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  08 Dec 2020

08 Dec 2020

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Future evolution of aerosols and implications for climate change in the Euro-Mediterranean region

Thomas Drugé, Pierre Nabat, Marc Mallet, and Samuel Somot Thomas Drugé et al.
  • CNRM, Université de Toulouse, Météo-France, CNRS, Toulouse, France

Abstract. This study investigates, through regional climate modelling, the surface mass concentration and AOD (Aerosol Optical Depth) evolution of the various (anthropogenic and natural) aerosols over the Euro-Mediterranean region between the end of the 20th century and the mid-21st century. The direct aerosol radiative forcing (DRF) as well as the future Euro-Mediterranean climate sensitivity to aerosols have been also analysed. Different regional climate simulations were carried out with the CNRM-ALADIN63 regional climate model, driven by the global CNRM-ESM2-1 Earth System Model (used in CMIP6) and coupled to the TACTIC (Tropospheric Aerosols for ClimaTe In CNRM) interactive aerosol scheme. These simulations follow several future scenarios called Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSP 1-1.9, SSP 3-7.0 and SSP 5-8.5), which have been chosen to analyse a wide range of possible future scenarios in terms of aerosol or particles precursors emissions. Between the historical and the future period, results show a total AOD decrease between 30 and 40 % over Europe for the three scenarios mainly due to the sulfate AOD decrease (between −85 and −93 %), that is partly offset by the nitrate and ammonium particles AOD increase (between +90 and +120 %). According to these three scenarios, nitrate aerosols become the largest contributor to the total AOD during the future period over Europe, with a contribution between 43.5 and 47.5 %. Concerning natural aerosols, their contribution to the total AOD increases slightly between the two periods. The different evolution of aerosols therefore impacts their DRF, with a significant sulfate DRF decrease by 2.6 W m−2 and a moderate nitrate and ammonium DRF increase by 1.4 W m−2, on average according to the three scenarios over Europe. These changes, which are similar under the different scenarios, explain about 65 % of the annual shortwave radiation change but also about 6 % (in annual average) of the warming expected over Europe by the middle of the century. This study shows, with the SSP 5-8.5, that the extra-warming attributable to the anthropogenic aerosols evolution over Central Europe and the Iberian Peninsula during the summer period is due to aerosol-radiation as well as aerosol-cloud interactions processes. The extra-warming of about 0.2 °C over Central Europe is explained by a surface radiation increase of 5.8 W m−2 over this region, due to both a surface aerosol DRF decrease of 4.4 W m−2 and cloud optical depth (COD) decrease of 1.3. In parallel, the simulated extra-warming of 0.2 °C observed over the Iberian Peninsula is due, as for it, to a COD decrease of 1.3 but also to an atmospheric dynamics change leading to a cloud cover decrease of about 2 % and a drier air in the lower layers, signature of the semi-direct forcing. This study thus highlights the necessity of taking into account the evolution of aerosols in future regional climate simulations.

Thomas Drugé et al.

Status: open (until 02 Feb 2021)
Status: open (until 02 Feb 2021)
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Thomas Drugé et al.

Thomas Drugé et al.


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