Sensitivity of global sulphate aerosol production to changes in oxidant concentrations and climate

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Abstract

[1] The oxidation of SO2 to sulphate aerosol is an important process to include in climate models, and uncertainties caused by ignoring feedback mechanisms affecting the oxidants concerned need to be investigated. Here we present the results of an investigation into the sensitivity of sulphate concentrations to oxidant changes (from changes in climate and in emissions of oxidant precursors) and to changes in climate, in a version of HadGAM1 (the atmosphere-only version of HadGEM1) with an improved sulphur cycle scheme. We find that, when oxidants alone are changed, the global total sulphate burden decreases by approximately 3%, due mainly to a reduction in the OH burden. When climate alone is changed, our results show that the global total sulphate burden increases by approximately 9%; we conclude that this is probably attributable to reduced precipitation in regions of high sulphate abundance. When both oxidants and climate are changed simultaneously, we find that the effects of the two changes combine approximately linearly.

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