How present aerosol pollution from North America impacts North Atlantic climate


Corresponding author. Climate Service Center–Germany, GKSS Forschungszentrum Geesthacht, Bundesstr. 45a, 20146 Hamburg, Germany.


This paper describes the potential effects of present-day aerosol pollution from North America (USA, Canada) on the climate of the North Atlantic region. The study has been performed by applying the comprehensive atmospheric general circulation model ECHAM5-HAM, which is coupled to a mixed-layer ocean with an embedded thermodynamic sea ice module. The model includes a microphysical aerosol model (HAM), which allows for the assessment of aerosol impacts on climate. Sulphate, black and organic carbon, sea salt and mineral dust are considered as aerosol species. Two equilibrium simulations with two different aerosol pollutant scenarios are compared for each season. We investigate the effect on radiation, temperature, hydrological quantities and dynamics, when human-induced aerosol emissions from North America were omitted. The decrease of both direct and indirect aerosol effects induces a positive change in top of the atmosphere (TOA) radiative fluxes resulting in an overall warming in the whole region. Our results demonstrate the vulnerability especially of the Arctic to the reduction in aerosol load. For fall we find an increase in precipitation over the North Atlantic, associated with a tendency to a larger number of cyclones with high-pressure gradients and a higher frequency in storm days.