Reduced European aerosol emissions suppress winter extremes over northern Eurasia

Published in Nature Climate Change, 2020

Recommended citation: Wang, Yuan, Tianhao Le, Gang Chen, Yuk L Yung, Hui Su, John H Seinfeld and Jonathan H Jiang, 2020: Reduced European aerosol emissions suppress winter extremes over northern Eurasia, Nature Climate Change, doi:10.1038/s41558-020-0693-4.

ABSTRACT: Winter extreme weather events receive major public attention due to their serious impacts, but the dominant factors regulating their interdecadal trends have not been clearly established. Here, we show that the radiative forcing due to geospatially redistributed anthropogenic aerosols mainly determined the spatial variations of winter extreme weather in the Northern Hemisphere during 1970–2005, a unique transition period for global aerosol forcing. Over this period, the local Rossby wave activity and extreme events (top 10% in wave amplitude) exhibited marked declining trends at high latitudes, mainly in northern Eurasia. The combination of long-term observational data and a state-of-the-art climate model revealed the unambiguous signature of anthropogenic aerosols on the wintertime jet stream, planetary wave activity and surface temperature variability on interdecadal timescales. In particular, warming due to aerosol reductions in Europe enhanced the meridional temperature gradient on the jet’s poleward flank and strengthened the zonal wind, resulting in significant suppression in extreme events over north- ern Eurasia. These results exemplify how aerosol forcing can impact large-scale extratropical atmospheric dynamics, and illustrate the importance of anthropogenic aerosols and their spatiotemporal variability in assessing the drivers of extreme weather

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