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Impacts of aerosol-cloud interactions on past and future changes in tropospheric composition

Description: The development of effective emissions control policies that are beneficial to both climate and air quality requires a detailed understanding of all the feedbacks in the atmospheric composition and climate system. We perform sensitivity studies with a global atmospheric composition-climate model to assess the impact of aerosols on tropospheric chemistry through their modification on clouds, aerosol-cloud interactions (ACI). The model includes coupling between both tropospheric gas-phase and aerosol chemistry and aerosols and liquid-phase clouds. We investigate past impacts from preindustrial (PI) to present day (PD) and future impacts from PD to 2050 (for the moderate IPCC A1B scenario) that embrace a wide spectrum of precursor emission changes and consequential ACI. The aerosol indirect effect (AIE) is estimated to be -2.0 Wm{sup -2} for PD-PI and -0.6 Wm{sup -2} for 2050-PD, at the high end of current estimates. Inclusion of ACI substantially impacts changes in global mean methane lifetime across both time periods, enhancing the past and future increases by 10% and 30%, respectively. In regions where pollution emissions increase, inclusion of ACI leads to 20% enhancements in in-cloud sulfate production and {approx}10% enhancements in sulfate wet deposition that is displaced away from the immediate source regions. The enhanced in-cloud sulfate formation leads to larger increases in surface sulfate across polluted regions ({approx}10-30%). Nitric acid wet deposition is dampened by 15-20% across the industrialized regions due to ACI allowing additional re-release of reactive nitrogen that contributes to 1-2 ppbv increases in surface ozone in outflow regions. Our model findings indicate that ACI must be considered in studies of methane trends and projections of future changes to particulate matter air quality.
Date: February 2, 2009
Creator: Unger, N.; Menon, S.; Shindell, D. T. & Koch, D. M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

A multi-model assessment of pollution transport to the Arctic

Description: We examine the response of Arctic gas and aerosol concentrations to perturbations in pollutant emissions from Europe, East and South Asia, and North America using results from a coordinated model intercomparison. These sensitivities to regional emissions (mixing ratio change per unit emission) vary widely across models and species. Intermodel differences are systematic, however, so that the relative importance of different regions is robust. North America contributes the most to Arctic ozone pollution. For aerosols and CO, European emissions dominate at the Arctic surface but East Asian emissions become progressively more important with altitude, and are dominant in the upper troposphere. Sensitivities show strong seasonality: surface sensitivities typically maximize during boreal winter for European and during spring for East Asian and North American emissions. Mid-tropospheric sensitivities, however, nearly always maximize during spring or summer for all regions. Deposition of black carbon (BC) onto Greenland is most sensitive to North American emissions. North America and Europe each contribute {approx}40% of total BC deposition to Greenland, with {approx}20% from East Asia. Elsewhere in the Arctic, both sensitivity and total BC deposition are dominated by European emissions. Model diversity for aerosols is especially large, resulting primarily from differences in aerosol physical and chemical processing (including removal). Comparison of modeled aerosol concentrations with observations indicates problems in the models, and perhaps, interpretation of the measurements. For gas phase pollutants such as CO and O{sub 3}, which are relatively well-simulated, the processes contributing most to uncertainties depend on the source region and altitude examined. Uncertainties in the Arctic surface CO response to emissions perturbations are dominated by emissions for East Asian sources, while uncertainties in transport, emissions, and oxidation are comparable for European and North American sources. At higher levels, model-to-model variations in transport and oxidation are most important. Differences in photochemistry appear to play the ...
Date: March 13, 2008
Creator: Shindell, D T; Chin, M; Dentener, F; Doherty, R M; Faluvegi, G; Fiore, A M et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department