DECADAL CHANGES IN ARCTIC RADIATIVE FORCING FROM AEROSOLS AND TROPOSPHERIC OZONE
Thursday, 18 December 2014
Annual average Arctic sea ice coverage has declined by 3.6% per decade since the 1980s, but factors driving this trend are uncertain. Long-term surface observations and ice core records suggest recent, large declines in the Arctic atmospheric burden of sulfate aerosol, which may account in part for the warming trend. The decline in black carbon (BC) aerosol in the Arctic during the same period may partly offset the warming due to decreases in sulfate. Here we use the GEOS-Chem chemical transport model together with a detailed inventory of historical anthropogenic trace gas and primary aerosol emissions to quantify changes in Arctic radiative forcing from tropospheric ozone and aerosol between 1980 and 2010. Previous studies have reported an increasing trend in observed ozone at 500 hPa over Canada, but our simulation shows no significant trend. Over Europe, good agreement is found with observed long-term trends in sulfate in surface air (observed = -0.14±0.02 μg m-3 yr-1, model = -0.13±0.01 μg m-3 yr-1), while the observed trend in sulfate in precipitation (-0.20±0.03 μg m-3 yr-1) is underestimated by 40%. At Alert, the timing of the observed decline in sulfate after 1991 is well captured in the simulation, but the observed trend between 1991 and 2001 (-36.3±4.1 ng m-3 yr-1) is underestimated by 26%. BC observations at remote Arctic surface stations are biased low throughout 1980-2010 by a factor of 2. At Greenland ice cores, observed 1980-2010 trends in sulfate deposition are underestimated by 35%. The smaller model bias in observed sulfate and BC deposition at ice cores in southern Greenland (5% and 65%) compared to northern Greenland (56% and 90%) indicates greater uncertainty in pollution emissions from Eurasian sources. We estimate a surface radiative forcing from atmospheric aerosols in the Arctic during 2008 of -0.51 W m-2. The forcing is largest in spring (-1.36 W m-2) and dominated by sulfate aerosol (87%). We will quantify the contributions to the observed trends in Arctic aerosol, tropospheric ozone, and net forcing in the Arctic between 1980 and 2010 from emissions changes in Western Europe, Russia, China, North America and the former Soviet Union and Eastern block countries.