The global impact of the transport sectors on atmospheric aerosol in 2030 – Part 2: Aviation
Abstract. We use the EMAC (ECHAM/MESSy Atmospheric Chemistry) global climate–chemistry model coupled to the aerosol module MADE (Modal Aerosol Dynamics model for Europe, adapted for global applications) to simulate the impact of aviation emissions on global atmospheric aerosol and climate in 2030. Emissions of short-lived gas and aerosol species follow the four Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) designed in support of the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. We compare our findings with the results of a previous study with the same model configuration focusing on year 2000 emissions. We also characterize the aviation results in the context of the other transport sectors presented in a companion paper. In spite of a relevant increase in aviation traffic volume and resulting emissions of aerosol (black carbon) and aerosol precursor species (nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide), the aviation effect on particle mass concentration in 2030 remains quite negligible (on the order of a few ng m−3), about 1 order of magnitude less than the increase in concentration due to other emission sources. Due to the relatively small size of the aviation-induced aerosol, however, the increase in particle number concentration is significant in all scenarios (about 1000 cm−3), mostly affecting the northern mid-latitudes at typical flight altitudes (7–12 km). This largely contributes to the overall change in particle number concentration between 2000 and 2030, which also results in significant climate effects due to aerosol–cloud interactions. Aviation is the only transport sector for which a larger impact on the Earth's radiation budget is simulated in the future: the aviation-induced radiative forcing in 2030 is more than doubled with respect to the year 2000 value of −15 mW m−2 in all scenarios, with a maximum value of −63 mW m−2 simulated for RCP2.6.