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Volume 12, issue 13 | Copyright
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 12, 5985-6007, 2012
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-12-5985-2012
© Author(s) 2012. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 13 Jul 2012

Research article | 13 Jul 2012

Aerosol indirect effects from shipping emissions: sensitivity studies with the global aerosol-climate model ECHAM-HAM

K. Peters1,2,*, P. Stier3, J. Quaas4, and H. Graßl1 K. Peters et al.
  • 1Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg, Germany
  • 2International Max Planck Research School on Earth System Modelling, Hamburg, Germany
  • 3Department of Physics, University of Oxford, UK
  • 4Institute for Meteorology, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany
  • *now at: Monash University, School of Mathematical Sciences, Clayton, VIC 3800, Australia

Abstract. In this study, we employ the global aerosol-climate model ECHAM-HAM to globally assess aerosol indirect effects (AIEs) resulting from shipping emissions of aerosols and aerosol precursor gases. We implement shipping emissions of sulphur dioxide (SO2), black carbon (BC) and particulate organic matter (POM) for the year 2000 into the model and quantify the model's sensitivity towards uncertainties associated with the emission parameterisation as well as with the shipping emissions themselves. Sensitivity experiments are designed to investigate (i) the uncertainty in the size distribution of emitted particles, (ii) the uncertainty associated with the total amount of emissions, and (iii) the impact of reducing carbonaceous emissions from ships.

We use the results from one sensitivity experiment for a detailed discussion of shipping-induced changes in the global aerosol system as well as the resulting impact on cloud properties. From all sensitivity experiments, we find AIEs from shipping emissions to range from −0.32 ± 0.01 W m−2 to −0.07 ± 0.01 W m−2 (global mean value and inter-annual variability as a standard deviation). The magnitude of the AIEs depends much more on the assumed emission size distribution and subsequent aerosol microphysical interactions than on the magnitude of the emissions themselves. It is important to note that although the strongest estimate of AIEs from shipping emissions in this study is relatively large, still much larger estimates have been reported in the literature before on the basis of modelling studies. We find that omitting just carbonaceous particle emissions from ships favours new particle formation in the boundary layer. These newly formed particles contribute just about as much to the CCN budget as the carbonaceous particles would, leaving the globally averaged AIEs nearly unaltered compared to a simulation including carbonaceous particle emissions from ships.

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