loading page

Relative importance of greenhouse gases, sulfate, organic carbon, and black carbon aerosol for South Asian monsoon rainfall changes
  • +3
  • Daniel M Westervelt,
  • Yujia You,
  • Xiaoqiong Li,
  • Mingfang Ting,
  • Dong Eun Lee,
  • Yi Ming
Daniel M Westervelt
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

Author Profile
Yujia You
columbia university
Author Profile
Xiaoqiong Li
Columbia University
Author Profile
Mingfang Ting
Columbia University
Author Profile
Dong Eun Lee
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University
Author Profile
Yi Ming
Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory
Author Profile


The contribution of individual aerosol species and greenhouse gases to precipitation changes during the South Asian summer monsoon is uncertain. Mechanisms driving responses to anthropogenic forcings needs further characterization. We use an atmosphere-only climate model to simulate the fast response of the summer monsoon to different anthropogenic aerosol types and to anthropogenic greenhouse gases. Without normalization, sulfate is the largest driver of precipitation change between 1850 and 2000, followed by black carbon and greenhouse gases. Normalized by radiative forcing, the most effective driver is black carbon. The precipitation and moisture budget responses to combinations of aerosol species perturbed together scale as a linear superposition of their individual responses. We use both a circulation-based and moisture budget-based argument to identify mechanisms of aerosol and greenhouse gas induced changes to precipitation, and find that in all cases the dynamic contribution is the dominant driver to precipitation change in the monsoon region.
16 Jul 2020Published in Geophysical Research Letters volume 47 issue 13. 10.1029/2020GL088363