Relative Importance of Greenhouse Gases, Sulfate, Organic Carbon, and Black Carbon Aerosol for South Asian Monsoon Rainfall Changes

Westervelt, Daniel M.; You, Yujia; Li, Xiaoqiong; Ting, Mingfang; Lee, Dong Eun; Ming, Yi

The contribution of individual aerosol species and greenhouse gases to precipitation changes during the South Asian summer monsoon is uncertain. Mechanisms driving responses to anthropogenic forcings need further characterization. We use an atmosphere-only climate model to simulate the fast response of the summer monsoon to different anthropogenic aerosol types and to anthropogenic greenhouse gases. Without normalization, sulfate is the largest driver of precipitation change between 1850 and 2000, followed by black carbon and greenhouse gases. Normalized by radiative forcing, the most effective driver is black carbon. The precipitation and moisture budget responses to combinations of aerosol species perturbed together scale as a linear superposition of their individual responses. We use both a circulation-based and moisture budget-based argument to identify mechanisms of aerosol and greenhouse gas induced changes to precipitation and find that in all cases the dynamic contribution is the dominant driver to precipitation change in the monsoon region.


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Also Published In

Geophysical Research Letters

More About This Work

Academic Units
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Ocean and Climate Physics
Published Here
June 2, 2021