Multi-model impacts of climate change on pollution transport from global emission source regions
Abstract. The impacts of climate change on tropospheric transport, diagnosed from a carbon monoxide (CO)-like tracer species emitted from global CO sources, are evaluated from an ensemble of four chemistry–climate models (CCMs) contributing to the Atmospheric Chemistry and Climate Model Intercomparison Project (ACCMIP). Model time-slice simulations for present-day and end-of-the-21st-century conditions were performed under the Representative Concentrations Pathway (RCP) climate scenario RCP 8.5. All simulations reveal a strong seasonality in transport, especially over the tropics. The highest CO-tracer mixing ratios aloft occur during boreal winter when strong vertical transport is co-located with biomass burning emission source regions. A consistent and robust decrease in future CO-tracer mixing ratios throughout most of the troposphere, especially in the tropics, and an increase around the tropopause is found across the four CCMs in both winter and summer. Decreases in CO-tracer mixing ratios in the tropical troposphere are associated with reduced convective mass fluxes in this region, which in turn may reflect a weaker Hadley cell circulation in the future climate. Increases in CO-tracer mixing ratios near the tropopause are largely attributable to a rise in tropopause height enabling lofting to higher altitudes, although a poleward shift in the mid-latitude jets may also play a minor role in the extratropical upper troposphere. An increase in CO-tracer mixing ratios also occurs near the Equator, centred over equatorial and Central Africa, extending from the surface to the mid-troposphere. This is most likely related to localised decreases in convection in the vicinity of the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), resulting in larger CO-tracer mixing ratios over biomass burning regions and smaller mixing ratios downwind.