University of Cambridge > > Centre for Atmospheric Science seminars, Chemistry Dept. > Comparison of methods to estimate aerosol effective radiative forcings in climate models

Comparison of methods to estimate aerosol effective radiative forcings in climate models

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Vichawan (Print) Sakulsupich.

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Uncertainty in the effective radiative forcing (ERF) of climate primarily arises from the unknown contribution of aerosols, which impact radiative fluxes directly and through modifying cloud properties. Climate model simulations with fixed sea surface temperatures but perturbed atmospheric aerosol loadings allow for an estimate of how strongly the planet’s radiative energy budget has been perturbed by the increase in aerosols since pre-industrial times. The approximate partial radiative perturbation (APRP) technique further decomposes the contributions to the direct forcing due to aerosol scattering and absorption and to the indirect forcing due to aerosol-induced changes in cloud scattering, amount, and absorption, as well as the effects of aerosols on surface albedo. In this talk I will show that previously published APRP -derived estimates of aerosol effective radiative forcings in CMIP6 models are biased as a result of two large coding errors that – in most cases – fortuitously compensate. The most notable exception is the direct radiative forcing from absorbing aerosols, which is more than 40 % larger averaged across CMIP6 models in the present study. Correcting these biases eliminates the residuals and leads to better agreement with benchmark estimates derived from double calls to the radiation code. The APRP method – when properly implemented – remains a highly accurate and efficient technique for diagnosing aerosol ERF in cases where double radiation calls are not available, and in all cases it provides quantification of the individual contributors to the ERF that are highly useful but not otherwise available.

This talk is part of the Centre for Atmospheric Science seminars, Chemistry Dept. series.

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