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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 13 Nov 2018

Research article | 13 Nov 2018

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This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript was accepted for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Mechanisms for a remote response to Asian aerosol emissions in boreal winter

Laura Wilcox1,2, Nick Dunstone3, Anna Lewinschal4, Massimo Bollasina5, Annica Ekman4, and Eleanor Highwood2 Laura Wilcox et al.
  • 1National Centre for Atmospheric Science (Climate), UK
  • 2Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, Reading, UK
  • 3Met Office Hadley Centre, Exeter, UK
  • 4Department of Meteorology, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 5School of Geosciences, Grant Institute, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK

Abstract. Asian emissions of anthropogenic aerosols have increased rapidly since 1980, with half of the increase since the pre-industrial era occurring in this period. Transient experiments with the HadGEM3-GC2 coupled model were designed to isolate the impact of Asian aerosols on global climate. In boreal winter, it is found that this increase has resulted in local circulation changes, which in turn have driven increases in temperature and decreases in precipitation over China, alongside an intensification of the offshore monsoon flow. Over India, the opposite response is found, with decreasing temperatures and increasing precipitation. The dominant feature of the local circulation changes is an increase in low-level convergence, ascent, and precipitation over the Maritime continent, which forms part of a tropical-Pacific-wide La-Nina-like response.

HadGEM3-GC2 also simulates pronounced far-field responses. A decreased meridional temperature gradient in the North Pacific leads to a positive-Pacific-North-American circulation pattern, with associated temperature anomalies over the North Pacific and North America. An anomalous anticyclonic circulation over the North Atlantic, and an anomalous cyclonic circulation over the Mediterranean drive advection of cold air into Europe, causing cooling in this region. Using a steady-state primitive equation model, LUMA, we demonstrate that these far-field midlatitude response arise primarily as a result of Rossby waves generated over China, rather than in the Equatorial Pacific.

Laura Wilcox et al.
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Laura Wilcox et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Asian anthropogenic aerosol emissions have increased rapidly since 1980. In winter, this has resulted in warming over China and cooling over India. Using models of different levels of complexity, we show that Asian-aerosol-induced heating anomalies in the western and northern North Pacific establish a circulation pattern that causes cooling in North America and Europe. This connection makes these regions potentially sensitive to any reductions of Asian aerosol emissions in the near future.
Asian anthropogenic aerosol emissions have increased rapidly since 1980. In winter, this has...