Climate-induced changes in sea salt aerosol number emissions: 1870 to 2100


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[1] Global climate model output is combined with an emission parameterization to estimate the change in the global and regional sea salt aerosol number emission from 1870 to 2100. Global average results suggest a general increase in sea salt aerosol number emission due to increasing surface wind speed. However, the emission changes are not uniform over the aerosol size spectrum due to an increase in sea surface temperature. From 1870 to 2100 the emission of coarse mode particles (dry diameter DP>655 nm) increase by approximately 10 % (global average), whereas no significant change in the emission of ultrafine mode aerosols (dry diameter Dp<76 nm) was found over the same period. Significant regional differences in the number emission trends were also found. Based on CAM-Oslo global climate model output, no straight-forward relationship was found between the change in the number emissions and changes in the sea salt aerosol burden or optical thickness. This is attributed to a change in the simulated residence time of the sea salt aerosol. For the 21st century, a decrease in the residence time leads to a weaker sea salt aerosol-climate feedback that what would be inferred based on changes in number emissions alone. Finally, quantifying any potential impact on marine stratocumulus cloud microphysical and radiative properties due to changes in sea salt aerosol number emissions is likely to be complicated by commensurate changes in anthropogenic aerosol emissions and changes in meteorology.