Uncertainty in aerosol radiative forcing impacts the simulated global monsoon in the 20th century
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Abstract. Anthropogenic aerosols are dominant drivers of historical monsoon rainfall change. However, large uncertainties in the radiative forcing associated with anthropogenic aerosol emissions, as well as the dynamical response to this forcing, lead to uncertainty in the simulated monsoon response. We use historical simulations from the "SMURPHS" project, run using HadGEM3-GC3.1, in which the time-varying aerosol emissions are scaled by factors from 0.2 to 1.5 to explore the monsoon
... e monsoon sensitivity to historical aerosol forcing uncertainty (present-day versus preindustrial aerosol forcing in the range −0.38 to −1.50 W m−2). The hemispheric asymmetry in emissions generates a strong relationship between scaling factor and both hemispheric temperature contrast and meridional location of tropical rainfall. Averaged over the period 1950–2014, increasing the scaling factor from 0.2 to 1.5 reduces the hemispheric temperature contrast by 0.9 ∘C, reduces the tropical summertime land–sea temperature contrast by 0.3 ∘C and shifts tropical rainfall southwards by 0.28∘ of latitude. The result is a reduction in global monsoon area by 3 % and a reduction in global monsoon intensity by 2 %. Despite the complexity of the monsoon system, the monsoon properties presented above vary monotonically and roughly linearly across scalings. A switch in the dominant influence on the 1950–1980 monsoon rainfall trend between greenhouse gases and aerosol is identified as the scalings increase. Regionally, aerosol scaling has a pronounced effect on Northern Hemisphere monsoon rainfall, with the strongest influence on monsoon area and intensity located in the Asian sector, where local emissions are greatest.