Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Biomass Burning and Gas Flares Create the Extreme West African Aerosol Plume Which Perturbs the Hadley Circulation and Thereby Changes Europe’s Winter Climate

Version 1 : Received: 30 August 2021 / Approved: 31 August 2021 / Online: 31 August 2021 (08:33:03 CEST)

How to cite: Potts, K.A. Biomass Burning and Gas Flares Create the Extreme West African Aerosol Plume Which Perturbs the Hadley Circulation and Thereby Changes Europe’s Winter Climate. Preprints 2021, 2021080554 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202108.0554.v1). Potts, K.A. Biomass Burning and Gas Flares Create the Extreme West African Aerosol Plume Which Perturbs the Hadley Circulation and Thereby Changes Europe’s Winter Climate. Preprints 2021, 2021080554 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202108.0554.v1).

Abstract

Europe’s winter climate has experienced three significant changes recently: increased UK flooding; Iberian drought; and warmer temperatures north of the Alps. The literature links all three to a persistent, significant increase in sea level pressure over the Mediterranean and Iberia which changes the atmospheric circulation system by: forcing cold fronts north away from Iberia; and creating a south westerly flow around the high-pressure region bringing warmer, moist air from the subtropical Atlantic to Europe which increases UK precipitation and European temperatures. Here I show, using modelled, reanalysis and measured data, that: the extreme, anthropogenic, West African aerosol Plume (WAP) which exists from late December to early April perturbs the northern, regional Hadley Circulation creating the high-pressure region; and that the WAP has only existed in its extreme form in recent decades as the major sources of the aerosols: biomass burning; and gas flaring have both increased significantly since 1950 due to: a four-fold increase in population (United Nations); and gas flaring rising from zero to 7.4 billion m3/annum (Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership). I also suggest that the WAP can be eliminated and Europe’s winter climate returned to its natural state after the crucial first step of recognising the cause of the changes is taken.

Keywords

Biomass burning; Anthropogenic aerosols; West Africa; United Kingdom Floods; Iberian Drought; European winter temperatures; Last Millennium Ensemble; NASA MERRA-2

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