Articles | Volume 10, issue 1
Development and technical paper
01 Feb 2017
Development and technical paper |  | 01 Feb 2017

MACv2-SP: a parameterization of anthropogenic aerosol optical properties and an associated Twomey effect for use in CMIP6

Bjorn Stevens, Stephanie Fiedler, Stefan Kinne, Karsten Peters, Sebastian Rast, Jobst Müsse, Steven J. Smith, and Thorsten Mauritsen

Abstract. A simple plume implementation of the second version (v2) of the Max Planck Institute Aerosol Climatology, MACv2-SP, is described. MACv2-SP provides a prescription of anthropogenic aerosol optical properties and an associated Twomey effect. It was created to provide a harmonized description of post-1850 anthropogenic aerosol radiative forcing for climate modeling studies. MACv2-SP has been designed to be easy to implement, change and use, and thereby enable studies exploring the climatic effects of different patterns of aerosol radiative forcing, including a Twomey effect. MACv2-SP is formulated in terms of nine spatial plumes associated with different major anthropogenic source regions. The shape of the plumes is fit to the Max Planck Institute Aerosol Climatology, version 2, whose present-day (2005) distribution is anchored by surface-based observations. Two types of plumes are considered: one predominantly associated with biomass burning, the other with industrial emissions. These differ in the prescription of their annual cycle and in their optical properties, thereby implicitly accounting for different contributions of absorbing aerosol to the different plumes. A Twomey effect for each plume is prescribed as a change in the host model's background cloud-droplet population density using relationships derived from satellite data. Year-to-year variations in the amplitude of the plumes over the historical period (1850–2016) are derived by scaling the plumes with associated national emission sources of SO2 and NH3. Experiments using MACv2-SP are performed with the Max Planck Institute Earth System Model. The globally and annually averaged instantaneous and effective aerosol radiative forcings are estimated to be −0.6 and −0.5 W m−2, respectively. Forcing from aerosol–cloud interactions (the Twomey effect) offsets the reduction of clear-sky forcing by clouds, so that the net effect of clouds on the aerosol forcing is small; hence, the clear-sky forcing, which is more readily measurable, provides a good estimate of the total aerosol forcing.

Short summary
A simple analytic description of aerosol optical properties and their main effects on clouds is developed and described. The analytic description is easy to use and easy to modify and should aid experimentation to help understand how aerosol radiative and cloud interactions effect climate and circulation. The climatology is recommended for adoption by models participating in the sixth phase of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project.