Transient Climate Impacts for Scenarios of Aerosol Emissions from Asia: A Story of Coal versus Gas

Friday, 19 December 2014: 9:45 AM
Benjamin S Grandey1, Haiwen Cheng1 and Chien Wang2, (1)Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART), Singapore, Singapore, (2)MIT, Cambridge, MA, United States
Projections of anthropogenic aerosol emissions are uncertain. In Asia, it is possible that emissions may increase if business continues as usual, with economic growth driving an increase in coal burning. But it is also possible that emissions may decrease rapidly due to the widespread adoption of cleaner technology or a shift towards non-coal fuels, such as natural gas. In this study, the transient climate impacts of three aerosol emissions scenarios are investigated: an RCP4.5 (Representative Concentration Pathway 4.5) control; a scenario with reduced Asian anthropogenic aerosol emissions; and a scenario with enhanced Asian anthropogenic aerosol emissions. A coupled atmosphere-ocean configuration of CESM (Community Earth System Model), including CAM5 (Community Atmosphere Model version 5), is used. Enhanced Asian aerosol emissions are found to delay global mean warming by one decade at the end of the century. Aerosol-induced suppression of the East Asian and South Asian summer monsoon precipitation occurs. The enhanced Asian aerosol emissions also remotely impact precipitation in other parts of the world: over the Sahel, West African monsoon precipitation is suppressed; and over Australia, austral summer monsoon precipitation is enhanced. These remote impacts on precipitation are associated with a southward shift of the ITCZ. The aerosol-induced sea surface temperature (SST) response appears to play an important role in the precipitation changes over South Asia and Australia, but not over East Asia. These results indicate that energy production in Asia, through the consequent aerosol emissions and associated radiative effects, might significantly influence future climate both locally and globally.