal expansion. Our results show that SLCP mitigation can have significant effects on SLR. It can decrease the SLR rate by 24-50% and reduce the cumulative SLR by 22-42% by 2100. If the SLCP mitigation is delayed by 25 years, the warming from pre-industrial temperature exceeds 2 degrees C by 2050 and the impact of mitigation actions on SLR is reduced by about a third.

Xu, Y, Zaelke D, Velders GJM, Ramanathan V.  2013.  The role of HFCs in mitigating 21st century climate change. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. 13:6083-6089.   10.5194/acp-13-6083-2013   AbstractWebsite

There is growing international interest in mitigating climate change during the early part of this century by reducing emissions of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs), in addition to reducing emissions of CO2. The SLCPs include methane (CH4), black carbon aerosols (BC), tropospheric ozone (O-3) and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). Recent studies have estimated that by mitigating emissions of CH4, BC, and O-3 using available technologies, about 0.5 to 0.6 degrees C warming can be avoided by mid-21st century. Here we show that avoiding production and use of high-GWP (global warming potential) HFCs by using technologically feasible low-GWP substitutes to meet the increasing global demand can avoid as much as another 0.5 degrees C warming by the end of the century. This combined mitigation of SLCPs would cut the cumulative warming since 2005 by 50% at 2050 and by 60% at 2100 from the CO2-only mitigation scenarios, significantly reducing the rate of warming and lowering the probability of exceeding the 2 degrees C warming threshold during this century.

Anenberg, SC, Balakrishnan K, Jetter J, Masera O, Mehta S, Moss J, Ramanathan V.  2013.  Cleaner cooking solutions to achieve health, climate, and economic cobenefits. Environmental Science & Technology. 47:3944-3952.   10.1021/es304942e   AbstractWebsite
n/a
2012
Kar, A, Rehman IH, Burney J, Puppala SP, Suresh R, Singh L, Singh VK, Ahmed T, Ramanathan N, Ramanathan V.  2012.  Real-time assessment of black carbon pollution in Indian households due to traditional and improved biomass cookstoves. Environmental Science & Technology. 46:2993-3000.   10.1021/es203388g   AbstractWebsite

Use of improved (biomass) cookstoves (ICs) has been widely proposed as a Black Carbon (BC) mitigation measure with significant climate and health benefits. ICs encompass a range of technologies, including natural draft (ND) stoves, which feature structural modifications to enhance air flow, and forced draft (FD) stoves, which additionally employ an external fan to force air into the combustion chamber. We present here, under Project Surya, the first real-time in situ Black Carbon (BC) concentration measurements from five commercial ICs and a traditional (mud) cookstove for comparison. These experiments reveal four significant findings about the tested stoves. First, FD stoves emerge as the superior IC technology, reducing plume zone BC concentration by a factor of 4 (compared to 1.5 for ND). Indoor cooking-time BC concentrations, which varied from 50 to 1000 mu g m(-3) for the traditional mud cookstove, were reduced to 5-100 mu g m(-3) by the top-performing FD stove. Second, BC reductions from IC models in the same technology category vary significantly: for example, some ND models occasionally emit more BC than a traditional cookstove. Within the ND class, only microgasification stoves were effective in reducing BC. Third, BC concentration varies significantly for repeated cooking cycles with same stove (standard deviation up to 50% of mean concentration) even in a standardized setup, highlighting inherent uncertainties in cookstove performance. Fourth, use of mixed fuel (reflective of local practices) increases plume zone BC concentration (compared to hardwood) by a factor of 2 to 3 across ICs.

Shindell, D, Kuylenstierna JCI, Vignati E, Van Dingenen R, Amann M, Klimont Z, Anenberg SC, Muller N, Janssens-Maenhout G, Raes F, Schwartz J, Faluvegi G, Pozzoli L, Kupiainen K, Hoglund-Isaksson L, Emberson L, Streets D, Ramanathan V, Hicks K, Oanh NTK, Milly G, Williams M, Demkine V, Fowler D.  2012.  Simultaneously mitigating near-term climate change and improving human health and food security. Science. 335:183-189.   10.1126/science.1210026   AbstractWebsite

Tropospheric ozone and black carbon (BC) contribute to both degraded air quality and global warming. We considered similar to 400 emission control measures to reduce these pollutants by using current technology and experience. We identified 14 measures targeting methane and BC emissions that reduce projected global mean warming similar to 0.5 degrees C by 2050. This strategy avoids 0.7 to 4.7 million annual premature deaths from outdoor air pollution and increases annual crop yields by 30 to 135 million metric tons due to ozone reductions in 2030 and beyond. Benefits of methane emissions reductions are valued at $700 to $5000 per metric ton, which is well above typical marginal abatement costs ( less than $250). The selected controls target different sources and influence climate on shorter time scales than those of carbon dioxide-reduction measures. Implementing both substantially reduces the risks of crossing the 2 degrees C threshold.

