Table 2. Scientific Objectives and Critical Questions

The fundamental scientific objectives of INDOEX are organized into three focused areas of inquiry: natural and anthropogenic aerosol radiative forcing, excess cloud absorption, and the evolution and transport of trace species in the NE monsoon and the ITCZ.

1. Assess the significance of sulfates and other continental aerosols for global radiative forcing
1.1 Can evidence be found for a direct effect of aerosols on the wavelength-resolved fluxes of radiation in clear air, and how is it related to their physics, chemistry and optical properties?
1.2 Is the radiative cooling effect of anthropogenic particles confined regionally to urban and surrounding land areas?
1.3 If not, can this radiative cooling effect influence the ocean heat budget and the planetary (clear and cloudy) albedo thousands of kilometers away from the source of the pollution?
1.4 What is the importance of interhemispheric differences on upper tropospheric aerosols, cirrus clouds and their radiative properties?

2. Assess the magnitude of the solar absorption in the surface and in the troposphere including the ITCZ cloud systems
2.1 Do models systematically underestimate clear sky solar absorption?
2.2 If so, how does the magnitude of the discrepancy depend on water vapor concentration, aerosol characteristics and concentration of pollutants?
2.3 Do ITCZ convective/cirrus systems enhance atmospheric solar absorption?
2.4 If so, what is the physics and chemistry behind this excess absorption?
2.5 What is the role of anthropogenic (sulfate, black carbon, organics) and natural aerosols (dust) in the clear sky and cloudy sky solar absorption?
2.6 How does this excess heating alter the meridional heating gradient in the ocean and the atmosphere?

3. Characterize the pre-existing aerosols and gases in the NE monsoon flowing off of the Indian subcontinent and into the ITCZ, and assess the role of the ITCZ in the transport of trace species and pollutants
3.1 What is the chemical composition of the airflow in the lower troposphere leaving the Indian subcontinent in the NE monsoon during the early part of the year?
3.2 How does this chemical composition change as a function of time as the flow approaches and enters the ITCZ, and how is it related to cloud formation?
3.3 What are the vertical profiles of gaseous species and aerosol particles in the ITCZ?
3.4 What is the chemical composition, both particulate and gaseous, of the outflow from the ITCZ in the upper tropical troposphere and lower stratosphere?
3.5 To what extent are anthropogenic emissions altering the chemical composition of the "free" troposphere?
3.6 Does air entering the stratosphere in the ITCZ come predominantly from the northern or southern hemisphere?