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Reduced European aerosol emissions suppress winter extremes over northern Eurasia

Wang, Yuan and Le, Tianhao and Chen, Gang and Yung, Yuk L. and Su, Hui and Seinfeld, John H. and Jiang, Jonathan H. (2020) Reduced European aerosol emissions suppress winter extremes over northern Eurasia. Nature Climate Change, 10 (3). pp. 225-230. ISSN 1758-678X.

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Winter extreme weather events receive major public attention due to their serious impacts, but the dominant factors regulating their interdecadal trends have not been clearly established. Here, we show that the radiative forcing due to geospatially redistributed anthropogenic aerosols mainly determined the spatial variations of winter extreme weather in the Northern Hemisphere during 1970–2005, a unique transition period for global aerosol forcing. Over this period, the local Rossby wave activity and extreme events (top 10% in wave amplitude) exhibited marked declining trends at high latitudes, mainly in northern Eurasia. The combination of long-term observational data and a state-of-the-art climate model revealed the unambiguous signature of anthropogenic aerosols on the wintertime jet stream, planetary wave activity and surface temperature variability on interdecadal timescales. In particular, warming due to aerosol reductions in Europe enhanced the meridional temperature gradient on the jet’s poleward flank and strengthened the zonal wind, resulting in significant suppression in extreme events over northern Eurasia. These results exemplify how aerosol forcing can impact large-scale extratropical atmospheric dynamics, and illustrate the importance of anthropogenic aerosols and their spatiotemporal variability in assessing the drivers of extreme weather in historical and future climate.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription ReadCube access Correction ReadCube access - Publisher Correction Itemscripts used to process the model data Itemreanalysis products - NCAR Research Data Archive ItemMonthly mean climate indices - NOAA Climate Prediction Center Itemcode of the NCAR CESM model
Wang, Yuan0000-0001-6657-8401
Yung, Yuk L.0000-0002-4263-2562
Su, Hui0000-0003-1265-9702
Seinfeld, John H.0000-0003-1344-4068
Jiang, Jonathan H.0000-0002-5929-8951
Additional Information:© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited 2020. Received: 12 July 2019; Accepted: 7 January 2020; Published 3 February 2020. This study is supported by the NASA ROSES ACMAP and CCST, and NSF grants AGS-1700727 and AGS-1742178. We acknowledge the support of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with NASA. We also acknowledge high-performance computing support from Pleiades, provided at NASA Ames. The CESM project is supported primarily by the National Science Foundation. All correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to Y.W. ( Data availability: The reanalysis products used in this study are publicly available from the NCAR Research Data Archive ( Monthly mean climate indices are available from the NOAA Climate Prediction Center ( Code availability: The code of the NCAR CESM model used in this study is available at The scripts used to process the model data can be found on the public website of corresponding author Y.W. ( The authors declare no competing interests. Peer review information: Nature Climate Change thanks Marie McGraw, Zhaoyi Shen and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.
Errata:In the version of this Letter originally published, in Fig. 3 caption, the latitude zone for panels b and d was incorrect: “0–50° N (b and d)” should have read “20–50° N (b and d)”. This error has now been corrected in the online versions of the Letter.
Group:Astronomy Department
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Subject Keywords:Atmospheric chemistry; Atmospheric dynamics
Issue or Number:3
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20191223-104532388
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Official Citation:Wang, Y., Le, T., Chen, G. et al. Reduced European aerosol emissions suppress winter extremes over northern Eurasia. Nat. Clim. Chang. 10, 225–230 (2020).
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:100403
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:03 Feb 2020 17:37
Last Modified:13 May 2020 16:41

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