The updated effective radiative forcing of major anthropogenic aerosols and their effects on global climate at present and in the future

Research paper by Hua Zhang, Shuyun Zhao, Zhili Wang, Xiaoye Zhang, Lianchun Song

Indexed on: 10 Mar '16Published on: 25 Jan '16Published in: International Journal of Climatology


The effective radiative forcing (ERF), as newly defined in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Fifth Assessment Report (IPCC AR5), of three anthropogenic aerosols [sulphate (SF), black carbon (BC), and organic carbon (OC)] and their comprehensive climatic effects were simulated and discussed, using the updated aerosol‐climate online model of BCC_AGCM2.0.1_CUACE/Aero. From 1850 to 2010, the total ERF of these anthropogenic aerosols was −2.49 W m−2, of which the aerosol–radiation interactive ERF (ERFari) and aerosol–cloud interactive ERF (ERFaci) were ∼ −0.30 and −2.19 W m−2, respectively. SF was the largest contributor to the total ERF, with an ERF of −2.37 W m−2. The ERF of BC and OC were 0.12 and −0.31 W m−2, respectively. From 1850 to 2010, anthropogenic aerosols brought about a decrease of ∼2.53 K and ∼0.20 mm day−1 in global annual mean surface temperature and precipitation, respectively. Surface cooling was most obvious over mid‐ and high latitudes in the northern hemisphere (NH). Precipitation change was most pronounced near the equator, with decreased and increased rainfall to the north and south of the equator, respectively; this might be largely related to the enhanced Hadley Cell in the NH. Relative humidity near surface was increased, especially over land, due to surface cooling induced by anthropogenic aerosols. Cloud cover and water path were increased, especially in or near the source regions of anthropogenic aerosols. Experiments based on the Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 4.5 given in IPCC AR5 shows the dramatic decrease in three anthropogenic aerosols in 2100 will lead to an increase of ∼2.06 K and 0.16 mm day−1 in global annual mean surface temperature and precipitation, respectively, compared with those in 2010.