Aerosols in a Changing Atmosphere: From Detailed Aerosol Microphysics to Policy Applications

December 6, 2011 - 4:00pm

  The anthropogenic increase in aerosol concentrations since preindustrial times and its net cooling effect on the atmosphere is thought to mask some of the greenhouse gas induced warming. Although the overall effect of aerosols on solar radiation and clouds is most certainly negative, some individual forcing agents and feedbacks have positive forcing effects. Recent studies have tried to identify some of those positive forcing agents and their individual emission sectors, However, understanding the net effect of multi-source emitting sectors and the involved cloud feedbacks is very challenging and this talk will clarify forcing and feedback effects by separating direct, indirect, semi-direct and surface albedo effects due to aerosols. To this end, we apply the GISS climate model including detailed aerosol microphysics to examine aerosol impacts on climate by isolating single emission sector contributions as given by the CMIP5 emission datasets developed for IPCC AR5, with the hope that mitigation policies could be developed to target emissions from specific sources/sectors.

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