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Aerosols and their impacts on future Arctic climate change under different emission projections in the GISS-E2.1 Earth system model

New publication by Ulas Im, Kostas Tsigaridis, Gregory S. Faluvegi, Peter L. Langen, Joshua P. French, Rashed Mahmood, Thomas Manu, Knut von Salzen, Daniel C. Thomas, Cynthia H. Whaley, Zbigniew Klimont, Henrik Skov, and Jørgen Brandt


 In order to study the future aerosol burdens and their radiative and climate impacts over the Arctic (>60 °N), future (2015-2050) simulations have been carried out using the GISS-E2.1 Earth system model. Different future anthrpogenic emission projections have been used from the Eclipse V6b and the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6 (CMIP6) databases. Results showed that Arctic BC, OC and SO42- burdens decrease significantly in all simulations following the emission projections, with the CMIP6 ensemble showing larger reductions in Arctic aerosol burdens compared to the Eclipse ensemble. For the 2030-2050 period, both the Eclipse Current Legislation (CLE) and the Maximum Feasible Reduction (MFR) ensembles simulated an aerosol top of the atmosphere (TOA) forcing of -0.39±0.01 W m-2, of which -0.24±0.01 W m-2 were attributed to the anthropogenic aerosols. The CMIP6 SSP3-7.0 scenario simulated a TOA aerosol forcing of -0.35 W m-2 for the same period, while SSP1-2.6 and SSP2-4.5 scenarios simulated a slightly more negative TOA forcing (-0.40 W m-2), of which the anthropogenic aerosols accounted for -0.26 W m-2. The 2030-2050 mean surface air temperatures are projected to increase by 2.1 °C and 2.4 °C compared to the 1990-2010 mean temperature according to the Eclipse CLE and MFR ensembles, respectively, while the CMIP6 simulation calculated an increase of 1.9 °C (SSP1-2.6) to 2.2 °C (SSP3-7.0). Overall, results show that even the scenarios with largest emission reductions lead to similar impact on the future Arctic surface air temperatures compared to scenarios with smaller emission reductions, while scenarios with no or little mitigation leads to much larger sea-ice loss, implying that even though the magnitude of aerosol reductions lead to similar responses in surface air temperatures, high mitigation of aerosols are still necessary to limit sea-ice loss.