Articles | Volume 16, issue 11
Research article
03 Jun 2016
Research article |  | 03 Jun 2016

The aerosol radiative effects of uncontrolled combustion of domestic waste

John K. Kodros, Rachel Cucinotta, David A. Ridley, Christine Wiedinmyer, and Jeffrey R. Pierce

Abstract. Open, uncontrolled combustion of domestic waste is a potentially significant source of aerosol; however, this aerosol source is not generally included in many global emissions inventories. To provide a first estimate of the aerosol radiative impacts from domestic-waste combustion, we incorporate the Wiedinmyer et al. (2014) emissions inventory into GEOS-Chem-TOMAS, a global chemical-transport model with online aerosol microphysics. We find domestic-waste combustion increases global-mean black carbon and organic aerosol concentrations by 8 and 6 %, respectively, and by greater than 40 % in some regions. Due to uncertainties regarding aerosol optical properties, we estimate the globally averaged aerosol direct radiative effect to range from −5 to −20 mW m−2; however, this range increases from −40 to +4 mW m−2 when we consider uncertainties in emission mass and size distribution. In some regions with significant waste combustion, such as India and China, the aerosol direct radiative effect may exceed −0.4 W m−2. Similarly, we estimate a cloud-albedo aerosol indirect effect of −13 mW m−2, with a range of −4 to −49 mW m−2 due to emission uncertainties. In the regions with significant waste combustion, the cloud-albedo aerosol indirect effect may exceed −0.4 W m−2.

Short summary
We provide a first estimate of the aerosol radiative effects from open, uncontrolled combustion of domestic waste. We find the direct and cloud-albedo indirect radiative effects are predominantly negative (cooling tendency) with regional forcings exceeding −0.4 W m−2; however, the magnitude of these effects depends on the assumed emitted aerosol size, mass, and optical properties.
Final-revised paper