The warming of Arctic climate and decreases in sea ice thickness and extent1,2 observed over recent decades are believed to result from increased direct greenhouse gas forcing, changes in atmospheric dynamics having anthropogenic origin3,4,5, and important positive reinforcements including ice–albedo and cloud–radiation feedbacks6. The importance of cloud–radiation interactions is being investigated through advanced instrumentation deployed in the high Arctic since 1997 (refs 7, 8). These studies have established that clouds, via the dominance of longwave radiation, exert a net warming on the Arctic climate system throughout most of the year, except briefly during the summer9. The Arctic region also experiences significant periodic influxes of anthropogenic aerosols, which originate from the industrial regions in lower latitudes10. Here we use multisensor radiometric data7,8 to show that enhanced aerosol concentrations alter the microphysical properties of Arctic clouds, in a process known as the ‘first indirect’ effect11,12. Under frequently occurring cloud types we find that this leads to an increase of an average 3.4 watts per square metre in the surface longwave fluxes. This is comparable to a warming effect from established greenhouse gases and implies that the observed longwave enhancement is climatologically significant.
Your institute does not have access to this article
Open Access articles citing this article.
Scientific Reports Open Access 27 June 2018
Current Climate Change Reports Open Access 06 February 2017
Surveys in Geophysics Open Access 11 May 2012
Subscribe to Journal
Get full journal access for 1 year
only $3.90 per issue
All prices are NET prices.
VAT will be added later in the checkout.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.
All prices are NET prices.
Moritz, R. E., Bitz, C. M. & Steig, E. J. Dynamics of recent climate change in the Arctic. Science 297, 1497–1502 (2002)
Cavalieri, D. J., Gloersen, P., Parkinson, C. L., Comiso, J. C. & Zwally, H. J. Observed hemispheric asymmetry in global sea ice changes. Science 278, 1104–1106 (1997)
Thompson, D. W. J. & Wallace, J. M. Annular modes in the extratropical circulation. Part I: month-to-month variability. J. Clim. 13, 1000–1016 (2001)
Rigor, I. G., Wallace, J. W. & Colony, R. L. Response of sea ice to the Arctic Oscillation. J. Clim. 15, 2648–2663 (2002)
Johanessen, O. M. et al. Arctic climate change: observed and modelled temperature and sea ice variability. Tellus A 56, 328–341 (2004)
Curry, J. A. & Webster, P. J. Thermodynamics of Atmospheres and Oceans (Academic, San Diego, 1999)
Stamnes, K., Ellingson, R. G., Curry, J. A., Walsh, J. E. & Zak, B. D. Review of science issues, deployment strategy, and status for the ARM North Slope of Alaska–Adjacent Arctic Ocean climate research site. J. Clim. 12, 46–63 (1999)
Uttal, T. et al. Surface heat budget of the Arctic Ocean. Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc. 83, 255–275 (2002)
Intrieri, J. M., Shupe, M. D., Uttal, T. & McCarty, B. J. An annual cycle of Arctic cloud characteristics observed by radar and lidar at SHEBA. J. Geophys. Res. 107, doi:10.1029/2000JC000423 (2002)
Barrie, L. A. Arctic air pollution: an overview of current knowledge. Atmos. Environ. 20, 643–663 (1986)
Twomey, S. The influence of pollution on the shortwave albedo of clouds. J. Atmos. Sci. 34, 1149–1152 (1977)
Garrett, T., Radke, L. F. & Hobbs, P. V. Aerosol effects on cloud emissivity and surface longwave heating in the Arctic. J. Atmos. Sci. 59, 769–778 (2002)
Knuteson, R. O. et al. Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer. Part II: instrument performance. J. Ocean. Atmos. Technol. 21, 1777–1789 (2004)
Clothiaux, E. E. et al. Objective determination of cloud heights and radar reflectivities using a combination of active remote sensors at the ARM CART sites. J. Appl. Meteorol. 39, 645–665 (2000)
Payne, R. E. & Anderson, S. P. A new look at calibration and use of Eppley Precision Infrared Radiometer, Part II: calibration and use of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution improved meteorology precision infrared radiometer. J. Ocean. Atmos. Technol 16, 739–751 (1999)
Delene, D. J. & Ogren, J. A. Variability of aerosol optical properties at four North American surface monitoring sites. J. Atmos. Sci. 59, 1135–1150 (2002)
Garrett, T. J., Zhao, C., Dong, X., Mace, G. G. & Hobbs, P. V. Effects of varying aerosol regimes on low-level Arctic stratus. Geophys. Res. Lett. 31, doi:10.1029/2004GL019928 (2004)
Turner, D. D. Arctic mixed-phase cloud properties from AERI lidar observations: Algorithm and results from SEHBA. J. Appl. Meteorol. 44, 427–444 (2005)
Lubin, D. Thermodynamic phase of maritime Antarctic clouds from FTIR and supplementary radiometric data. J. Geophys. Res. 109, doi:10.1029/2003JD003979 (2004)
Mahesh, A., Walden, V. P. & Warren, S. G. Ground-based infrared remote sensing of cloud properties over the Antarctic Plateau. Part II: cloud optical depths and particle sizes. J. Appl. Meteorol. 40, 1279–1294 (2001)
Guo, G., Ji, Q., Yang, P. & Tsay, S.-C. Remote sensing of cirrus optical and microphysical properties from ground-based infrared radiometric measurements—Part II: Retrievals from CRYSTAL-FACE measurements. IEEE Geosci. Rem. Sens. Lett. 2, 132–135 (2005)
Shupe, M. D. & Intrieri, J. M. Cloud radiative forcing of the Arctic surface: the influence of cloud properties, surface albedo, and solar zenith angle. J. Clim. 17, 616–628 (2004)
Intrieri, J. M. et al. An annual cycle of surface cloud forcing at SHEBA. J. Geophys. Res. 107, doi:10.1029/2000JC000439 (2002)
Penner, J. E., Dong, X. & Chen, Y. Observational evidence of a change in radiative forcing due to the aerosol indirect effect. Nature 427, 231–234 (2004)
Leontyeva, E. & Stamnes, K. Estimations of cloud optical thickness from ground-based measurements of incoming solar radiation in the Arctic. J. Clim. 7, 566–578 (1994)
Jiang, H. J., Feingold, G., Cotton, W. R. & Duynkerke, P. G. Large-eddy simulations of entrainment of cloud condensation nuclei into the Arctic boundary layer: May 18, 1998, FIRE/SHEBA case study. J. Geophys. Res. 106, 15113–15122 (2001)
Morrison, H., Curry, J. A., Shupe, M. D. & Zuidema, P. A new double-moment microphysics parameterization for application in cloud and climate models. Part II: Single-column modeling of arctic clouds. J. Atmos. Sci. 62, 1678–1693 (2005)
This work was supported by the DOE ARM programme. We thank J. Ogren for access to the NOAA CMDL aerosol data.
Reprints and permissions information is available at npg.nature.com/reprintsandpermissions. The authors declare no competing financial interests.
About this article
Cite this article
Lubin, D., Vogelmann, A. A climatologically significant aerosol longwave indirect effect in the Arctic. Nature 439, 453–456 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature04449
Nature Climate Change (2021)
Scientific Reports (2018)
Advances in Atmospheric Sciences (2018)
Current Climate Change Reports (2017)
Nature Geoscience (2012)