Accessibility navigation


Global warming and ocean stratification: a potential result of large extraterrestrial impacts

Joshi, M., von Glasow, R., Smith, R. S., Paxton, C. G.M., Maycock, A. C., Lunt, D. J., Loptson, C. and Markwick, P. (2017) Global warming and ocean stratification: a potential result of large extraterrestrial impacts. Geophysical Research Letters, 44 (8). pp. 3841-3848. ISSN 0094-8276

[img]
Preview
Text - Published Version
· Please see our End User Agreement before downloading.

641kB
[img] Text - Accepted Version
· Restricted to Repository staff only

843kB

It is advisable to refer to the publisher's version if you intend to cite from this work. See Guidance on citing.

To link to this item DOI: 10.1002/2017GL073330

Abstract/Summary

The prevailing paradigm for the climatic effects of large asteroid or comet impacts is a reduction in sunlight and significant short-term cooling caused by atmospheric aerosol loading. Here we show, using global climate model experiments, that the large increases in stratospheric water vapor that can occur upon impact with the ocean cause radiative forcings of over +20 W m−2 in the case of 10 km sized bolides. The result of such a positive forcing is rapid climatic warming, increased upper ocean stratification, and potentially disruption of upper ocean ecosystems. Since two thirds of the world's surface is ocean, we suggest that some bolide impacts may actually warm climate overall. For impacts producing both stratospheric water vapor and aerosol loading, radiative forcing by water vapor can reduce or even cancel out aerosol-induced cooling, potentially causing 1–2 decades of increased temperatures in both the upper ocean and on the land surface. Such a response, which depends on the ratio of aerosol to water vapor radiative forcing, is distinct from many previous scenarios for the climatic effects of large bolide impacts, which mostly account for cooling from aerosol loading. Finally, we discuss how water vapor forcing from bolide impacts may have contributed to two well-known phenomena: extinction across the Cretaceous/Paleogene boundary and the deglaciation of the Neoproterozoic snowball Earth.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > NCAS
Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:71596
Publisher:American Geophysical Union

Downloads

Downloads per month over past year

University Staff: Request a correction | Centaur Editors: Update this record

Page navigation