Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Increased greenhouse gases and aerosols have similar effects on rainfall

Date:
September 1, 2013
Source:
University of Hawaii ‑ SOEST
Summary:
Although greenhouse gases and aerosols have very distinct properties, their effects on spatial patterns of rainfall change are surprisingly similar, according to new research.

Although greenhouse gases and aerosols have very distinct properties, their effects on spatial patterns of rainfall change are surprisingly similar, according to new research from the University of Hawaii at Manoa's International Pacific Research Center (IPRC) and Scripps Institution of Oceanography. The study is published in the September 1 online issue of Nature Geoscience.

Humanmade climate change comes mostly from the radiative forcing of greenhouse gases and air pollutants or aerosols. While greenhouse gases are well-mixed in the atmosphere and tend to be evenly distributed around the globe, aerosols vary greatly in local concentration and tend to be found near emission sources such as industrial centers in Asia and North America.

Aerosols affect climate in two ways: one is fast and perturbs the physics and behavior of clouds in minutes to days; the other effect takes years and is mediated by interactions with the ocean and atmosphere. The fast effects of aerosols on clouds have been studied intensely, but their long-term ocean-mediated effect has received little attention.

A team of scientists at the IPRC and Scripps has now provided important new insights based on results from experiments with three state-of-the-art climate models. Even though aerosols and greenhouse gases are concentrated in vastly different regions of Earth, all three models revealed similar regional effects on rainfall over the ocean.

"This came as a big surprise to us," reflected lead-author Shang-Ping Xie, a professor of climate science and first Roger Revelle Chair in Environmental Science at Scripps. "It took a while for the result to sink in. The result means that it is hard to tell apart the greenhouse and aerosol effects."

The scientists noted that both aerosol-induced and greenhouse-gas-induced changes in rainfall appear to be mediated by the spatial patterns of sea surface temperature.

"Although much of the aerosol research has focused on microphysical processes, over the ocean the climate response to aerosols appears to be insensitive to details of the micro-processes in clouds," Xie said. "The climate changes induced by greenhouse gases and by aerosols share a common set of ocean-atmospheric feedback structures, explaining the spatial resemblance between the two types of response."

"Innovative model experiments are now needed," says coauthor Baoqiang Xiang, postdoctoral fellow at the IPRC. We want to probe the ocean-atmosphere interaction mechanisms that mediate these rainfall patterns and to determine what forms the foundation. This will allow us to develop more reliable regional climate projections."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Hawaii ‑ SOEST. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Shang-Ping Xie, Bo Lu, Baoqiang Xiang. Similar spatial patterns of climate responses to aerosol and greenhouse gas changes. Nature Geoscience, 2013; DOI: 10.1038/ngeo1931

Cite This Page:

University of Hawaii ‑ SOEST. "Increased greenhouse gases and aerosols have similar effects on rainfall." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130901154032.htm>.
University of Hawaii ‑ SOEST. (2013, September 1). Increased greenhouse gases and aerosols have similar effects on rainfall. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130901154032.htm
University of Hawaii ‑ SOEST. "Increased greenhouse gases and aerosols have similar effects on rainfall." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130901154032.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts

New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts

AP (July 21, 2014) New Orleans is the first U.S. city to participate in a large-scale recycling effort for cigarette butts. The city is rolling out dozens of containers for smokers to use when they discard their butts. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

AP (July 21, 2014) A rise in shark sightings along the shores of Chatham, Massachusetts is driving a surge of eager vacationers to the beach town looking to catch a glimpse of a great white. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spectacular Lightning Storm Hits London

Spectacular Lightning Storm Hits London

AFP (July 19, 2014) A spectaCular lightning storm struck the UK overnight Friday. Images of lightning strikes over the Shard and Tower Bridge in central London. Duration: 00:23 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
A Centuries' Old British Tradition Is Far from a Swan Song

A Centuries' Old British Tradition Is Far from a Swan Song

AFP (July 19, 2014) As if it weren't enough that the Queen is the Sovereign of the UK and 15 other Commonwealth realms, she is also the owner of all Britain's unmarked swans. Duration: 02:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins