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

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 inmore » future synthesis studies.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2];  [3];  [4];  [3];  [5];  [4];  [6];  [7]; ORCiD logo [8];  [9]; ORCiD logo [8]
  1. Imperial College, London (United Kingdom)
  2. Leipzig Univ. (Germany)
  3. National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO (United States)
  4. Univ. of Exeter (United Kingdom)
  5. Inst. of Atmospheric and Climate Science (ETH), Zurich (Switzerland)
  6. Univ. of Oxford (United Kingdom)
  7. Kyushu Univ. (Japan)
  8. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States). Atmospheric Science and Global Change Div. (ASGC)
  9. Nanjing Univ. (China); Collaborative Innovation Center of Climate Change, Beijing (China)
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
Journal ID: ISSN; 1680-7316
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC05-76RL01830
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 20; Journal Issue: 1
Publisher:
European Geosciences Union
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES

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. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1597647.
@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 = {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}
}

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