- Journal Article
The direct radiative effect of absorbing aerosols consists of absorption-induced atmospheric heating together with scattering- and absorption-induced surface cooling. It is thus important to understand whether some of the reported climate impacts of anthropogenic absorbing aerosols are mainly due to the coexistence of these two opposite effects and to what extent the nonlinearity raised from such coexistence would become a critical factor. To answer these questions specifically regarding the South Asia summer monsoon with focus on aerosol-induced changes in monsoon onset, a set of century-long simulations using the Community Earth System Model, version 1.0.3 (CESM 1.0.3), of NCAR with fully coupled atmosphere and ocean components was conducted. Prescribed direct heating to the atmosphere and cooling to the surface were applied in the simulations over the Indian subcontinent, either alone or combined, during the aerosol-laden months of May and June. Over many places in the Indian subcontinent, the nonlinear effect dominates in the changes of subcloud layer moist static energy, precipitation, and monsoon onset. The surface cooling effect of aerosols appears to shift anomalous precipitative cooling away from the aerosol-forcing region and hence turn the negative feedback to aerosol-induced atmospheric heating into a positive feedback on the monsoon circulation through latent heat release over the Himalayan foothills. Moisture processes form the critical chain mediating local aerosol direct effects and onset changes in the monsoon system.
© 2013 American Meteorological Society