Journal article Open Access

Improved Attribution of Climate Forcing to Emissions

Shindell, Drew T.; Faluvegi, Greg; Koch, Dorothy M.; Schmidt, Gavin A.; Unger, Nadine; Bauer, Susanne E.


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    <subfield code="a">Evaluating multicomponent climate change mitigation strategies requires knowledge of the diverse direct and indirect effects of emissions. Methane, ozone, and aerosols are linked through atmospheric chemistry so that emissions of a single pollutant can affect several species. We calculated atmospheric composition changes, historical radiative forcing, and forcing per unit of emission due to aerosol and tropospheric ozone precursor emissions in a coupled composition-climate model. We found that gas-aerosol interactions substantially alter the relative importance of the various emissions. In particular, methane emissions have a larger impact than that used in current carbon-trading schemes or in the Kyoto Protocol. Thus, assessments of multigas mitigation policies, as well as any separate efforts to mitigate warming from short-lived pollutants, should include gas-aerosol interactions. Chemical interactions between atmospheric gases and aerosols modify the global warming impacts of emissions. Chemical interactions between atmospheric gases and aerosols modify the global warming impacts of emissions.</subfield>
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