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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-553
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-553
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 10 Sep 2019

Submitted as: research article | 10 Sep 2019

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Air pollution slows down surface warming over the Tibetan Plateau

Aolin Jia1, Shunlin Liang1, Dongdong Wang1, Bo Jiang2, and Xiaotong Zhang2 Aolin Jia et al.
  • 1Department of Geographical Sciences, Universityof Maryland, College Park, MD, 20742, USA
  • 2State Key Laboratory of Remote Sensing Science, Faculty of Geographical Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, 10085, China

Abstract. The Tibetan Plateau (TP) plays a vital role in regional and global climate change. The TP has been undergoing significant surface warming since 1850, with an air temperature increase of 1.39 K and surface solar dimming resulting from decreased incident solar radiation. The causes and impacts of solar dimming on surface warming are unclear. In this study, long-term (from 1850–2015) surface downward radiation datasets over the TP are developed by integrating 18 Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) models and satellite products. The validation results from two ground measurement networks show that the generated downward surface radiation datasets have higher accuracy than the mean of multiple CMIP5 and the fused datasets of reanalysis and satellite products. After analyzing the generated radiation data with four air temperature datasets, we found that downward shortwave radiation (DSR) remained stable before 1950 and then declined rapidly at a rate of −0.53 W m−2 per decade and that the fastest decrease in DSR is in the southeastern TP. Evidence from site measurements, satellite observations, reanalysis, and model simulations suggested that TP solar dimming was primarily driven by increased anthropogenic aerosols. The TP solar dimming is stronger in summer, at the same time that the increasing magnitude of the surface air temperature is the smallest. The cooling effect of solar dimming offsets surface warming on the TP by 0.80 ± 0.28 K (48.6 ± 17.3 %) in summer. It helps us understand the role of anthropogenic aerosols in climate warming, and highlights the need for additional studies to be conducted to quantify the influence of air pollution on regional climate change over the TP.

Aolin Jia et al.
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Long-term surface downward surface radiation dataset over the Tibetan Plateau A. Jia and S. Liang https://doi.pangaea.de/10.1594/PANGAEA.902049

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Short summary
The Tibetan Plateau (TP) plays a vital role in regional and global climate change due to its location and orography. After generating a long-term surface radiation (SR) dataset, we characterized the SR spatiotemporal variation along with temperature. Evidence from multiple data sources indicated that the TP dimming was primarily driven by increased aerosols from human activities and cooling effect of aerosol loading offsets TP surface warming, revealing the human impact on regional warming.
The Tibetan Plateau (TP) plays a vital role in regional and global climate change due to its...
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