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2010 .

(12 publications)

F. M. O'Connor, O. Boucher, N. Gedney, C. D. Jones, G. A. Folberth, R. Coppell, P. Friedlingstein, W. J. Collins, J. Chappellaz, J. Ridley, and C. E. Johnson. Possible role of wetlands, permafrost, and methane hydrates in the methane cycle under future climate change: A review. Reviews of Geophysics, 48:4005, December 2010. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]

We have reviewed the available scientific literature on how natural sources and the atmospheric fate of methane may be affected by future climate change. We discuss how processes governing methane wetland emissions, permafrost thawing, and destabilization of marine hydrates may affect the climate system. It is likely that methane wetland emissions will increase over the next century. Uncertainties arise from the temperature dependence of emissions and changes in the geographical distribution of wetland areas. Another major concern is the possible degradation or thaw of terrestrial permafrost due to climate change. The amount of carbon stored in permafrost, the rate at which it will thaw, and the ratio of methane to carbon dioxide emissions upon decomposition form the main uncertainties. Large amounts of methane are also stored in marine hydrates, and they could be responsible for large emissions in the future. The time scales for destabilization of marine hydrates are not well understood and are likely to be very long for hydrates found in deep sediments but much shorter for hydrates below shallow waters, such as in the Arctic Ocean. Uncertainties are dominated by the sizes and locations of the methane hydrate inventories, the time scales associated with heat penetration in the ocean and sediments, and the fate of methane released in the seawater. Overall, uncertainties are large, and it is difficult to be conclusive about the time scales and magnitudes of methane feedbacks, but significant increases in methane emissions are likely, and catastrophic emissions cannot be ruled out. We also identify gaps in our scientific knowledge and make recommendations for future research and development in the context of Earth system modeling.

W. J. Collins, S. Sitch, and O. Boucher. How vegetation impacts affect climate metrics for ozone precursors. Journal of Geophysical Research (Atmospheres), 115:23308, December 2010. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]

We examine the effect of ozone damage to vegetation as caused by anthropogenic emissions of ozone precursor species and quantify it in terms of its impact on terrestrial carbon stores. A simple climate model is then used to assess the expected changes in global surface temperature from the resulting perturbations to atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane, and ozone. The concept of global temperature change potential (GTP) metric, which relates the global average surface temperature change induced by the pulse emission of a species to that induced by a unit mass of carbon dioxide, is used to characterize the impact of changes in emissions of ozone precursors on surface temperature as a function of time. For NOx emissions, the longer-timescale methane perturbation is of the opposite sign to the perturbations in ozone and carbon dioxide, so NOx emissions are warming in the short term, but cooling in the long term. For volatile organic compound (VOC), CO, and methane emissions, all the terms are warming for an increase in emissions. The GTPs for the 20 year time horizon are strong functions of emission location, with a large component of the variability owing to the different vegetation responses on different continents. At this time horizon, the induced change in the carbon cycle is the largest single contributor to the GTP metric for NOx and VOC emissions. For NOx emissions, we estimate a GTP20 of -9 (cooling) to +24 (warming) depending on assumptions of the sensitivity of vegetation types to ozone damage.

J. M. Haywood, A. Jones, L. Clarisse, A. Bourassa, J. Barnes, P. Telford, N. Bellouin, O. Boucher, P. Agnew, C. Clerbaux, P. Coheur, D. Degenstein, and P. Braesicke. Observations of the eruption of the Sarychev volcano and simulations using the HadGEM2 climate model. Journal of Geophysical Research (Atmospheres), 115:21212, November 2010. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]

In June 2009 the Sarychev volcano located in the Kuril Islands to the northeast of Japan erupted explosively, injecting ash and an estimated 1.2 0.2 Tg of sulfur dioxide into the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere, making it arguably one of the 10 largest stratospheric injections in the last 50 years. During the period immediately after the eruption, we show that the sulfur dioxide (SO2) cloud was clearly detected by retrievals developed for the Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer (IASI) satellite instrument and that the resultant stratospheric sulfate aerosol was detected by the Optical Spectrograph and Infrared Imaging System (OSIRIS) limb sounder and CALIPSO lidar. Additional surface-based instrumentation allows assessment of the impact of the eruption on the stratospheric aerosol optical depth. We use a nudged version of the HadGEM2 climate model to investigate how well this state-of-the-science climate model can replicate the distributions of SO2 and sulfate aerosol. The model simulations and OSIRIS measurements suggest that in the Northern Hemisphere the stratospheric aerosol optical depth was enhanced by around a factor of 3 (0.01 at 550 nm), with resultant impacts upon the radiation budget. The simulations indicate that, in the Northern Hemisphere for July 2009, the magnitude of the mean radiative impact from the volcanic aerosols is more than 60% of the direct radiative forcing of all anthropogenic aerosols put together. While the cooling induced by the eruption will likely not be detectable in the observational record, the combination of modeling and measurements would provide an ideal framework for simulating future larger volcanic eruptions.

