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Climate Dynamics

pp 1–18

First Online: 17 May 2017Received: 10 August 2016Accepted: 04 May 2017DOI: 10.1007-s00382-017-3726-6

Cite this article as: Bartlett, R.E., Bollasina, M.A., Booth, B.B.B. et al. Clim Dyn 2017. doi:10.1007-s00382-017-3726-6


Anthropogenic aerosols could dominate over greenhouse gases in driving near-term hydroclimate change, especially in regions with high present-day aerosol loading such as Asia. Uncertainties in near-future aerosol emissions represent a potentially large, yet unexplored, source of ambiguity in climate projections for the coming decades. We investigated the near-term sensitivity of the Asian summer monsoon to aerosols by means of transient modelling experiments using HadGEM2-ES under two existing climate change mitigation scenarios selected to have similar greenhouse gas forcing, but to span a wide range of plausible global sulfur dioxide emissions. Increased sulfate aerosols, predominantly from East Asian sources, lead to large regional dimming through aerosol-radiation and aerosol-cloud interactions. This results in surface cooling and anomalous anticyclonic flow over land, while abating the western Pacific subtropical high. The East Asian monsoon circulation weakens and precipitation stagnates over Indochina, resembling the observed southern-flood-northern-drought pattern over China. Large-scale circulation adjustments drive suppression of the South Asian monsoon and a westward extension of the Maritime Continent convective region. Remote impacts across the Northern Hemisphere are also generated, including a northwestward shift of West African monsoon rainfall induced by the westward displacement of the Indian Ocean Walker cell, and temperature anomalies in northern midlatitudes linked to propagation of Rossby waves from East Asia. These results indicate that aerosol emissions are a key source of uncertainty in near-term projection of regional and global climate; a careful examination of the uncertainties associated with aerosol pathways in future climate assessments must be highly prioritised.

KeywordsAnthropogenic aerosols Asian monsoon Atmospheric circulation Precipitation Climate model Future scenarios Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1007-s00382-017-3726-6 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Autor: Rachel E. Bartlett - Massimo A. Bollasina - Ben B. B. Booth - Nick J. Dunstone - Franco Marenco - Gabriele Messori - Da


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