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Global-Mean Temperature Change from Shipping toward 2050: Improved Representation of the Indirect Aerosol Effect in Simple Climate Models

Marianne Tronstad Lund, Veronika Eyring, Jan S. Fuglestvedt, Johannes Hendricks, Axel Lauer, David S. Lee, Mattia Righi

We utilize a range of emission scenarios for shipping to determine the induced global-mean radiative forcing and temperature change. Ship emission scenarios consistent with the new regulations on nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) from the International Maritime Organization and two of the Representative Concentration Pathways are used as input to a simple climate model (SCM). Based on a complex aerosol-climate model we develop and test new parametrizations of the indirect aerosol effect (IAE) in the SCM that account for nonlinearities in radiative forcing of ship-induced IAE. We find that shipping causes a net global cooling impact throughout the period 1900–2050 across all parametrizations and scenarios. However, calculated total net global-mean temperature change in 2050 ranges from −0.03[−0.07,–0.002]°C to −0.3[−0.6,–0.2]°C in the A1B scenario. This wide range across parametrizations emphasizes the importance of properly representing the IAE in SCMs and to reflect the uncertainties from complex global models. Furthermore, our calculations show that the future ship-induced temperature response is likely a continued cooling if SO2 and NOx emissions continue to increase due to a strong increase in activity, despite current emission regulations. However, such cooling does not negate the need for continued efforts to reduce CO2 emissions, since residual warming from CO2 is long-lived.

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