A. Rap, P. M. Forster, J. M. Haywood, A. Jones, and O. Boucher. Estimating the climate impact of linear contrails using the UK Met Office climate model. Geophysical Research Letters, 37:20703, October 2010. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]

The HadGEM2 global climate model is employed to investigate some of the linear contrail effects on climate. Our study parameterizes linear contrails as a thin layer of aerosol. We find that at 100 times the air traffic of year 2000, linear contrails would change the equilibrium global-mean temperature by +0.13 K, corresponding to a climate sensitivity of 0.3 K/(Wm-2) and a climate efficacy of 31% (significantly smaller than the only previously published estimate of 59%). Our model suggests that contrails cause a slight warming of the surface and, as noted by most global warming modelling studies, land areas are affected more than the oceans. Also, unlike the contrail coverage and radiative forcing, the contrail temperature change response is not geographically correlated with air traffic patterns. In terms of the contrail impact on precipitation, the main feature is the northern shift of the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone. Finally, our model strongly indicates that the contrail impact on both the diurnal temperature range and regional climate is significantly smaller than some earlier studies suggested.

O. Boucher and G. A. Folberth. New Directions: Atmospheric methane removal as a way to mitigate climate change? Atmospheric Research, 44:3343-3345, September 2010. [ bib | ADS link ]

M. T. Woodhouse, K. S. Carslaw, G. W. Mann, S. M. Vallina, M. Vogt, P. R. Halloran, and O. Boucher. Low sensitivity of cloud condensation nuclei to changes in the sea-air flux of dimethyl-sulphide. Atmospheric Chemistry & Physics, 10:7545-7559, August 2010. [ bib | ADS link ]

The emission of dimethyl-sulphide (DMS) gas by phytoplankton and the subsequent formation of aerosol has long been suggested as an important climate regulation mechanism. The key aerosol quantity is the number concentration of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN), but until recently global models did not include the necessary aerosol physics to quantify CCN. Here we use a global aerosol microphysics model to calculate the sensitivity of CCN to changes in DMS emission using multiple present-day and future sea-surface DMS climatologies. Calculated annual fluxes of DMS to the atmosphere for the five model-derived and one observations based present day climatologies are in the range 15.1 to 32.3 Tg a-1 sulphur. The impact of DMS climatology on surface level CCN concentrations was calculated in terms of summer and winter hemispheric mean values of ΔCCN/ΔFluxDMS, which varied between -43 and +166 cm-3/(mg m-2 day-1 sulphur), with a mean of 63 cm-3/(mg m-2 day-1 sulphur). The range is due to CCN production in the atmosphere being strongly dependent on the spatial distribution of the emitted DMS. The relative sensitivity of CCN to DMS (i.e. fractional change in CCN divided by fractional change in DMS flux) depends on the abundance of non-DMS derived aerosol in each hemisphere. The relative sensitivity averaged over the five present day DMS climatologies is estimated to be 0.02 in the northern hemisphere (i.e. a 0.02% change in CCN for a 1% change in DMS) and 0.07 in the southern hemisphere where aerosol abundance is lower. In a globally warmed scenario in which the DMS flux increases by ˜1% relative to present day we estimate a ˜0.1% increase in global mean CCN at the surface. The largest CCN response occurs in the Southern Ocean, contributing to a Southern Hemisphere mean annual increase of less than 0.2%. We show that the changes in DMS flux and CCN concentration between the present day and global warming scenario are similar to interannual differences due to variability in windspeed. In summary, although DMS makes a significant contribution to global marine CCN concentrations, the sensitivity of CCN to potential future changes in DMS flux is very low. This finding, together with the predicted small changes in future seawater DMS concentrations, suggests that the role of DMS in climate regulation is very weak.

T. Andrews, P. M. Forster, O. Boucher, N. Bellouin, and A. Jones. Precipitation, radiative forcing and global temperature change. Geophysical Research Letters, 37:14701, July 2010. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]

Radiative forcing is a useful tool for predicting equilibrium global temperature change. However, it is not so useful for predicting global precipitation changes, as changes in precipitation strongly depend on the climate change mechanism and how it perturbs the atmospheric and surface energy budgets. Here a suite of climate model experiments and radiative transfer calculations are used to quantify and assess this dependency across a range of climate change mechanisms. It is shown that the precipitation response can be split into two parts: a fast atmospheric response that strongly correlates with the atmospheric component of radiative forcing, and a slower response to global surface temperature change that is independent of the climate change mechanism, 2-3% per unit of global surface temperature change. We highlight the precipitation response to black carbon aerosol forcing as falling within this range despite having an equilibrium response that is of opposite sign to the radiative forcing and global temperature change.

