Radiative effects of interannually varying vs. interannually invariant aerosol emissions from fires

Grandey, B. S., H.-H. Lee and C. Wang, Radiative effects of interannually varying vs. interannually invariant aerosol emissions from fires, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, doi:10.5194/acp-16-14495-2016

News

A news release, written by Mark Dwortzan, can be read via MIT News and
the Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change news page.

Summary

Wildfires emit organic carbon aerosols, small particles suspended in the atmosphere. These aerosols may cool the climate system via interactions with sunlight and clouds. We have used a global climate model to investigate the cooling effects of these aerosols. We find that ignoring interannual variability of the emissions may lead to an overestimation of the cooling effect of the aerosols emitted by fires.

plot_regmeans_cfntoa_glb_screenshot

Global mean net radiative flux perturbation (RFP) associated with aerosols emitted by wildfires. F1997 to F2006 are ten simulations using fire aerosol emissions for individual years from 1997 to 2006. {Fyyyy} represents the mean of this ten-member ensemble. FMEAN, a simulation that uses fire aerosol emissions averaged across 1997-2006, overestimates the strength of the cooling effect by 23%. [Adapted from Fig. 3 of Grandey et al. (2016).]

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