Anthropogenic Aerosols and the Distribution of Past Large-Scale Precipitation Change

Wang, C.
Geophysical Research Letters, 42, 10,876–10,884, Reprint Nr. 2015-31

The climate response of precipitation to the effects of anthropogenic aerosols is a critical while not yet fully understood aspect in climate science. Results of selected models that participated the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 and the data from the Twentieth Century Reanalysis Project suggest that, throughout the tropics and also in the extratropical Northern Hemisphere, aerosols have largely dominated the distribution of precipitation changes in reference to the preindustrial era in the second half of the last century. Aerosol-induced cooling has offset some of the warming caused by the greenhouse gases from the tropics to the Arctic and thus formed the gradients of surface temperature anomaly that enable the revealed precipitation change patterns to occur. Improved representation of aerosol-cloud interaction has been demonstrated as the key factor for models to reproduce consistent distributions of past precipitation change with the reanalysis data.


© 2015 the author

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