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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  13 Mar 2020

13 Mar 2020

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A revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Effective Radiative forcing from emissions of reactive gases and aerosols – a multimodel comparison

Gillian D. Thornhill1, William J. Collins1, Ryan J. Kramer2, Dirk Olivié3, Fiona O'Connor4, Nathan L. Abraham5, Susanne E. Bauer6, Makoto Deushi7, Louisa Emmons8, Piers Forster9, Larry Horowitz10, Ben Johnson4, James Keeble5, Jean-Francois Lamarque8, Martine Michou11, Mike Mills8, Jane Mulcahy4, Gunnar Myhre12, Pierre Nabat11, Vaishali Naik10, Naga Oshima7, Michael Schulz3, Chris Smith9, Toshihiko Takemura13, Simone Tilmes8, Tongwen Wu14, Guang Zeng15, and Jie Zhang14 Gillian D. Thornhill et al.
  • 1Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, Reading, RG6 6BB, UK
  • 2Climate and Radiation Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA, and Universities Space Research Association, 7178 Columbia Gateway Drive, Columbia, MD 21046, USA
  • 3Norwegian Meteorological Institute, Oslo, Norway
  • 4Met Office, Exeter, UK
  • 5Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge, Lensfield Road, Cambridge, CB2 1EW, UK, National Centre for Atmospheric Science, UK
  • 6NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, USA
  • 7Department of Atmosphere, Ocean and Earth System Modeling Research, Meteorological Research Institute, Japan
  • 8National Centre for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO, USA
  • 9University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
  • 10GFDL/NOAA, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08540-6649
  • 11Centre National de Recherches Météorologiques, Meteo-France, Toulouse Cedex, France
  • 12CICERO – Centre for International Climate and Environmental Research Oslo, Oslo, Norway
  • 13Research Institute for Applied Mechanics, Kyushu University, Japan
  • 14Climate System Modeling Division, Beijing Climate Center, Beijing, China
  • 15NIWA, Wellington, New Zealand

Abstract. This paper quantifies the effective radiative forcing from CMIP6 models of the present-day anthropogenic emissions of NOx, CO, VOCs, SO2, NH3, black carbon and primary organic carbon. Effective radiative forcing from pre-industrial to present-day changes in the concentrations of methane, N2O and halocarbons are quantified and attributed to their anthropogenic emissions.

Emissions of reactive species can cause multiple changes in the composition of radiatively active species: tropospheric ozone, stratospheric ozone, secondary inorganic and organic aerosol and methane. We therefore break down the ERFs from each emitted species into the contributions from the composition changes.

The 1850 to 2014 mean ERFs are 1.1 ± 0.07 W m−2 for sulfate, −0.24 ± 0.01 W m−2 for organic carbon (OC), and 0.15 ± 0.04 W m−2 for black carbon (BC), and for the aerosols combined it is −0.95 ± 0.03 W m−2. The means for the reactive gases are 0.69 ± 0.04 W m−2 for methane (CH4), 0.06 ± 0.04 W m−2 for NOx, −0.09 ± 0.03 W m−2 for volatile organic carbons (VOC), 0.16 ± 0.03 W m−2 for ozone (O3), 0.27 W m−2 for nitrous oxide (N2O) and −0.02 ± 0.06 W m−2 for hydrocarbon (HC). Differences in ERFs calculated for the different models reflect differences in the complexity of their aerosol and chemistry schemes, especially in the case of methane where tropospheric chemistry captures increased forcing from ozone production.

Gillian D. Thornhill et al.

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Gillian D. Thornhill et al.

Gillian D. Thornhill et al.


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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
This paper is a study of how different constituents in the atmosphere, such as aerosols and gases like methane and ozone affect the energy balance in the atmosphere. Different climate models were run using the same inputs to allow an easy comparison of the results, and to understand where the models differ. We found the effect of aerosols is to reduce warming in the atmosphere, but this effect varies between models. Reactions between gases are also important in affecting climate.
This paper is a study of how different constituents in the atmosphere, such as aerosols and...