Sulfate Aerosol in the Arctic: Source Attribution and Radiative Forcing

Yang, Y., H. Wang, S. Smith, R. Easter, and P. J. Rasch (2018), Sulfate Aerosol in the Arctic: Source Attribution and Radiative Forcing, J. Geophys. Res., 123, 1899-1918, doi:10.1002/2017JD027298.

Source attribution of Arctic sulfate and its radiative forcing due to aerosol-radiation interactions (RFari) for 2010–2014 are quantified in this study using the Community Earth System Model equipped with an explicit sulfur source-tagging technique. The model roughly reproduces the seasonal pattern of sulfate but has biases in simulating the magnitude of near-surface concentrations and vertical distribution. Regions that have high emissions and/or are near/within the Arctic present relatively large contributions to Arctic sulfate burden, with the largest contribution from sources in East Asia (27%). Seasonal variations of the contribution to Arctic sulfate burden from remote sources are strongly influenced by meteorology. The mean RFari of anthropogenic sulfate offsets one third of the positive top of the atmosphere (TOA) RFari from black carbon. A 20% global reduction in anthropogenic SO2 emissions leads to a net Arctic TOA forcing increase of +0.019 W m 2. These results indicate that a joint reduction in BC and SO2 emissions could prevent at least some of the Arctic warming from any future SO2 emission reductions. Sulfate RFari efficiency calculations suggest that source regions with short transport pathways and meteorology favoring longer lifetimes are more efficient in influencing the Arctic sulfate RFari. Based on Arctic climate sensitivity factors, about 0.19 K of the Arctic surface temperature cooling is attributed to anthropogenic sulfate, with 0.05 K of that from sources in East Asia, relative to preindustrial conditions.

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Atmospheric Composition Modeling and Analysis Program (ACMAP)