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Climate Dynamics

, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 235–246 | Cite as

The atmospheric sulfur cycle in ECHAM-4 and its impact on the shortwave radiation

  • J. Feichter
  • U. Lohmann
  • I. Schult

Abstract.

 The atmospheric general circulation model ECHAM-4 is coupled to a chemistry model to calculate sulfate mass distribution and the radiative forcing due to sulfate aerosol particles. The model simulates the main components of the hydrological cycle and, hence, it allows an explicit treatment of cloud transformation processes and precipitation scavenging. Two experiments are performed, one with pre-industrial and one with present-day sulfur emissions. In the pre-industrial emission scenario SO2 is oxidized faster to sulfate and the in-cloud oxidation via the reaction with ozone is more important than in the present-day scenario. The atmospheric sulfate mass due to anthropogenic emissions is estimated as 0.38 Tg sulfur. The radiative forcing due to anthropogenic sulfate aerosols is calculated diagnostically. The backscattering of shortwave radiation (direct effect) as well as the impact of sulfate aerosols on the cloud albedo (indirect effect) is estimated. The model predicts a direct forcing of −0.35 W m-2 and an indirect forcing of −0.76 W m-2. Over the continents of the Northern Hemisphere the direct forcing amounts to −0.64 W m-2. The geographical distribution of the direct and indirect effect is very different. Whereas the direct forcing is strongest over highly polluted continental regions, the indirect forcing over sea exceeds that over land. It is shown that forcing estimates based on monthly averages rather than on instantaneous sulfate pattern overestimate the indirect effect but have little effect on the direct forcing.

Keywords

Shortwave Radiation Atmospheric General Circulation Model Sulfate Aerosol Sulfur Cycle Cloud Albedo 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Feichter
    • 1
  • U. Lohmann
    • 1
  • I. Schult
    • 1
  1. 1.Max-Planck-Institute for Meteorology, D-20146 Hamburg, GermanyDE

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