skip to main content
DOE PAGES title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

This content will become publicly available on January 17, 2021

Title: Surprising similarities in model and observational aerosol radiative forcing estimates

Abstract

Abstract. The radiative forcing from aerosols (particularly through their interaction with clouds) remains one of the most uncertain components of the human forcing of the climate. Observation-based studies have typically found a smaller aerosol effective radiative forcing than in model simulations and were given preferential weighting in the IPCC AR5 report. With their own sources of uncertainty, it is not clear that observation-based estimates are more reliable. Understanding the source of the 5 model-observational difference is thus vital to reduce uncertainty in the impact of aerosols on the climate. This work shows that the reported discrepancies arise from the different decompositions of the aerosol forcing used in model and observational studies. Applying the observational decomposition to global climate model output, the two different lines of evidence are surprisingly similar, with a much better agreement on the magnitude of aerosol impacts on cloud properties. Cloud adjustments remain a significant source of uncertainty, particularly for ice clouds. However, they are consistent with 10 the uncertainty from observation-based methods, with the liquid water path adjustment usually enhancing the Twomey effect by less than 50%. Depending on different sets of assumptions, this work suggests that model and observation-based estimates could be more equally weightedmore » in future synthesis studies.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [2];  [3];  [2];  [4];  [5];  [5];  [6]; ORCiD logo [7];  [8]; ORCiD logo [7]
  1. Universitat Leipzig
  2. National Center for Atmospheric Research
  3. University of Exeter
  4. Institute of Atmospheric and Climate Science, ETH Zurich
  5. Oxford University
  6. University of Tokyo
  7. BATTELLE (PACIFIC NW LAB)
  8. Nanjing University
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1597647
Report Number(s):
PNNL-SA-143590
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC05-76RL01830
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 20; Journal Issue: 1
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English

Citation Formats

Gryspeerdt, Edward, Muelmenstadt, Johannes, Gettelman, Andrew, Malavelle, Florent, Morrison, Hugh, Neubauer, David, Partridge, Daniel, Stier, P, Takemura, T., Wang, Hailong, Wang, Minghuai, and Zhang, Kai. Surprising similarities in model and observational aerosol radiative forcing estimates. United States: N. p., 2020. Web. doi:10.5194/acp-20-613-2020.
Gryspeerdt, Edward, Muelmenstadt, Johannes, Gettelman, Andrew, Malavelle, Florent, Morrison, Hugh, Neubauer, David, Partridge, Daniel, Stier, P, Takemura, T., Wang, Hailong, Wang, Minghuai, & Zhang, Kai. Surprising similarities in model and observational aerosol radiative forcing estimates. United States. doi:10.5194/acp-20-613-2020.
Gryspeerdt, Edward, Muelmenstadt, Johannes, Gettelman, Andrew, Malavelle, Florent, Morrison, Hugh, Neubauer, David, Partridge, Daniel, Stier, P, Takemura, T., Wang, Hailong, Wang, Minghuai, and Zhang, Kai. Fri . "Surprising similarities in model and observational aerosol radiative forcing estimates". United States. doi:10.5194/acp-20-613-2020.
@article{osti_1597647,
title = {Surprising similarities in model and observational aerosol radiative forcing estimates},
author = {Gryspeerdt, Edward and Muelmenstadt, Johannes and Gettelman, Andrew and Malavelle, Florent and Morrison, Hugh and Neubauer, David and Partridge, Daniel and Stier, P and Takemura, T. and Wang, Hailong and Wang, Minghuai and Zhang, Kai},
abstractNote = {Abstract. The radiative forcing from aerosols (particularly through their interaction with clouds) remains one of the most uncertain components of the human forcing of the climate. Observation-based studies have typically found a smaller aerosol effective radiative forcing than in model simulations and were given preferential weighting in the IPCC AR5 report. With their own sources of uncertainty, it is not clear that observation-based estimates are more reliable. Understanding the source of the 5 model-observational difference is thus vital to reduce uncertainty in the impact of aerosols on the climate. This work shows that the reported discrepancies arise from the different decompositions of the aerosol forcing used in model and observational studies. Applying the observational decomposition to global climate model output, the two different lines of evidence are surprisingly similar, with a much better agreement on the magnitude of aerosol impacts on cloud properties. Cloud adjustments remain a significant source of uncertainty, particularly for ice clouds. However, they are consistent with 10 the uncertainty from observation-based methods, with the liquid water path adjustment usually enhancing the Twomey effect by less than 50%. Depending on different sets of assumptions, this work suggests that model and observation-based estimates could be more equally weighted in future synthesis studies.},
doi = {10.5194/acp-20-613-2020},
journal = {Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics},
number = 1,
volume = 20,
place = {United States},
year = {2020},
month = {1}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
This content will become publicly available on January 17, 2021
Publisher's Version of Record

