BATAL: The Balloon Measurement Campaigns of the Asian Tropopause Aerosol Layer

J.-P. Vernier, T. D. Fairlie, T. Deshler, M. Venkat Ratnam, H. Gadhavi, B. S. Kumar, M. Natarajan, A. K. Pandit, S. T. Akhil Raj, A. Hemanth Kumar, A. Jayaraman, A. K. Singh, N. Rastogi, P. R. Sinha, S. Kumar, S. Tiwari, T. Wegner, N. Baker, D. Vignelles, Georgiy L. StenchikovIllia Shevchenko, J. Smith, K. Bedka, A. Kesarkar, V. Singh, J. Bhate, V. Ravikiran, M. Durga Rao, S. Ravindrababu, A. Patel, H. Vernier, F. G. Wienhold, H. Liu, T. N. Knepp, L. Thomason, J. Crawford, L. Ziemba, J. Moore, S. Crumeyrolle, M. Williamson, G. Berthet, F. Jégou, J.-B. Renard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


We describe and show results from a series of field campaigns that used balloonborne instruments launched from India and Saudi Arabia during the summers 2014–17 to study the nature, formation, and impacts of the Asian Tropopause Aerosol Layer (ATAL). The campaign goals were to i) characterize the optical, physical, and chemical properties of the ATAL; ii) assess its impacts on water vapor and ozone; and iii) understand the role of convection in its formation. To address these objectives, we launched 68 balloons from four locations, one in Saudi Arabia and three in India, with payload weights ranging from 1.5 to 50 kg. We measured meteorological parameters; ozone; water vapor; and aerosol backscatter, concentration, volatility, and composition in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere (UTLS) region. We found peaks in aerosol concentrations of up to 25 cm–3 for radii > 94 nm, associated with a scattering ratio at 940 nm of ∼1.9 near the cold-point tropopause. During medium-duration balloon flights near the tropopause, we collected aerosols and found, after offline ion chromatography analysis, the dominant presence of nitrate ions with a concentration of about 100 ng m–3. Deep convection was found to influence aerosol loadings 1 km above the cold-point tropopause. The Balloon Measurements of the Asian Tropopause Aerosol Layer (BATAL) project will continue for the next 3–4 years, and the results gathered will be used to formulate a future National Aeronautics and Space Administration–Indian Space Research Organisation (NASA–ISRO) airborne campaign with NASA high-altitude aircraft.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)955-973
Number of pages19
JournalBulletin of the American Meteorological Society
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 15 2017


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