Short-lived climate forcers have long-term climate impacts via the carbon–climate feedback

Fu B, Gasser T ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4882-2647, Li B, Tao S, Ciais P, Piao S, Balkanski Y, Li W, et al. (2020). Short-lived climate forcers have long-term climate impacts via the carbon–climate feedback. Nature Climate Change DOI:10.1038/s41558-020-0841-x.

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Abstract

Short-lived climate forcers (SLCFs) like methane, ozone and aerosols have a shorter atmospheric lifetime than CO2 and are often assumed to have a short-term effect on the climate system: should their emissions cease, so would their radiative forcing (RF). However, via their climate impact, SLCFs can affect carbon sinks and atmospheric CO2, causing additional climate change. Here, we use a compact Earth system model to attribute CO2 RF to direct CO2 emissions and to climate–carbon feedbacks since the pre-industrial era. We estimate the climate–carbon feedback contributed 93 ± 50 mW m−2 (~5%) to total RF of CO2 in 2010. Of this, SLCF impacts were −13 ± 50 mW m−2, made up of cooling (−115 ± 43 mW m−2) and warming (102 ± 26 mW m−2) terms that largely cancel. This study illustrates the long-term impact that short-lived species have on climate and indicates that past (and future) change in atmospheric CO2 cannot be attributed only to CO2 emissions.

Item Type: Article
Research Programs: Ecosystems Services and Management (ESM)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 17 Aug 2020 15:23
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2020 15:23
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/16636

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