Kennel, CF, Ramanathan V, Victor DG.  2012.  Coping with climate change in the next half-century. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society. 156:398-415. AbstractWebsite
n/a
2010
Ramanathan, V, Xu YY.  2010.  The Copenhagen Accord for limiting global warming: Criteria, constraints, and available avenues. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 107:8055-8062.   10.1073/pnas.1002293107   AbstractWebsite

At last, all the major emitters of greenhouse gases (GHGs) have agreed under the Copenhagen Accord that global average temperature increase should be kept below 2 degrees C. This study develops the criteria for limiting the warming below 2 degrees C, identifies the constraints imposed on policy makers, and explores available mitigation avenues. One important criterion is that the radiant energy added by human activities should not exceed 2.5 (range: 1.7-4) watts per square meter (Wm(-2)) of the Earth's surface. The blanket of man-made GHGs has already added 3 (range: 2.6-3.5) Wm(-2). Even if GHG emissions peak in 2015, the radiant energy barrier will be exceeded by 100%, requiring simultaneous pursuit of three avenues: (i) reduce the rate of thickening of the blanket by stabilizing CO(2) concentration below 441 ppm during this century (a massive decarbonization of the energy sector is necessary to accomplish this Herculean task), (ii) ensure that air pollution laws that reduce the masking effect of cooling aerosols be made radiant energy-neutral by reductions in black carbon and ozone, and (iii) thin the blanket by reducing emissions of short-lived GHGs. Methane and hydrofluorocarbons emerge as the prime targets. These actions, even if we are restricted to available technologies for avenues ii and iii, can reduce the probability of exceeding the 2 degrees C barrier before 2050 to less than 10%, and before 2100 to less than 50%. With such actions, the four decades we have until 2050 should be exploited to develop and scale-up revolutionary technologies to restrict the warming to less than 1.5 degrees C.

Chung, CE, Ramanathan V, Carmichael G, Kulkarni S, Tang Y, Adhikary B, Leung LR, Qian Y.  2010.  Anthropogenic aerosol radiative forcing in Asia derived from regional models with atmospheric and aerosol data assimilation. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. 10:6007-6024.   10.5194/acp-10-6007-2010   AbstractWebsite

An estimate of monthly 3-D aerosol solar heating rates and surface solar fluxes in Asia from 2001 to 2004 is described here. This product stems from an Asian aerosol assimilation project, in which a) the PNNL regional model bounded by the NCEP reanalyses was used to provide meteorology, b) MODIS and AERONET data were integrated for aerosol observations, c) the Iowa aerosol/chemistry model STEM-2K1 used the PNNL meteorology and assimilated aerosol observations, and d) 3-D (X-Y-Z) aerosol simulations from the STEM-2K1 were used in the Scripps Monte-Carlo Aerosol Cloud Radiation (MACR) model to produce total and anthropogenic aerosol direct solar forcing for average cloudy skies. The MACR model and STEM-2K1 both used the PNNL model resolution of 0.45 degrees x 0.4 degrees in the horizontal and of 23 layers in the troposphere. The 2001-2004 averaged anthropogenic all-sky aerosol forcing is -1.3 Wm(-2) (TOA), +7.3 Wm(-2) (atmosphere) and -8.6 Wm(-2) (surface) averaged in Asia (60-138 degrees E and Equator -45 degrees N). In the absence of AERONET SSA assimilation, absorbing aerosol concentration (especially BC aerosol) is much smaller, giving -2.3 Wm(-2) (TOA), +4.5 Wm(-2) (atmosphere) and -6.8 Wm(-2) (surface), averaged in Asia. In the vertical, monthly forcing is mainly concentrated below 600 hPa with maximum around 800 hPa. Seasonally, low-level forcing is far larger in dry season than in wet season in South Asia, whereas the wet season forcing exceeds the dry season forcing in East Asia. The anthropogenic forcing in the present study is similar to that in Chung et al. (2005) in overall magnitude but the former offers fine-scale features and simulated vertical profiles. The interannual variability of the computed anthropogenic forcing is significant and extremely large over major emission outflow areas. Given the interannual variability, the present study's estimate is within the implicated range of the 1999 INDOEX result.