Save / Share:

Works referenced in this record:

The impact of humidity above stratiform clouds on indirect aerosol climate forcing
journal, December 2004

  • Ackerman, Andrew S.; Kirkpatrick, Michael P.; Stevens, David E.
  • Nature, Vol. 432, Issue 7020
  • DOI: 10.1038/nature03174

Cloud Detection with MODIS. Part II: Validation
journal, July 2008

  • Ackerman, S. A.; Holz, R. E.; Frey, R.
  • Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, Vol. 25, Issue 7
  • DOI: 10.1175/2007JTECHA1053.1

Aerosols, Cloud Microphysics, and Fractional Cloudiness
journal, September 1989


Understanding the drivers of marine liquid-water cloud occurrence and properties with global observations using neural networks
journal, January 2017

  • Andersen, Hendrik; Cermak, Jan; Fuchs, Julia
  • Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Vol. 17, Issue 15
  • DOI: 10.5194/acp-17-9535-2017

Impact of the modal aerosol scheme GLOMAP-mode on aerosol forcing in the Hadley Centre Global Environmental Model
journal, January 2013

  • Bellouin, N.; Mann, G. W.; Woodhouse, M. T.
  • Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Vol. 13, Issue 6
  • DOI: 10.5194/acp-13-3027-2013

Aerosols in the Pre-industrial Atmosphere
journal, March 2017

  • Carslaw, Kenneth S.; Gordon, Hamish; Hamilton, Douglas S.
  • Current Climate Change Reports, Vol. 3, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1007/s40641-017-0061-2

Satellite-based estimate of global aerosol–cloud radiative forcing by marine warm clouds
journal, August 2014

  • Chen, Yi-Chun; Christensen, Matthew W.; Stephens, Graeme L.
  • Nature Geoscience, Vol. 7, Issue 9
  • DOI: 10.1038/ngeo2214

Pollution trends over Europe constrain global aerosol forcing as simulated by climate models
journal, March 2014

  • Cherian, Ribu; Quaas, Johannes; Salzmann, Marc
  • Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 41, Issue 6
  • DOI: 10.1002/2013GL058715

Unveiling aerosol–cloud interactions – Part 1: Cloud contamination in satellite products enhances the aerosol indirect forcing estimate
journal, January 2017

  • Christensen, Matthew W.; Neubauer, David; Poulsen, Caroline A.
  • Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Vol. 17, Issue 21
  • DOI: 10.5194/acp-17-13151-2017

Geographically coherent patterns of albedo enhancement and suppression associated with aerosol sources and sinks
journal, April 2015

  • Engström, Anders; Bender, Frida A. -M.; Charlson, Robert J.
  • Tellus B: Chemical and Physical Meteorology, Vol. 67, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.3402/tellusb.v67.26442

First measurements of the Twomey indirect effect using ground-based remote sensors: SURFACE REMOTE SENSING OF THE INDIRECT EFFECT
journal, March 2003

  • Feingold, Graham; Eberhard, Wynn L.; Veron, Dana E.
  • Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 30, Issue 6
  • DOI: 10.1029/2002GL016633

On the sensitivity of anthropogenic aerosol forcing to model‐internal variability and parameterizing a T womey effect
journal, May 2017

  • Fiedler, S.; Stevens, B.; Mauritsen, T.
  • Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems, Vol. 9, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.1002/2017MS000932

Putting the clouds back in aerosol–cloud interactions
journal, January 2015


Climate impacts of ice nucleation: ICE NUCLEATION
journal, October 2012

  • Gettelman, A.; Liu, X.; Barahona, D.
  • Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, Vol. 117, Issue D20
  • DOI: 10.1029/2012JD017950

