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Volume 16, issue 5
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 16, 2765–2783, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-16-2765-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 16, 2765–2783, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-16-2765-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 04 Mar 2016

Research article | 04 Mar 2016

On the characteristics of aerosol indirect effect based on dynamic regimes in global climate models

Shipeng Zhang1,2,3, Minghuai Wang1,2,3, Steven J. Ghan3, Aijun Ding1,2, Hailong Wang3, Kai Zhang3, David Neubauer4, Ulrike Lohmann4, Sylvaine Ferrachat4, Toshihiko Takeamura5, Andrew Gettelman6, Hugh Morrison6, Yunha Lee7, Drew T. Shindell7, Daniel G. Partridge8,9,10, Philip Stier8, Zak Kipling8, and Congbin Fu1,2 Shipeng Zhang et al.
  • 1Institute for Climate and Global Change Research and School of Atmospheric Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing, China
  • 2Collaborative Innovation Center of Climate Change, Jiangsu Province, China
  • 3Atmospheric Science and Global Change Division, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Washington, USA
  • 4ETH Zurich, Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, Zurich, Switzerland
  • 5Research Institute for Applied Mechanic, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan
  • 6National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado, USA
  • 7Earth and Ocean Sciences, Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, USA
  • 8Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics, Department of Physics, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
  • 9Department of Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 10Bert Bolin Centre for Climate Research, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract. Aerosol–cloud interactions continue to constitute a major source of uncertainty for the estimate of climate radiative forcing. The variation of aerosol indirect effects (AIE) in climate models is investigated across different dynamical regimes, determined by monthly mean 500 hPa vertical pressure velocity (ω500), lower-tropospheric stability (LTS) and large-scale surface precipitation rate derived from several global climate models (GCMs), with a focus on liquid water path (LWP) response to cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) concentrations. The LWP sensitivity to aerosol perturbation within dynamic regimes is found to exhibit a large spread among these GCMs. It is in regimes of strong large-scale ascent (ω500  <  −25 hPa day−1) and low clouds (stratocumulus and trade wind cumulus) where the models differ most. Shortwave aerosol indirect forcing is also found to differ significantly among different regimes. Shortwave aerosol indirect forcing in ascending regimes is close to that in subsidence regimes, which indicates that regimes with strong large-scale ascent are as important as stratocumulus regimes in studying AIE. It is further shown that shortwave aerosol indirect forcing over regions with high monthly large-scale surface precipitation rate (> 0.1 mm day−1) contributes the most to the total aerosol indirect forcing (from 64 to nearly 100 %). Results show that the uncertainty in AIE is even larger within specific dynamical regimes compared to the uncertainty in its global mean values, pointing to the need to reduce the uncertainty in AIE in different dynamical regimes.

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The variation of aerosol indirect effects (AIE) in several climate models is investigated across different dynamical regimes. Regimes with strong large-scale ascent are shown to be as important as stratocumulus regimes in studying AIE. AIE over regions with high monthly large-scale surface precipitation rate contributes the most to the total aerosol indirect forcing. These results point to the need to reduce the uncertainty in AIE in different dynamical regimes.
The variation of aerosol indirect effects (AIE) in several climate models is investigated across...
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