Tropospheric ozone radiative forcing uncertainty due to pre-industrial fire and biogenic emissions

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


pTropospheric ozone concentrations are sensitive to natural emissions of precursor compounds. In contrast to existing assumptions, recent evidence indicates that terrestrial vegetation emissions in the pre-industrial era were larger than in the present day. We use a chemical transport model and a radiative transfer model to show that revised inventories of pre-industrial fire and biogenic emissions lead to an increase in simulated pre-industrial ozone concentrations, decreasing the estimated pre-industrial to present-day tropospheric ozone radiative forcing by up to 34 % (0.38 to 0.25 W mspan classCombining double low line"inline-formula"-2/span). We find that this change is sensitive to employing biomass burning and biogenic emissions inventories based on matching vegetation patterns, as the co-location of emission sources enhances the effect on ozone formation. Our forcing estimates are at the lower end of existing uncertainty range estimates (0.2-0.6 W mspan classCombining double low line"inline-formula"-2/span), without accounting for other sources of uncertainty. Thus, future work should focus on reassessing the uncertainty range of tropospheric ozone radiative forcing.


  • Matthew J. Rowlinson
  • Alexandru Rap
  • Douglas S. Hamilton
  • Richard J. Pope
  • Stijn Hantson
  • Steve R. Arnold
  • Jed O. Kaplan
  • Almut Arneth
  • Martyn P. Chipperfield
  • Piers M. Forster
  • Lars M. Nieradzik
External organisations
  • University of Leeds
  • University of York
  • Cornell University
  • Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
  • University of California, Irvine
  • University of Hong Kong
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10937-10951
Number of pages15
JournalAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Sep 22
Publication categoryResearch