Challenges in constraining anthropogenic aerosol effects on cloud radiative forcing using present-day spatiotemporal variability
journal, February 2016

  • Ghan, Steven; Wang, Minghuai; Zhang, Shipeng
  • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 113, Issue 21
  • DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1514036113

Technical Note: Estimating aerosol effects on cloud radiative forcing
journal, January 2013


Constraining the aerosol influence on cloud fraction: AEROSOLS AND CLOUD FRACTION
journal, April 2016

  • Gryspeerdt, E.; Quaas, J.; Bellouin, N.
  • Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, Vol. 121, Issue 7
  • DOI: 10.1002/2015JD023744

Constraining the instantaneous aerosol influence on cloud albedo
journal, April 2017

  • Gryspeerdt, Edward; Quaas, Johannes; Ferrachat, Sylvaine
  • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 114, Issue 19
  • DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1617765114

Ice crystal number concentration estimates from lidar–radar satellite remote sensing – Part 2: Controls on the ice crystal number concentration
journal, January 2018

  • Gryspeerdt, Edward; Sourdeval, Odran; Quaas, Johannes
  • Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Vol. 18, Issue 19
  • DOI: 10.5194/acp-18-14351-2018

Constraining the aerosol influence on cloud liquid water path
journal, January 2019

  • Gryspeerdt, Edward; Goren, Tom; Sourdeval, Odran
  • Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Vol. 19, Issue 8
  • DOI: 10.5194/acp-19-5331-2019

Aerosol effects on stratocumulus water paths in a PDF-based parameterization: FULL LWP RESPONSES IN MVD PDFs
journal, September 2011

  • Guo, H.; Golaz, J. -C.; Donner, L. J.
  • Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 38, Issue 17
  • DOI: 10.1029/2011GL048611

Analysis of polarimetric satellite measurements suggests stronger cooling due to aerosol-cloud interactions
journal, November 2019


Assessment of simulated aerosol effective radiative forcings in the terrestrial spectrum: AEROSOL TERRESTRIAL EFFECTIVE FORCING
journal, January 2017

  • Heyn, Irene; Block, Karoline; Mülmenstädt, Johannes
  • Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 44, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.1002/2016GL071975

The effect of smoke, dust, and pollution aerosol on shallow cloud development over the Atlantic Ocean
journal, August 2005

  • Kaufman, Y. J.; Koren, I.; Remer, L. A.
  • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 102, Issue 32
  • DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0505191102

Aerosol radiative effects with MACv2
journal, January 2019


Climate model genealogy: Generation CMIP5 and how we got there: CLIMATE MODEL GENEALOGY
journal, March 2013

  • Knutti, Reto; Masson, David; Gettelman, Andrew
  • Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 40, Issue 6
  • DOI: 10.1002/grl.50256

Multisensor satellite observations of aerosol effects on warm clouds
journal, January 2008

  • Lebsock, Matthew D.; Stephens, Graeme L.; Kummerow, Christian
  • Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 113, Issue D15
  • DOI: 10.1029/2008JD009876

Strong constraints on aerosol–cloud interactions from volcanic eruptions
journal, June 2017

  • Malavelle, Florent F.; Haywood, Jim M.; Jones, Andy
  • Nature, Vol. 546, Issue 7659
  • DOI: 10.1038/nature22974

The global aerosol‐cloud first indirect effect estimated using MODIS, MERRA, and AeroCom
journal, February 2017

  • McCoy, D. T.; Bender, F. A. ‐M.; Mohrmann, J. K. C.
  • Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, Vol. 122, Issue 3
  • DOI: 10.1002/2016JD026141

Aerosol midlatitude cyclone indirect effects in observations and high-resolution simulations
journal, January 2018

  • McCoy, Daniel T.; Field, Paul R.; Schmidt, Anja
  • Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Vol. 18, Issue 8
  • DOI: 10.5194/acp-18-5821-2018

CALIPSO (IIR–CALIOP) retrievals of cirrus cloud ice-particle concentrations
journal, January 2018

  • Mitchell, David L.; Garnier, Anne; Pelon, Jacques
  • Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Vol. 18, Issue 23
  • DOI: 10.5194/acp-18-17325-2018

