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Radiative forcing due to aviation water vapour emissions

Wilcox, L.J. ORCID:, Shine, K.P. ORCID: and Hoskins, B.J. (2012) Radiative forcing due to aviation water vapour emissions. Atmospheric Environment, 63. pp. 1-13. ISSN 1352-2310

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2012.08.072


Three emissions inventories have been used with a fully Lagrangian trajectory model to calculate the stratospheric accumulation of water vapour emissions from aircraft, and the resulting radiative forcing. The annual and global mean radiative forcing due to present-day aviation water vapour emissions has been found to be 0.9 [0.3 to 1.4] mW m^2. This is around a factor of three smaller than the value given in recent assessments, and the upper bound is much lower than a recently suggested 20 mW m^2 upper bound. This forcing is sensitive to the vertical distribution of emissions, and, to a lesser extent, interannual variability in meteorology. Large differences in the vertical distribution of emissions within the inventories have been identified, which result in the choice of inventory being the largest source of differences in the calculation of the radiative forcing due to the emissions. Analysis of Northern Hemisphere trajectories demonstrates that the assumption of an e-folding time is not always appropriate for stratospheric emissions. A linear model is more representative for emissions that enter the stratosphere far above the tropopause.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:29029


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