Climate models generally underrepresent the warming by Central Africa biomass-burning aerosols over the Southeast Atlantic

Mallet, Marc ; Nabat, Pierre ; Johnson, Ben ; Michou, Martine ; Haywood, Jim M. ; Chen, Cheng ; Dubovik, Oleg

Année de publication
2021
Résumé
<p align="justify">The radiative budget, cloud properties, and precipitation over tropical Africa are influenced by solar absorption by biomass-burning aerosols (BBA) from Central Africa. Recent field campaigns, reinforced by new remote-sensing and aerosol climatology datasets, have highlighted the absorbing nature of the elevated BBA layers over the South-East Atlantic (SEA), indicating that the absorption could be stronger than previously thought. We show that most of the latest generation of general circulation models (GCMs) from the sixth phase of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project 6 (CMIP6) underestimates the absorption of BBA over the SEA. This underlines why many (~75%) CMIP6 models do not fully capture the intense positive (warming) direct radiative forcing at the top of the atmosphere observed over this region. In addition, underestimating the magnitude of the BBA-induced solar heating could lead to misrepresentations of the low-level cloud responses and fast precipitation feedbacks that are induced by BBA in tropical regions.</p>
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