Improved Aerosol Processes and Effective Radiative Forcing in HadGEM3 and UKESM1
journal, November 2018

  • Mulcahy, J. P.; Jones, C.; Sellar, A.
  • Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems, Vol. 10, Issue 11
  • DOI: 10.1029/2018MS001464

The Radiative Forcing of Aerosol–Cloud Interactions in Liquid Clouds: Wrestling and Embracing Uncertainty
journal, February 2018


Unveiling aerosol–cloud interactions – Part 2: Minimising the effects of aerosol swelling and wet scavenging in ECHAM6-HAM2 for comparison to satellite data
journal, January 2017

  • Neubauer, David; Christensen, Matthew W.; Poulsen, Caroline A.
  • Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Vol. 17, Issue 21
  • DOI: 10.5194/acp-17-13165-2017

Constraining the total aerosol indirect effect in the LMDZ and ECHAM4 GCMs using MODIS satellite data
journal, January 2006

  • Quaas, J.; Boucher, O.; Lohmann, U.
  • Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Vol. 6, Issue 4
  • DOI: 10.5194/acp-6-947-2006

Satellite-based estimate of the direct and indirect aerosol climate forcing: SATELLITE-ESTIMATE OF AEROSOL FORCINGS
journal, March 2008

  • Quaas, Johannes; Boucher, Olivier; Bellouin, Nicolas
  • Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, Vol. 113, Issue D5
  • DOI: 10.1029/2007JD008962

Aerosol indirect effects – general circulation model intercomparison and evaluation with satellite data
journal, January 2009


Interpreting the cloud cover – aerosol optical depth relationship found in satellite data using a general circulation model
journal, January 2010


Two-moment bulk stratiform cloud microphysics in the GFDL AM3 GCM: description, evaluation, and sensitivity tests
journal, January 2010

  • Salzmann, M.; Ming, Y.; Golaz, J. -C.
  • Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Vol. 10, Issue 16
  • DOI: 10.5194/acp-10-8037-2010

Aerosol effects on cloud water amounts were successfully simulated by a global cloud-system resolving model
journal, March 2018


On the spatio-temporal representativeness of observations
journal, January 2017

  • Schutgens, Nick; Tsyro, Svetlana; Gryspeerdt, Edward
  • Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Vol. 17, Issue 16
  • DOI: 10.5194/acp-17-9761-2017

Large-eddy simulation of the transient and near-equilibrium behavior of precipitating shallow convection: LES OF PRECIPITATING SHALLOW CONVECTION
journal, December 2015

  • Seifert, Axel; Heus, Thijs; Pincus, Robert
  • Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems, Vol. 7, Issue 4
  • DOI: 10.1002/2015MS000489

UKESM1: Description and Evaluation of the U.K. Earth System Model
journal, December 2019

  • Sellar, Alistair A.; Jones, Colin G.; Mulcahy, Jane P.
  • Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems
  • DOI: 10.1029/2019MS001739

Rethinking the Lower Bound on Aerosol Radiative Forcing
journal, June 2015


Limitations of passive remote sensing to constrain global cloud condensation nuclei
journal, January 2016


Weak average liquid-cloud-water response to anthropogenic aerosols
journal, July 2019


Pollution and the planetary albedo
journal, December 1974


Large-Eddy Simulations of Trade Wind Cumuli: Investigation of Aerosol Indirect Effects
journal, June 2006

  • Xue, Huiwen; Feingold, Graham
  • Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, Vol. 63, Issue 6
  • DOI: 10.1175/JAS3706.1

Technical Note: On the use of nudging for aerosol–climate model intercomparison studies
journal, January 2014


On the characteristics of aerosol indirect effect based on dynamic regimes in global climate models
journal, January 2016

  • Zhang, Shipeng; Wang, Minghuai; Ghan, Steven J.
  • Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Vol. 16, Issue 5
  • DOI: 10.5194/acp-16-2765-2016

Why do general circulation models overestimate the aerosol cloud lifetime effect? A case study comparing CAM5 and a CRM
journal, January 2017

  • Zhou, Cheng; Penner, Joyce E.
  • Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Vol. 17, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.5194/acp-17-21-2017