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https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-478
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-478
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 23 Jun 2020

Submitted as: research article | 23 Jun 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Uncertainty in Aerosol Radiative Forcing Impacts the Simulated Global Monsoon in the 20th Century

Jonathan K. P. Shonk1,a, Andrew G. Turner1,2, Amulya Chevuturi1, Laura J. Wilcox1, Andrea J. Dittus1, and Ed Hawkins1 Jonathan K. P. Shonk et al.
  • 1National Centre for Atmospheric Science, University of Reading, Reading, UK
  • 2Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, Reading, UK
  • acurrent affiliation: Met Office @ Reading, University of Reading, Reading, UK

Abstract. Anthropogenic aerosols are dominant drivers of historical monsoon rainfall change. However, large uncertainties in the radiative forcing associated with anthropogenic aerosol emissions, and the dynamical response to this forcing, lead to uncertainty in the simulated monsoon response. We use historical simulations in which aerosol emissions are scaled by factors from 0.2 to 1.5 to explore the monsoon sensitivity to aerosol forcing uncertainty (−0.38 W m−2 to −1.50 W m−2). Hemispheric asymmetry in emissions generates a strong relationship between scaling factor and both hemispheric temperature contrast and meridional location of tropical rainfall. Increasing the scaling from 0.2 to 1.5 reduces the global monsoon area by 3 % and the global monsoon intensity by 2 % over the period 1950–2014, and switches the dominant influence on the 1950–1980 monsoon rainfall trend between greenhouse gas and aerosol. Regionally, aerosol scaling has a pronounced effect on Northern Hemisphere monsoon rainfall.

Jonathan K. P. Shonk et al.

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Jonathan K. P. Shonk et al.

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Short summary
We using a set of model simulations of the 20th century to demonstrate that the uncertainty in the cooling effect of man-made aerosol emissions has a wide range of impacts on the global monsoons. For the weakest cooling, the impact of aerosol is overpowered by greenhouse gas (GHG) warming and monsoon rainfall increases in the late 20th century. For the strongest cooling, aerosol impact dominates over GHG warming, leading to reduced monsoon rainfall, particularly from 1950–1980.
We using a set of model simulations of the 20th century to demonstrate that the uncertainty in...
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