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Local and remote climate impacts of future African aerosol emissions

Wells, C. D., Kasoar, M., Bellouin, N. ORCID: and Voulgarikis, A. (2023) Local and remote climate impacts of future African aerosol emissions. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 23 (6). pp. 3575-3593. ISSN 1680-7324

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To link to this item DOI: 10.5194/acp-23-3575-2023


The potential future trend in African aerosol emissions is uncertain, with a large range found in future scenarios used to drive climate projections. The future climate impact of these emissions is therefore uncertain. Using the Shared Socioeconomic Pathway (SSP) scenarios, transient future experiments were performed with the UK Earth System Model UKESM1, to investigate the effect of African emissions following the high emission SSP370 scenario as the rest of the world follows the more sustainable SSP119, relative to a global SSP119 control. This isolates the effect of Africa following a relatively more polluted future emissions pathway. Compared to SSP119, SSP370 projects higher non-biomass burning emissions aerosol emissions, but lower biomass burning emissions, over Africa. Increased SW absorption by black carbon aerosol leads to a global warming, but the reduction in the local incident surface radiation close to the emissions is larger, causing a local cooling effect. The local cooling persists even when including the higher African CO2 emissions under SSP370 than SSP119. The global warming is significantly higher by 0.07 K when including the nonBB aerosol increases, and higher still (0.22 K) when including all aerosols and CO2. Precipitation also exhibits complex changes. Northward shifts in the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) occur under relatively warmer northern hemisphere land, and local rainfall is enhanced due to mid-tropospheric instability from black carbon absorption. These results highlight the importance of future African aerosol emissions for regional and global climate, and the spatial complexity of this climate influence.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:111239
Publisher:Copernicus Publications


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