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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-606
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-606
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 08 Jul 2019

Research article | 08 Jul 2019

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

Anthropogenic aerosol forcing under the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways

Marianne T. Lund, Gunnar Myhre, and Bjørn H. Samset Marianne T. Lund et al.
  • CICERO Center for International Climate Research, Oslo, Norway

Abstract. Emissions of anthropogenic aerosols are expected to change drastically over the coming decades, with potentially significant climate implications. Using the most recent generation of harmonized emission scenarios, the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs) as input to a global chemistry transport and radiative transfer model, we provide estimates of the projected future global and regional burdens and radiative forcing of anthropogenic aerosols under three different levels of air pollution control: strong (SSP1), medium (SSP2) and weak (SSP3). We find that the broader range of future air pollution emission trajectories spanned by the SSPs compared to previous scenarios translates into total aerosol forcing estimates in 2100 relative to 1750 ranging from −0.04 W m−2 in SSP1-1.9 to −0.51 W m−2 in SSP3-7.0. Compared to our 1750–2015 estimate of −0.61 W m−2, this shows that depending on the success of air pollution policies over the coming decades, aerosol radiative forcing may weaken by nearly 95 % or remain close to the pre-industrial to present-day level. In all three scenarios there is a positive forcing in 2100 relative to 2015, from 0.51 W m−2 in SSP1-1.9 to 0.04 W m−2 in SSP3-7.0. Results also demonstrate significant differences across regions and scenarios, especially in South Asia and Africa. While rapid weakening of the negative aerosol forcing following effective air quality policies will unmask more of the greenhouse gas-induced global warming, slow progress on mitigating air pollution will significantly enhance the atmospheric aerosol levels and risk to human health. In either case, the resulting impacts on regional and global climate can be significant.

Marianne T. Lund et al.
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Marianne T. Lund et al.
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Short summary
Atmospheric aerosols play an integral role in shaping local and global climate by modifying the energy balance, clouds and precipitation. They are also a leading cause of premature mortality in many areas. New scenarios provide projections of emissions until 2100 given strong, medium or weak air pollution control stringency. We quantify the consequent regional and global aerosol loading and radiative forcing, showing a large spread at the end of the century and regional differences in trends.
Atmospheric aerosols play an integral role in shaping local and global climate by modifying the...
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