The precipitation sensitivity per 1 K of global warming in twenty-first-century climate projections is smaller in an emission scenario with larger greenhouse gas concentrations and aerosol emissions, according to the Model for Interdisciplinary Research on Climate 3.2 (MIROC3.2) coupled atmosphere-ocean general circulation model. The authors examined the reasons for the precipitation sensitivity to emission scenarios by performing separated individual forcing runs under high and low emission scenarios. It was found that the dependency on emission scenario is mainly caused by differences in black and organic carbon aerosol forcing (the sum of which is cooling forcing) between the emission scenarios and that the precipitation is more sensitive to carbon aerosols than well-mixed greenhouse gases. They also investigated the reason for the larger precipitation sensitivity (larger magnitude of precipitation decrease per 1 K cooling of temperature) in the carbon aerosol runs. Surface dimming due to the direct and indirect effects of carbon aerosols effectively decreases evaporation and precipitation, which enhances the precipitation sensitivity in the carbon aerosol runs. In terms of the atmospheric moisture cycle, although changes of vertical circulation offset the effects of changes in the atmospheric moisture in both the carbon aerosol and greenhouse gas runs, the amplitude of vertical circulation change per 1 K temperature change is less in the carbon aerosol runs. Furthermore, the second indirect effect of organic carbon aerosol counteracts the influence of the vertical circulation change. These factors lead to suppression of changes in the moisture's atmospheric residence time and increase of the precipitation sensitivity in the carbon aerosol runs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atmospheric Science