Assessing the effects of anthropogenic aerosols on Pacific storm track using a multiscale global climate model. Academic Article uri icon


  • Atmospheric aerosols affect weather and global general circulation by modifying cloud and precipitation processes, but the magnitude of cloud adjustment by aerosols remains poorly quantified and represents the largest uncertainty in estimated forcing of climate change. Here we assess the effects of anthropogenic aerosols on the Pacific storm track, using a multiscale global aerosol-climate model (GCM). Simulations of two aerosol scenarios corresponding to the present day and preindustrial conditions reveal long-range transport of anthropogenic aerosols across the north Pacific and large resulting changes in the aerosol optical depth, cloud droplet number concentration, and cloud and ice water paths. Shortwave and longwave cloud radiative forcing at the top of atmosphere are changed by -2.5 and +1.3 W m(-2), respectively, by emission changes from preindustrial to present day, and an increased cloud top height indicates invigorated midlatitude cyclones. The overall increased precipitation and poleward heat transport reflect intensification of the Pacific storm track by anthropogenic aerosols. Hence, this work provides, for the first time to the authors' knowledge, a global perspective of the effects of Asian pollution outflows from GCMs. Furthermore, our results suggest that the multiscale modeling framework is essential in producing the aerosol invigoration effect of deep convective clouds on a global scale.

published proceedings

  • Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A

altmetric score

  • 317.968

author list (cited authors)

  • Wang, Y., Wang, M., Zhang, R., Ghan, S. J., Lin, Y., Hu, J., ... Molina, M. J.

citation count

  • 124

complete list of authors

  • Wang, Yuan||Wang, Minghuai||Zhang, Renyi||Ghan, Steven J||Lin, Yun||Hu, Jiaxi||Pan, Bowen||Levy, Misti||Jiang, Jonathan H||Molina, Mario J

publication date

  • May 2014