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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 16 Aug 2018

Research article | 16 Aug 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Local and remote temperature response of regional SO2 emissions

Anna Lewinschal1,2, Annica M. L. Ekman1,2, Hans-Christen Hansson2,3, Maria Sand4, Terje K. Berntsen4,5, and Joakim Langner6 Anna Lewinschal et al.
  • 1Department of Meteorology, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 2The Bolin Centre for climate research, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 3Department of Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 4CICERO Center for International Climate and Environmental Research, Oslo, Norway
  • 5University of Oslo, Department of Geosciences, Oslo, Norway
  • 6Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, Air Quality Research Unit, Norrköping, Sweden

Abstract. Short-lived anthropogenic climate forcers, such as sulphate aerosols, affect both climate and air quality. Despite being short-lived, these forcers do not affect temperatures only locally; regions far away from the emission sources are also affected. Climate metrics are often used e.g. in a policy context to compare the climate impact of different anthropogenic forcing agents. These metrics typically relate a forcing change in a certain region with a temperature change in another region and thus often require a separate model to convert emission changes to radiative forcing changes.

In this study, we used a coupled Earth System Model (NorESM) to calculate emission-to-temperature-response metrics for sulphur dioxide (SO2) emission changes in four different policy-relevant regions: Europe, North America, East Asia and South Asia. We first increased the SO2 emissions in each individual region by an amount giving approximately the same global average radiative forcing change (−0.45Wm−2). The global mean temperature change per unit sulphur emission compared to the control experiment was independent of emission region and equal to ∼0.006K/TgSyr−1. On a regional scale, the Arctic showed the largest temperature response in all experiments. The second largest temperature change occurred in the region of the imposed emission increase, except when South Asian emissions were changed; in this experiment, the temperature response was approximately the same in South Asia and East Asia. We also examined the non-linearity of the temperature response by removing all anthropogenic SO2 emissions over Europe in one experiment. In this case, the temperature response (both global and regional) was twice of that in the corresponding experiment with a European emission increase. This nonlinearity in the temperature response is one of many uncertainties associated with the use of simplified climate metrics.

Anna Lewinschal et al.
Interactive discussion
Status: final response (author comments only)
Status: final response (author comments only)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
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Anna Lewinschal et al.
Anna Lewinschal et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
We use a global climate model to study how anthropogenic emissions of short lived atmospheric particles in different parts of the world influence the global temperature distribution. We find that the global mean temperature change per unit emission is similar for all emission regions, and the largest temperature response is found in the Arctic no matter where the emissions occur. However, for European emissions, the temperature change per unit emission is found to depend on emission strength.
We use a global climate model to study how anthropogenic emissions of short lived atmospheric...