2009
Ramanathan, V, Feng Y.  2009.  Air pollution, greenhouse gases and climate change: Global and regional perspectives. Atmospheric Environment. 43:37-50.   10.1016/j.atmosenv.2008.09.063   AbstractWebsite

Greenhouse gases (GHGs) warm the Surface and the atmosphere with significant implications for rainfall, retreat of glaciers and sea ice, sea level, among other factors. About 30 years ago, it was recognized that the increase in tropospheric ozone from air pollution (NO(x), CO and others) is an important greenhouse forcing term. In addition, the recognition of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) on stratospheric ozone and its climate effects linked chemistry and climate strongly. What is less recognized, however, is a comparably major global problem dealing with air pollution. Until about ten years ago, air pollution was thought to be just an urban or a local problem. But new data have revealed that air pollution is transported across continents and ocean basins due to fast long-range transport, resulting in trans-oceanic and trans-continental plumes of atmospheric brown Clouds (ABCs) containing sub micron size particles, i.e., aerosols. ABCs intercept Sunlight by absorbing as well as reflecting it, both of which lead to a large surface dimming. The dimming effect is enhanced further because aerosols may nucleate more cloud droplets, which makes the clouds reflect More solar radiation. The dimming has a Surface cooling effect and decreases evaporation of moisture from the surface, thus slows down the hydrological cycle. On the other hand, absorption of solar radiation by black carbon and some organics increase atmospheric hearing and tend to amplify greenhouse warming of the atmosphere. ABCs are concentrated in regional and mega-city hot spots. Long-range transport from these hot spots causes widespread plumes over the adjacent oceans. Such a pattern Of regionally concentrated Surface dimming and atmospheric Solar heating, accompanied by widespread dimming over the oceans, gives rise to large regional effects. Only during the last decade, we have begun to comprehend the surprisingly large regional impacts. In S. Asia and N. Africa, the large north-south gradient in the ABC dimming has altered both the north-south gradients in sea Surface temperatures and land-ocean contrast in surface temperatures, which in turn slow down the monsoon circulation and decrease rainfall over the continents. On the other hand, heating by black carbon warms the atmosphere at elevated levels from 2 to 6 kin, where most tropical glaciers are located, thus strengthening the effect of GHGs on retreat of snow packs and glaciers in the Hindu Kush-Himalaya-Tibetan glaciers. Globally, the surface cooling effect of ABCs may have masked as Much 47% of the global warming by greenhouse gases, with an uncertainty range of 20-80%. This presents a dilemma since efforts to curb air pollution may unmask the ABC cooling effect and enhance the surface warming. Thus efforts to reduce GHGs and air pollution should be done under one common framework. The uncertainties in our understanding of the ABC effects are large, but we are discovering new ways in which human activities are changing the climate and the environment. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

2008
Ramanathan, V, Feng Y.  2008.  On avoiding dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system: Formidable challenges ahead. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 105:14245-14250.   10.1073/pnas.0803838105   AbstractWebsite

The observed increase in the concentration of greenhouse gases (GHGs) since the preindustrial era has most likely committed the world to a warming of 2.4 degrees C (1.4 degrees C to 4.3 degrees C) above the preindustrial surface temperatures. The committed warming is inferred from the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates of the greenhouse forcing and climate sensitivity. The estimated warming of 2.4 degrees C is the equilibrium warming above preindustrial temperatures that the world will observe even if GHG concentrations are held fixed at their 2005 concentration levels but without any other anthropogenic forcing such as the cooling effect of aerosols. The range of 1.4 degrees C to 4.3 degrees C in the committed warming overlaps and surpasses the currently perceived threshold range of 1 degrees C to 3 degrees C for dangerous anthropogenic interference with many of the climate-tipping elements such as the summer arctic sea ice, Himalayan-Tibetan glaciers, and the Greenland Ice Sheet. IPCC models suggest that approximate to 25% (0.6 degrees C) of the committed warming has been realized as of now. About 90% or more of the rest of the committed warming of 1.6 degrees C will unfold during the 21st century, determined by the rate of the unmasking of the aerosol cooling effect by air pollution abatement laws and by the rate of release of the GHIGs-forcing stored in the oceans. The accompanying sea-level rise can continue for more than several centuries. Lastly, even the most aggressive CO2 mitigation steps as envisioned now can only limit further additions to the committed warming, but not reduce the already committed GHGs warming of 2.4 degrees C.

