Anthropogenic influence on SOA and the resulting radiative forcing
1Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo, Norway
2Center for International Climate and Environmental Research, Oslo, Norway
3Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
Abstract. The pre-industrial and present day distributions and burdens of Secondary Organic Aerosol (SOA) have been calculated using the off-line aerosol chemistry transport model Oslo CTM2. The production of SOA was found to have increased from about 43 Tg yr−1 to 69 Tg yr−1 since pre-industrial times, leading to an increase in the global annual mean SOA burden from 0.44 Tg to 0.70 Tg, or about 59%. The increases are greatest over industrialised areas, as well as over regions with high biogenic precursor emissions. The contribution of emissions from different sources to the larger SOA burdens has been calculated. The results suggest that the majority of the increase is caused by emissions of primary organic aerosols (POA), from fossil fuel and bio fuel combustion. When SOA partitioning to ammonium sulphate aerosol was not accounted for, the increase in SOA burden between pre-industrial times and the present was found to be lower (51%), with a production increase of 55%. As yet, very few radiative forcing estimates of SOA exist, and no such estimates were provided in the latest IPCC report. In this study, we find that the change in SOA burden caused a radiative forcing of −0.09 W m−2, when SOA was allowed to partition to both organic and sulphate aerosols, and −0.06 W m−2 when only partitioning to organic aerosols was assumed. Therefore, the radiative forcing of SOA is found to be substantially stronger than the best estimate for POA in the latest IPCC assessment.