The simulation of mineral dust in the United Kingdom Earth System Model UKESM1

Woodward, Stephanie; Sellar, Alistair A.; Tang, Yongming; Stringer, Marc; Yool, Andrew ORCID:; Robertson, Eddy; Wiltshire, Andy. 2022 The simulation of mineral dust in the United Kingdom Earth System Model UKESM1. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 22 (22). 14503-14528.

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Mineral dust plays an important role in Earth system models and is linked to many components, including atmospheric wind speed, precipitation and radiation, surface vegetation cover and soil properties and oceanic biogeochemical systems. In this paper, the dust scheme in the first configuration of the United Kingdom Earth System Model UKESM1 is described, and simulations of dust and its radiative effects are presented and compared with results from the parallel coupled atmosphere–ocean general circulation model (GCM) HadGEM3-GC3.1. Not only changes in the driving model fields but also changes in the dust size distribution are shown to lead to considerable differences to the present-day dust simulations and to projected future changes. UKESM1 simulations produce a present-day, top-of-the-atmosphere (ToA) dust direct radiative effect (DRE – defined as the change in downward net flux directly due to the presence of dust) of 0.086 W m−2 from a dust load of 19.5 Tg. Under climate change pathways these values decrease considerably. In the 2081–2100 mean of the Shared Socioeconomic Pathway SSP5–8.45 ToA DRE reaches 0.048 W m−2 from a load of 15.1 Tg. In contrast, in HadGEM3-GC3.1 the present-day values of −0.296 W m−2 and 15.0 Tg are almost unchanged at −0.289 W m−2 and 14.5 Tg in the 2081–2100 mean. The primary mechanism causing the differences in future dust projections is shown to be the vegetation response, which dominates over the direct effects of warming in our models. Though there are considerable uncertainties associated with any such estimates, the results presented demonstrate both the importance of the size distribution for dust modelling and also the necessity of including Earth system processes such as interactive vegetation in dust simulations for climate change studies.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 1680-7324
Date made live: 13 Dec 2022 13:01 +0 (UTC)

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