2007
Adhikary, B, Carmichael GR, Tang Y, Leung LR, Qian Y, Schauer JJ, Stone EA, Ramanathan V, Ramana MV.  2007.  Characterization of the seasonal cycle of south Asian aerosols: A regional-scale modeling analysis. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. 112   10.1029/2006jd008143   AbstractWebsite

The sulfur transport and deposition model ( STEM) is used to study the aerosol seasonality, distribution, and composition over south Asia from September 2004 to August 2005. Model predictions of sulfate, black carbon, primary organic carbon, other anthropogenic particulate matter, windblown mineral dusts, and sea salt are compared at two sites in south Asia where yearlong experimental observations are available from the Atmospheric Brown Cloud ( ABC) project. The model predictions are able to capture both the magnitude and seasonality of aerosols over Hanimaadhoo Observatory, Maldives. However, the model is not able to explain the seasonality at the Kathmandu Observatory; but the model does capture Kathmandu's observed annual mean concentration. The absence of seasonal brick kiln emissions within Kathmandu valley in the current inventory is a probable reason for this problem. This model study reveals high-anthropogenic aerosol loading over the Ganges valley even in the monsoonal months, which needs to be corroborated by experimental observations. Modeling results also show a high dust loading over south Asia with a distinct seasonality. Model results of aerosol monthly composition are also presented at five cities in south Asia. Total and fine-mode monthly aerosol optical depth along with contribution from each aerosol species is presented; the results show that the anthropogenic fraction dominates in the postmonsoon and the early dry season with major contributions from sulfate and absorbing aerosols. Model sensitivity studies of dry deposition velocity and wet scavenging efficiency show that model improvements are needed in the treatment of carbonaceous aerosol dry and wet removal processes. Modeled SO2 conversion rate constrained with sulfate observations at Hanimaadhoo suggests the need to increase model sulfate production rate during the dry season to account for probable sulfate production via heterogeneous pathways.

Hadley, OL, Ramanathan V, Carmichael GR, Tang Y, Corrigan CE, Roberts GC, Mauger GS.  2007.  Trans-Pacific transport of black carbon and fine aerosols (D < 2.5 ┬Ám) into North America. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. 112   10.1029/2006jd007632   AbstractWebsite

[1] This study presents estimates of long-range transport of black carbon (BC) and aerosol fine mass (diameter less than 2.5 mm) across the Pacific Ocean into North America during April 2004. These transport estimates are based on simulations by the Chemical Weather Forecast System (CFORS) model and evaluated across 130 degrees W, (30 degrees N-60 degrees N) from 26 March through 25 April 2004. CFORS calculates BC transport into North America at 25-32 Gg of which over 75% originates from Asia. Modeled fine aerosol mass transport is between 900 and 1100 Gg. The BC transport amounts to about 77% of the published estimates of North American BC emissions. Approximately 78% of the BC and 82% of the fine aerosol mass transport occur in the midtroposphere above 2 km. Given the relatively large magnitude of the estimated BC transport, we undertake a detailed validation of the model simulations of fine aerosol mass and BC over the west coast of North America. In situ aircraft data were available for the month of April 2004 to assess the accuracy of model simulations of aerosols in the lower troposphere. Aircraft data for aerosol mass collected in the eastern Pacific Ocean during April 2004 as part of the Cloud Indirect Forcing Experiment, as well as surface measurements of fine mass and BC at 30 west coast locations, are compared to CFORS predictions. These surface sites are part of the Interagency Monitoring of Protected Visual Environments (IMPROVE) network. Both the aircraft and the IMPROVE data sets reveal similar patterns of good agreement near and above the boundary layer accompanied by large overprediction within the boundary layer. The observational data validate the CFORS simulations of BC and fine aerosol mass above the boundary layer. The near-surface overprediction does not impair the major conclusions of this study regarding long-range aerosol and BC transport, as most of the long-range transport occurs above 2 km. From this we conclude that the transport of BC from Asia and other regions west is a major source of BC at high elevations over North America. The simulated concentrations of BC between 1 and 3 km, as well as the measured BC concentrations over the elevated IMPROVE sites, range from 0.1 to 0.3 mu g/m(3). Direct radiative forcing over North America due to the modeled BC concentration between 1 and 15 km is estimated at an additional 2.04-2.55 W/m(2) absorbed in the atmosphere and a dimming of-1.45 to-1.47 W/m(2) at the surface. The impact of transported BC on the regional radiation budget through direct and indirect effects of the transported BC and other aerosols warrants further study.

