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Sensitivity of historical climate simulations to uncertain aerosol forcing

Dittus, A. J., Hawkins, E., Wilcox, L. J., Sutton, R., Smith, C. J., Andrews, M. B. and Forster, P. M. (2020) Sensitivity of historical climate simulations to uncertain aerosol forcing. Geophysical Research Letters. ISSN 0094-8276 (In Press)

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Abstract/Summary

The relative importance of anthropogenic aerosol in decadal variations of historical climate is uncertain, largely due to uncertainty in aerosol radiative forcing. We analyse a novel large ensemble of simulations with HadGEM3-GC3.1 for 1850-2014, where anthropogenic aerosol and precursor emissions are scaled to sample a wide range of historical aerosol radiative forcing with present-day values ranging from -0.38 to -1.50 Wm-2. Five ensemble members are run for each of five aerosol scaling factors. Decadal variations in surface temperatures are strongly sensitive to aerosol forcing, particularly between 1950 and 1980. Post-1980, trends are dominated by greenhouse-gas forcing, with much lower sensitivity to aerosol emission differences. Most realisations with aerosol forcing more negative than about -1 Wm-2 simulate stronger cooling trends in the mid-twentieth century compared to observations, while the simulated warming post-1980 always exceeds observed warming, likely due to a warm bias in the Transient Climate Response in HadGEM3-GC3.1.

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:90549
Publisher:American Geophysical Union

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