Sulfur cycle and sulfate radiative forcing simulated from a coupled global climate-chemistry model
1Department of Atmospheric Sciences, National Taiwan University, Taiwan
2Atmospheric Sciences Research Center, State University of New York at Albany, USA
3Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo, Norway
Abstract. The sulfur cycle and radiative effects of sulfate aerosol on climate are studied with a Global tropospheric Climate-Chemistry Model in which chemistry, radiation and dynamics are fully coupled. Production and removal mechanisms of sulfate are analyzed for the conditions of natural and anthropogenic sulfur emissions. Results show that the 1985 anthropogenic emission doubled the global SO2 and sulfate loadings from its natural value of 0.15 and 0.27 Tg S, respectively. Under natural conditions, the fraction of sulfate produced in-cloud is 87%, and the lifetime of SO2 and sulfate are 1.8 and 4.0 days, respectively; whereas with anthropogenic emissions, changes in in-cloud sulfate production are small, while SO2 and sulfate lifetimes are significant reduced (1.0 and 2.4 days, respectively). The doubling of sulfate results in a direct radiative forcing of −0.32 and −0.14 W m−2 under clear-sky and all-sky conditions, respectively, and a significant first indirect forcing of −1.69 W m−2. The first indirect forcing is sensitive to the relationship between aerosol concentration and cloud droplet number concentration. Two aspects of chemistry-climate interaction are addressed. Firstly, the coupling effects lead to 10% and 2% decreases in sulfate loading, respectively, for the cases of natural and anthropogenic added sulfur emissions. Secondly, only the indirect effect of sulfate aerosols yields significantly stronger signals in changes of near surface temperature and sulfate loading than changes due to intrinsic climate variability, while other responses to the indirect effect and all responses to the direct effect are weak.