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An Investigation of the Radiative Effects and Climate Feedbacks of Sea Ice Sources of Sea Salt Aerosol

Presentation Date
Monday, December 11, 2017 at 9:00am
New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center - 278-279



In polar regions, sea ice is a major source of sea salt aerosol through lofting of saline frost flowers or blowing saline snow from the sea ice surface. Under continued climate warming, an ice-free Arctic in summer with only first-year, more saline sea ice in winter is likely. Previous work has focused on climate impacts in summer from increasing open ocean sea salt aerosol emissions following complete sea ice loss in the Arctic, with conflicting results suggesting no net radiative effect or a negative climate feedback resulting from a strong first aerosol indirect effect. However, the radiative forcing from changes to the sea ice sources of sea salt aerosol in a future, warmer climate has not previously been explored. Understanding how sea ice loss affects the Arctic climate system requires investigating both open-ocean and sea ice sources of sea-salt aerosol and their potential interactions. Here, we implement a blowing snow source of sea salt aerosol into the Community Earth System Model (CESM) dynamically coupled to the latest version of the Los Alamos sea ice model (CICE5). Snow salinity is a key parameter affecting blowing snow sea salt emissions and previous work has assumed constant regional snow salinity over sea ice. We develop a parameterization for dynamic snow salinity in the sea ice model and examine how its spatial and temporal variability impacts the production of sea salt from blowing snow. We evaluate and constrain the snow salinity parameterization using available observations. Present-day coupled CESM-CICE5 simulations of sea salt aerosol concentrations including sea ice sources are evaluated against in situ and satellite (CALIOP) observations in polar regions. We then quantify the present-day radiative forcing from the addition of blowing snow sea salt aerosol with respect to aerosol-radiation and aerosol-cloud interactions. The relative contributions of sea ice vs. open ocean sources of sea salt aerosol to radiative forcing in polar regions is discussed.

Funding Program Area(s)