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The role of methane in projections of 21st century stratospheric water vapour

Revell, Laura E.; Stenke, Andrea; Rozanov, Eugene; Ball, William; Lossow, Stefan; Peter, Thomas

Stratospheric water vapour (SWV) is an important component of the Earth’s atmosphere as it affects both radiative balance and the chemistry of the atmosphere. Key processes driving changes in SWV include dehydration of air masses transiting the cold-point tropopause (CPT) and methane oxidation. We use a chemistry–climate model to simulate changes in SWV through the 21st century following the four canonical representative concentration pathways (RCPs). Furthermore, we quantify the contribution that methane oxidation makes to SWV following each of the RCPs. Although the methane contribution to SWV maximizes in the upper stratosphere, modelled SWV trends are found to be driven predominantly by warming of the CPT rather than by increasing methane oxidation. SWV changes by -5 to 60% (depending on the location in the atmosphere and emissions scenario) and increases in the lower stratosphere in all RCPs through the 21st century. Because the lower stratosphere is where water vapour radiative forcing maximizes, SWV’s influence on surface climate is also expected to increase through the 21st century.

Zugehörige Institution(en) am KIT Institut für Meteorologie und Klimaforschung - Atmosphärische Spurenstoffe und Fernerkundung (IMK-ASF)
Publikationstyp Zeitschriftenaufsatz
Jahr 2016
Sprache Englisch
Identifikator DOI: 10.5194/acp-16-13067-2016
ISSN: 1680-7316, 1680-7324
URN: urn:nbn:de:swb:90-626684
KITopen ID: 1000062668
HGF-Programm 12.04.05; LK 01
Erschienen in Atmospheric chemistry and physics
Band 16
Heft 20
Seiten 13067-13080
Lizenz CC BY 3.0 DE: Creative Commons Namensnennung 3.0 Deutschland
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