Air pollution control and decreasing new particle formation lead to strong climate warming

Makkonen R, Asmi A, Kerminen V, Boy M, Arneth A, Hari P, Kulmala M ...see all

Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, vol. 12, issue 3 (2012) pp. 1515-1524

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The number concentration of cloud droplets determines several climatically relevant cloud properties. A major cause for the high uncertainty in the indirect aerosol forcing is the availability of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN), which in turn is highly sensitive to atmospheric new particle formation. Here we present the effect of new particle formation on anthropogenic aerosol forcing in present-day (year 2000) and future (year 2100) conditions. The present-day total aerosol forcing is increased from 1.0 W m2 to 1.6 W m2 when nucleation is introduced into the model. Nucleation doubles the change in aerosol forcing between years 2000 and 2100, from +0.6 W m2 to +1.4 W m2. Two climate feedbacks are studied, resulting in additional negative forcings of 0.1 W m2 (+10% DMS emissions in year 2100) and 0.5 W m2 (+50% BVOC emissions in year 2100). With the total aerosol forcing diminishing in response to air pollution control measures taking effect, warming from increased greenhouse gas concentrations can potentially increase at a very rapid rate.

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  • R. Makkonen

  • A. Asmi

  • V. M. Kerminen

  • M. Boy

  • A. Arneth

  • P. Hari

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