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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Climatic effects of different aerosol types in China simulated


The climatic effects of various types of aerosol in China have been investigated by using the atmospheric general circulation model (AGCM) developed at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). The model includes an efficient and physically based radiation parameterization scheme specifically developed for application to clouds and aerosols. Simulation results show that inclusion of a background aerosol optical depth of 0.2 reduces the global mean net surface solar flux by about 5 W m2 and produces a decrease in precipitation in the tropics as a result of decreased temperature contrast between this area and the middle to high latitudes, which suppresses tropical convection. These decreases have partially corrected the overestimates in the surface solar flux and precipitation in the UCLA AGCM simulations without the aerosol effect. The experiment with increased aerosol optical depths in China shows a noticeable increase in precipitation in the southern part of China in July due to the cooling in the midlatitudes that leads to the strengthening of the Hadley circulation. Aerosol types play an important role in the determination of the global mean radiation budget and regional climate. While sulfates mainly reflect solar radiation and induce negative forcing at the surface, black carbon and large dust particles absorb substantial solar radiation and have a positive solar forcing at the top of the atmosphere, but reduce the solar radiation reaching the surface. Large dust particles also have a significant effect on thermal IR radiation under clear conditions, but this effect is largely masked by clouds generated from the model in AGCM simulations. Black carbon and large dust particles in China would heat the air column in the middle to high latitudes and tend to move the simulated precipitation inland, i.e., toward the Himalayas. The inclusion of black carbon in our simulations has not produced the ‘‘north drought/south flooding’’ precipitation pattern that has frequently occurred in China during the past 50 years.

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