Significant climate benefits from near-term climate forcer mitigation in spite of aerosol reductions

Allen, R.J., Horowitz, L., Naik, V., Oshima, N., O'Connor, F.M., Turnock, S., Shim, S., Le Sager, P., et al. (2021). Significant climate benefits from near-term climate forcer mitigation in spite of aerosol reductions. Environmental Research Letters 16 e034010. 10.1088/1748-9326/abe06b.

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Project: Coordinated Research in Earth Systems and Climate: Experiments (CRESCENDO, H2020 641816)


Near-term climate forcers (NTCFs), including aerosols and chemically reactive gases such as tropospheric ozone and methane, offer a potential way to mitigate climate change and improve air quality—so called 'win-win' mitigation policies. Prior studies support improved air quality under NTCF mitigation, but with conflicting climate impacts that range from a significant reduction in the rate of global warming to only a modest impact. Here, we use state-of-the-art chemistry-climate model simulations conducted as part of the Aerosol and Chemistry Model Intercomparison Project (AerChemMIP) to quantify the 21st-century impact of NTCF reductions, using a realistic future emission scenario with a consistent air quality policy. Non-methane NTCF (NMNTCF; aerosols and ozone precursors) mitigation improves air quality, but leads to significant increases in global mean precipitation of 1.3% by mid-century and 1.4% by end-of-the-century, and corresponding surface warming of 0.23 and 0.21 K. NTCF (all-NTCF; including methane) mitigation further improves air quality, with larger reductions of up to 45% for ozone pollution, while offsetting half of the wetting by mid-century (0.7% increase) and all the wetting by end-of-the-century (non-significant 0.1% increase) and leading to surface cooling of −0.15 K by mid-century and −0.50 K by end-of-the-century. This suggests that methane mitigation offsets warming induced from reductions in NMNTCFs, while also leading to net improvements in air quality.

Item Type: Article
Research Programs: Energy, Climate, and Environment (ECE)
Energy, Climate, and Environment (ECE) > Sustainable Service Systems (S3)
Energy, Climate, and Environment (ECE) > Transformative Institutional and Social Solutions (TISS)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 29 Mar 2022 13:54
Last Modified: 29 Mar 2022 13:54

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