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Juan C. Acosta Navarro, Pablo Ortega, Javier García-Serrano, Virginie Guemas, Etienne Tourigny, Rubén Cruz-García, François Massonnet, and Francisco J. Doblas-Reyes
Open access
Claire Scannell, Ben B. B. Booth, Nick J. Dunstone, David P. Rowell, Dan J. Bernie, Matthew Kasoar, Apostolos Voulgarakis, Laura J. Wilcox, Juan C. Acosta Navarro, Øyvind Seland, and David J. Paynter

Abstract

Past changes in global industrial aerosol emissions have played a significant role in historical shifts in African rainfall, and yet assessment of the impact on African rainfall of near-term (10–40 yr) potential aerosol emission pathways remains largely unexplored. While existing literature links future aerosol declines to a northward shift of Sahel rainfall, existing climate projections rely on RCP scenarios that do not explore the range of air quality drivers. Here we present projections from two emission scenarios that better envelop the range of potential aerosol emissions. More aggressive emission cuts result in northward shifts of the tropical rainbands whose signal can emerge from expected internal variability on short, 10–20-yr time horizons. We also show for the first time that this northward shift also impacts East Africa, with evidence of delays to both onset and withdrawal of the short rains. However, comparisons of rainfall impacts across models suggest that only certain aspects of both the West and East African model responses may be robust, given model uncertainties. This work motivates the need for wider exploration of air quality scenarios in the climate science community to assess the robustness of these projected changes and to provide evidence to underpin climate adaptation in Africa. In particular, revised estimates of emission impacts of legislated measures every 5–10 years would have a value in providing near-term climate adaptation information for African stakeholders.

Open access
Juan C. Acosta Navarro, Annica M. L. Ekman, Francesco S. R. Pausata, Anna Lewinschal, Vidya Varma, Øyvind Seland, Michael Gauss, Trond Iversen, Alf Kirkevåg, Ilona Riipinen, and Hans Christen Hansson

Abstract

Experiments with a climate model (NorESM1) were performed to isolate the effects of aerosol particles and greenhouse gases on surface temperature and precipitation in simulations of future climate. The simulations show that by 2025–49 a reduction of aerosol emissions from fossil fuels following a maximum technically feasible reduction (MFR) scenario could lead to a global and Arctic warming of 0.26 and 0.84 K, respectively, as compared with a simulation with fixed aerosol emissions at the level of 2005. If fossil fuel emissions of aerosols follow a current legislation emissions (CLE) scenario, the NorESM1 model simulations yield a nonsignificant change in global and Arctic average surface temperature as compared with aerosol emissions fixed at year 2005. The corresponding greenhouse gas effect following the representative concentration pathway 4.5 (RCP4.5) emission scenario leads to a global and Arctic warming of 0.35 and 0.94 K, respectively. The model yields a marked annual average northward shift in the intertropical convergence zone with decreasing aerosol emissions and subsequent warming of the Northern Hemisphere. The shift is most pronounced in the MFR scenario but also visible in the CLE scenario. The modeled temperature response to a change in greenhouse gas concentrations is relatively symmetric between the hemispheres, and there is no marked shift in the annual average position of the intertropical convergence zone. The strong reduction in aerosol emissions in the MFR scenario also leads to a net southward cross-hemispheric energy transport anomaly both in the atmosphere and ocean, and enhanced monsoon circulation in Southeast Asia and East Asia causing an increase in precipitation over a large part of this region.

Open access