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Amplification of Arctic warming by past air pollution reductions in Europe
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Meteorology .
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry.
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Number of Authors: 9
2016 (English)In: Nature Geoscience, ISSN 1752-0894, E-ISSN 1752-0908, Vol. 9, no 4, 277-+ p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The Arctic region is warming considerably faster than the rest of the globe(1), with important consequences for the ecosystems(2) and human exploration of the region(3). However, the reasons behind this Arctic amplification are not entirely clear(4). As a result of measures to enhance air quality, anthropogenic emissions of particulate matter and its precursors have drastically decreased in parts of the Northern Hemisphere over the past three decades(5). Here we present simulations with an Earth system model with comprehensive aerosol physics and chemistry that show that the sulfate aerosol reductions in Europe since 1980 can potentially explain a significant fraction of Arctic warming over that period. Specifically, the Arctic region receives an additional 0.3Wm(-2) of energy, and warms by 0.5 degrees C on annual average in simulations with declining European sulfur emissions in line with historical observations, compared with a model simulation with fixed European emissions at 1980 levels. Arctic warming is amplified mainly in fall and winter, but the warming is initiated in summer by an increase in incoming solar radiation as well as an enhanced poleward oceanic and atmospheric heat transport. The simulated summertime energy surplus reduces sea-ice cover, which leads to a transfer of heat from the Arctic Ocean to the atmosphere. We conclude that air quality regulations in the Northern Hemisphere, the ocean and atmospheric circulation, and Arctic climate are inherently linked.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 9, no 4, 277-+ p.
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Applied Environmental Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-130127DOI: 10.1038/NGEO2673ISI: 000373374100010OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-130127DiVA: diva2:929427
Available from: 2016-05-18 Created: 2016-05-09 Last updated: 2017-01-03Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Anthropogenic influence on climate through changes in aerosol emissions from air pollution and land use change
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Anthropogenic influence on climate through changes in aerosol emissions from air pollution and land use change
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Particulate matter suspended in air (i.e. aerosol particles) exerts a substantial influence on the climate of our planet and is responsible for causing severe public health problems in many regions across the globe. Human activities have altered the natural and anthropogenic emissions of aerosol particles through direct emissions or indirectly by modifying natural sources. The climate effects of the latter have been largely overlooked. Humans have dramatically altered the land surface of the planet causing changes in natural aerosol emissions from vegetated areas. Regulation on anthropogenic and natural aerosol emissions have the potential to affect the climate on regional to global scales. Furthermore, the regional climate effects of aerosol particles could potentially be very different than the ones caused by other climate forcers (e.g. well mixed greenhouse gases). The main objective of this work was to investigate the climatic effects of land use and air pollution via aerosol changes.

Using numerical model simulations it was found that land use changes in the past millennium have likely caused a positive radiative forcing via aerosol climate interactions. The forcing is an order of magnitude smaller and has an opposite sign than the radiative forcing caused by direct aerosol emissions changes from other human activities. The results also indicate that future reductions of fossil fuel aerosols via air quality regulations may lead to an additional warming of the planet by mid-21st century and could also cause an important Arctic amplification of the warming. In addition, the mean position of the intertropical convergence zone and the Asian monsoon appear to be sensitive to aerosol emission reductions from air quality regulations. For these reasons, climate mitigation policies should take into consideration aerosol air pollution, which has not received sufficient attention in the past.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry, Stockholm University, 2017
Keyword
Climate change, Air quality, Land use, General circulation, Atmosphere-Ocean interactions, Aerosol climate effects, Earth system modelling
National Category
Climate Research Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences Environmental Sciences Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources
Research subject
Applied Environmental Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-137077 (URN)978-91-7649-650-3 (ISBN)978-91-7649-651-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2017-02-17, Nordenskiöldsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
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Available from: 2017-01-25 Created: 2016-12-22 Last updated: 2017-01-24Bibliographically approved

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Acosta Navarro, Juan CamiloRiipinen, IrinaHansson, Hans-ChristenEkman, Annica M. L.
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