2005
Chung, CE, Ramanathan V, Kim D, Podgorny IA.  2005.  Global anthropogenic aerosol direct forcing derived from satellite and ground-based observations. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. 110   10.1029/2005jd006356   AbstractWebsite

[1] A global estimate of the direct effects of anthropogenic aerosols on solar radiation in cloudy skies is obtained by integrating satellite and ground-based observations with models of aerosol chemistry, transport, and radiative transfer. The models adopt global distribution of aerosol optical depths ( from MODIS), clouds, water vapor, ozone, and surface albedo from various satellite climatology. Gaps and errors in satellite derived aerosol optical depths are filled and corrected by surface network (AERONET), and an aerosol chemical-transport model (GOCART) by using statistical techniques. Using these derived aerosol properties and other related variables, we generate climatological monthly mean anthropogenic aerosol forcing for both clear and average cloudy skies. Unless otherwise stated, our estimates are for average cloudy skies, also referred to as all sky conditions. The global annual mean direct forcing is - 0.35 W m(-2) ( range of - 0.6 to - 0.1 Wm(-2)) at the top-of-the atmosphere (TOA), + 3.0 Wm(-2) ( range of + 2.7 to + 3.3Wm(-2)) in the atmosphere, and - 3.4 Wm(-2) ( range of - 3.5 to - 3.3 Wm(-2)) at the surface. The uncertainty of about 10 - 20% in the surface and atmosphere forcing translates into a six fold uncertainty in the TOA forcing because the TOA forcing is a small sum of two large terms ( surface and atmosphere) of opposing signs. Given the current state of observations and modeling, it is very difficult to further reduce the uncertainty in the estimated TOA forcing. The major contributors to the uncertainty in atmospheric absorption are from the uncertainty in the vertical distribution of aerosols and the single scattering albedo of aerosols. The TOA forcing in clear skies is a factor of two different, while the surface and atmosphere forcing terms differ by only about 10 - 25%. Another major finding of this study is that the reduction in the surface solar radiation is a factor of 10 larger than the reduction in net solar ( down minus up) radiation at TOA. The TOA forcing changes sign regionally, whereas the surface forcing is always negative. Thus caution must be exercised against relying too strongly on assessing the aerosol impacts based solely on global mean forcing. Aerosols over the NH contribute about 64% to the global surface forcing. Regionally the populated tropical regions contribute the most to the global surface forcing, with Asia the largest contributor. Roughly 49% of the total surface forcing is over the oceanic regions. Most of the previous global aerosol forcing estimate studies were conducted with a chemical transport model coupled to a general circulation model with model generated aerosols and cloudiness. Thus the present study, which adopts observed aerosol properties and observed three dimensional cloudiness, provides an independent approach for estimating the aerosol forcing.

2003
Novakov, T, Ramanathan V, Hansen JE, Kirchstetter TW, Sato M, Sinton JE, Sathaye JA.  2003.  Large historical changes of fossil-fuel black carbon aerosols. Geophysical Research Letters. 30   10.1029/2002gl016345   AbstractWebsite

Anthropogenic emissions of fine black carbon (BC) particles, the principal light-absorbing atmospheric aerosol, have varied during the past century in response to changes of fossil-fuel utilization, technology developments, and emission controls. We estimate historical trends of fossil-fuel BC emissions in six regions that represent about two-thirds of present day emissions and extrapolate these to global emissions from 1875 onward. Qualitative features in these trends show rapid increase in the latter part of the 1800s, the leveling off in the first half of the 1900s, and the re-acceleration in the past 50 years as China and India developed. We find that historical changes of fuel utilization have caused large temporal change in aerosol absorption, and thus substantial change of aerosol single scatter albedo in some regions, which suggests that BC may have contributed to global temperature changes in the past century. This implies that the BC history needs to be represented realistically in climate change assessments.

2000
Novakov, T, Andreae MO, Gabriel R, Kirchstetter TW, Mayol-Bracero OL, Ramanathan V.  2000.  Origin of carbonaceous aerosols over the tropical Indian Ocean: Biomass burning or fossil fuels? Geophysical Research Letters. 27:4061-4064.   10.1029/2000gl011759   AbstractWebsite

We present an analysis of the carbon, potassium and sulfate content of the extensive aerosol haze layer observed over the tropical Indian Ocean during the Indian Ocean Experiment (INDOEX). The black carbon (BC) content of the haze is as high as 17% of the total fine particle mass (the sum of carbonaceous and soluble ionic aerosol components) which results in significant solar absorption. The ratio of black carbon to organic carbon (OC) lover the Arabian Sea and equatorial Indian Ocean) was a factor of 5 to 10 times larger than expected for biomass burning. This ratio was closer to values measured downwind of industrialized regions in Japan and Western Europe. These results indicate that fossil fuel combustion is the major source of carbonaceous aerosols, including black carbon during the events considered. If the data set analyzed here is representative of the entire INDOEX study then fossil fuel emissions from South Asia must have similarly contributed to aerosols over the whole study region. The INDOEX ratios are substantially different from those reported for some source regions of South Asia, thus raising the possibility that changes in composition of carbonaceous aerosol may occur during transport.