A. Jones, J. Haywood, O. Boucher, B. Kravitz, and A. Robock. Geoengineering by stratospheric SO2 injection: results from the Met Office HadGEM2 climate model and comparison with the Goddard Institute for Space Studies ModelE. Atmospheric Chemistry & Physics, 10:5999-6006, July 2010. [ bib | ADS link ]

We examine the response of the Met Office Hadley Centre's HadGEM2-AO climate model to simulated geoengineering by continuous injection of SO2 into the lower stratosphere, and compare the results with those from the Goddard Institute for Space Studies ModelE. Despite the differences between the models, we find a broadly similar geographic distribution of the response to geoengineering in both models in terms of near-surface air temperature and mean June-August precipitation. The simulations also suggest that significant changes in regional climate would be experienced even if geoengineering was successful in maintaining global-mean temperature near current values, and both models indicate rapid warming if geoengineering is not sustained.

A. Rap, P. M. Forster, A. Jones, O. Boucher, J. M. Haywood, N. Bellouin, and R. R. de Leon. Parameterization of contrails in the UK Met Office Climate Model. Journal of Geophysical Research (Atmospheres), 115:10205, May 2010. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]

Persistent contrails are believed to currently have a relatively small but significant positive radiative forcing on climate. With air travel predicted to continue its rapid growth over the coming years, the contrail warming effect on climate is expected to increase. Nevertheless, there remains a high level of uncertainty in the current estimates of contrail radiative forcing. Contrail formation depends mostly on the aircraft flying in cold and moist enough air masses. Most studies to date have relied on simple parameterizations using averaged meteorological conditions. In this paper we take into account the short-term variability in background cloudiness by developing an on-line contrail parameterization for the UK Met Office climate model. With this parameterization, we estimate that for the air traffic of year 2002 the global mean annual linear contrail coverage was approximately 0.11%. Assuming a global mean contrail optical depth of 0.2 or smaller and assuming hexagonal ice crystals, the corresponding contrail radiative forcing was calculated to be less than 10 mW m-2 in all-sky conditions. We find that the natural cloud masking effect on contrails may be significantly higher than previously believed. This new result is explained by the fact that contrails seem to preferentially form in cloudy conditions, which ameliorates their overall climate impact by approximately 40%.

K. S. Carslaw, O. Boucher, D. V. Spracklen, G. W. Mann, J. G. L. Rae, S. Woodward, and M. Kulmala. A review of natural aerosol interactions and feedbacks within the Earth system. Atmospheric Chemistry & Physics, 10:1701-1737, February 2010. [ bib | ADS link ]

The natural environment is a major source of atmospheric aerosols, including dust, secondary organic material from terrestrial biogenic emissions, carbonaceous particles from wildfires, and sulphate from marine phytoplankton dimethyl sulphide emissions. These aerosols also have a significant effect on many components of the Earth system such as the atmospheric radiative balance and photosynthetically available radiation entering the biosphere, the supply of nutrients to the ocean, and the albedo of snow and ice. The physical and biological systems that produce these aerosols can be highly susceptible to modification due to climate change so there is the potential for important climate feedbacks. We review the impact of these natural systems on atmospheric aerosol based on observations and models, including the potential for long term changes in emissions and the feedbacks on climate. The number of drivers of change is very large and the various systems are strongly coupled. There have therefore been very few studies that integrate the various effects to estimate climate feedback factors. Nevertheless, available observations and model studies suggest that the regional radiative perturbations are potentially several Watts per square metre due to changes in these natural aerosol emissions in a future climate. Taking into account only the direct radiative effect of changes in the atmospheric burden of natural aerosols, and neglecting potentially large effects on other parts of the Earth system, a global mean radiative perturbation approaching 1 W m-2 is possible by the end of the century. The level of scientific understanding of the climate drivers, interactions and impacts is very low.

D. Koch, M. Schulz, S. Kinne, C. McNaughton, J. R. Spackman, Y. Balkanski, S. Bauer, T. Berntsen, T. C. Bond, O. Boucher, M. Chin, A. Clarke, N. de Luca, F. Dentener, T. Diehl, O. Dubovik, R. Easter, D. W. Fahey, J. Feichter, D. Fillmore, S. Freitag, S. Ghan, P. Ginoux, S. Gong, L. Horowitz, T. Iversen, A. Kirkevåg, Z. Klimont, Y. Kondo, M. Krol, X. Liu, R. Miller, V. Montanaro, N. Moteki, G. Myhre, J. E. Penner, J. Perlwitz, G. Pitari, S. Reddy, L. Sahu, H. Sakamoto, G. Schuster, J. P. Schwarz, Ø. Seland, P. Stier, N. Takegawa, T. Takemura, C. Textor, J. A. van Aardenne, and Y. Zhao. Corrigendum to ”Evaluation of black carbon estimations in global aerosol models” published in Atmos. Chem. Phys., 9, 9001-9026, 2009. Atmospheric Chemistry & Physics, 10:79-81, January 2010. [ bib | ADS link ]

No abstract available.

O. Boucher and G. A. Folberth. New Directions: Atmospheric methane removal as a way to mitigate climate change? Atmospheric Environment, 44:3343-3345, 2010. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]

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