The Potential of Absorbing Aerosols to Enhance Extreme Precipitation

Guy Dagan*, Eshkol Eytan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Understanding the impact of various climate forcing agents, such as aerosols, on extreme precipitation is socially and scientifically vital. While anthropogenic absorbing aerosols influence Earth's energy balance and atmospheric convection, their role in extreme events remains unclear. This paper uses convective-resolving radiative-convective-equilibrium simulations, with fixed solar radiation, to investigate the influence of absorbing aerosols on extreme precipitation comprehensively. Our findings reveal an underappreciated mechanism through which absorbing aerosols can, under certain conditions, strongly intensify extreme precipitation. Notably, we demonstrate that a mechanism previously reported for much warmer (hothouse) climates, where intense rainfall alternates with multi-day dry spells, can operate under current realistic conditions due to absorbing aerosol influence. This mechanism operates when an aerosol perturbation shifts the lower tropospheric radiative heating rate to positive values, generating a strong inhibition layer. Our work highlights an additional potential effect of absorbing aerosols, with implications for climate change mitigation and disaster risk management.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numbere2024GL108385
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume51
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - 28 May 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024. The Authors.

Keywords

  • RCE
  • aerosol
  • black carbon
  • extreme events
  • precipitation
  • radiation

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