Climate, air quality and human health impacts of tropical aerosol emissions

This PhD project is looking at the effects of changing tropical aerosol emissions, including from fire, on climate and human health. We use different forms of emissions experiments using a global climate model, UKESM, to understand these impacts.

First we understand the general response of the climate to changes in tropical biomass burning aerosols by studying the effect of large perturbations to their emissions – a 10 times increase, or a complete removal. This helps us to characterise the large effects of changing these emissions on local and remote temperatures, precipitation, circulation, and clouds, aiding us in an understanding of the effect of the further experiments.

The subsequent experiments apply time-varying emissions scenarios over the 21st century, from the climate change-focused Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs). We investigate the effect of Africa following SSP370 (lower mitigation) while the rest of the world follows SSP119 (high mitigation), compared to a global SSP119 control. These experiments are being used, with insights from the larger experiments, to determine the human health and climate effects of changing between these realistic 21st century emissions scenarios.

Project duration: ends 2021