Articles | Volume 12, issue 20
Research article
24 Oct 2012
Research article |  | 24 Oct 2012

Aerosol forcing based on CAM5 and AM3 meteorological fields

C. Zhou, J. E. Penner, Y. Ming, and X. L. Huang

Abstract. We use a single aerosol model to explore the effects of the differing meteorological fields from the NCAR CAM5 and GFDL AM3 models. We simulate the global distributions of sulfate, black carbon, organic matter, dust and sea salt using the University of Michigan IMPACT model and use these fields to calculate aerosol direct and indirect forcing, thereby isolating the impacts of the differing meteorological fields.

Over all, the IMPACT-AM3 model predicts larger burdens and longer aerosol lifetimes than the IMPACT-CAM5 model. However, the IMPACT-CAM5 simulations transport more black carbon to the polar regions and more dust from Asia towards North America. These differences can mainly be attributed to differences in: (1) the vertical cloud mass flux and large-scale precipitation fields which determine the wet deposition of aerosols; (2) the in-cloud liquid water content and the cloud coverage which determine the wet aqueous phase production of sulfate. The burden, lifetime and global distribution, especially black carbon in polar regions, are strongly affected by choice of the parameters used for wet deposition.

The total annual mean aerosol optical depth (AOD) at 550 nm ranges from 0.087 to 0.122 for the IMPACT-AM3 model and from 0.138 to 0.186 for the IMPACT-CAM5 model (range is due to different parameters used for wet deposition). Even though IMPACT-CAM5 has smaller aerosol burdens, its AOD is larger due to the much higher relative humidity in CAM5 which leads to more hygroscopic growth. The corresponding global annual average anthropogenic and all-sky aerosol direct forcing at the top of the atmosphere ranges from −0.25 W m−2 to −0.30 W m−2 for IMPACT-AM3 and from −0.48 W m−2 to −0.64 W m−2 for IMPACT-CAM5. The global annual average anthropogenic 1st aerosol indirect effect at the top of the atmosphere ranges from −1.26 W m−2 to −1.44 W m−2 for IMPACT-AM3 and from −1.74 W m−2 to −1.77 W m−2 for IMPACT-CAM5.

Final-revised paper