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9 Apr 2019 | Atmosphere Initiative

Air pollution research into use

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ICIMOD responds to key research questions at the local to regional level, generating highly technical air pollution-related data in a historically data-scarce region. The data that is generated is shared with relevant entities to inform policies and action that can impact the lives of millions. This research-into-use approach contributes to long-term efforts to mitigate and reduce harmful emissions in the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH). Numerous peer-reviewed articles have been published on a wide range of atmospheric issues with broad scientific and policy implications in the HKH. For example, “Air Quality Trends of the Kathmandu Valley: A Satellite, Observation and Modeling Perspective” recorded for the first time the increasing trends of background pollution (air pollution carried over from elsewhere) based on the Valley’s local columnar aerosol loading trend. Further, “Characterizing Emissions from Agricultural Diesel Pumps in the Terai Region of Nepal” presented estimates on diesel irrigation pumps as an under-represented source of ambient air pollution.

Rapid increases in air pollution in the HKH have far-reaching and hazardous consequences on environmental and human health and lead to the accelerated melting of glaciers and changing atmospheric circulation patterns. Such changes ultimately affect aviation, mountain tourism, agriculture, and the health and livelihoods of the poorest.

Background pollution adds around 25% of aerosol load to the Kathmandu Valley.
Valley aerosol loading increased by ~60% between 2000 and 2015.

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