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Transient climate change simulations with a coupled atmosphere–ocean GCM including the tropospheric sulfur cycle

Roeckner, E., Bengtsson, L., Feichter, J., Lelieveld, J. and Rodhe, H. (1999) Transient climate change simulations with a coupled atmosphere–ocean GCM including the tropospheric sulfur cycle. Journal of Climate, 12 (10). pp. 3004-3032. ISSN 0894-8755

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1175/1520-0442(1999)012<3004:TCCSWA>2.0.CO;2


The time-dependent climate response to changing concentrations of greenhouse gases and sulfate aerosols is studied using a coupled general circulation model of the atmosphere and the ocean (ECHAM4/OPYC3). The concentrations of the well-mixed greenhouse gases like CO2, CH4, N2O, and CFCs are prescribed for the past (1860–1990) and projected into the future according to International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) scenario IS92a. In addition, the space–time distribution of tropospheric ozone is prescribed, and the tropospheric sulfur cycle is calculated within the coupled model using sulfur emissions of the past and projected into the future (IS92a). The radiative impact of the aerosols is considered via both the direct and the indirect (i.e., through cloud albedo) effect. It is shown that the simulated trend in sulfate deposition since the end of the last century is broadly consistent with ice core measurements, and the calculated radiative forcings from preindustrial to present time are within the uncertainty range estimated by IPCC. Three climate perturbation experiments are performed, applying different forcing mechanisms, and the results are compared with those obtained from a 300-yr unforced control experiment. As in previous experiments, the climate response is similar, but weaker, if aerosol effects are included in addition to greenhouse gases. One notable difference to previous experiments is that the strength of the Indian summer monsoon is not fundamentally affected by the inclusion of aerosol effects. Although the monsoon is damped compared to a greenhouse gas only experiment, it is still more vigorous than in the control experiment. This different behavior, compared to previous studies, is the result of the different land–sea distribution of aerosol forcing. Somewhat unexpected, the intensity of the global hydrological cycle becomes weaker in a warmer climate if both direct and indirect aerosol effects are included in addition to the greenhouse gases. This can be related to anomalous net radiative cooling of the earth’s surface through aerosols, which is balanced by reduced turbulent transfer of both sensible and latent heat from the surface to the atmosphere.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:31672
Publisher:American Meteorological Society

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