Two opposing effects of absorbing aerosols on global-mean precipitation
Article first published online: 2 JUL 2010
Copyright 2010 by the American Geophysical Union.
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 37, Issue 13, July 2010
How to Cite
2010), Two opposing effects of absorbing aerosols on global-mean precipitation, Geophys. Res. Lett., 37, L13701, doi:10.1029/2010GL042895., , and (
- Issue published online: 2 JUL 2010
- Article first published online: 2 JUL 2010
- Manuscript Accepted: 25 MAY 2010
- Manuscript Revised: 19 MAY 2010
- Manuscript Received: 11 FEB 2010
- absorbing aerosols
 Absorbing aerosols affect global-mean precipitation primarily in two ways. They give rise to stronger shortwave atmospheric heating, which acts to suppress precipitation. Depending on the top-of-the-atmosphere radiative flux change, they can also warm up the surface with a tendency to increase precipitation. Here, we present a theoretical framework that takes into account both effects, and apply it to analyze the hydrological responses to increased black carbon burden simulated with a general circulation model. It is found that the damping effect of atmospheric heating can outweigh the enhancing effect of surface warming, resulting in a net decrease in precipitation. The implications for moist convection and general circulation are discussed.