skip to main content

Title: Reaching 1.5 and 2.0 °C global surface temperature targets using stratospheric aerosol geoengineering
Abstract. A new set of stratospheric aerosol geoengineering (SAG) model experiments has been performed with Community Earth System Model version 2 (CESM2) with the Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model (WACCM6) that are based on the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 6 (CMIP6) overshoot scenario (SSP5-34-OS) as a baseline scenario to limit global warming to 1.5 or 2.0 ∘C above 1850–1900 conditions. The overshoot scenario allows us to applying a peak-shaving scenario that reduces the needed duration and amount of SAG application compared to a high forcing scenario. In addition, a feedback algorithm identifies the needed amount of sulfur dioxide injections in the stratosphere at four pre-defined latitudes, 30∘ N, 15∘ N, 15∘ S, and 30∘ S, to reach three surface temperature targets: global mean temperature, and interhemispheric and pole-to-Equator temperature gradients. These targets further help to reduce side effects, including overcooling in the tropics, warming of high latitudes, and large shifts in precipitation patterns. These experiments are therefore relevant for investigating the impacts on society and ecosystems. Comparisons to SAG simulations based on a high emission pathway baseline scenario (SSP5-85) are also performed to investigate the dependency of impacts using different injection amounts to offset surface warming by SAG. We find that changes from present-day conditions around 2020 in some variables depend strongly on the more » defined temperature target (1.5 ∘C vs. 2.0 ∘C). These include surface air temperature and related impacts, the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, which impacts ocean net primary productivity, and changes in ice sheet surface mass balance, which impacts sea level rise. Others, including global precipitation changes and the recovery of the Antarctic ozone hole, depend strongly on the amount of SAG application. Furthermore, land net primary productivity as well as ocean acidification depend mostly on the global atmospheric CO2 concentration and therefore the baseline scenario. Multi-model comparisons of experiments that include strong mitigation and carbon dioxide removal with some SAG application are proposed to assess the robustness of impacts on societies and ecosystems. « less
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Earth System Dynamics
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
579 to 601
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    Arctic ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to climate change because of Arctic amplification. Here, we assessed the climatic impacts of low-end, 1.5 °C, and 2.0 °C global temperature increases above pre-industrial levels, on the warming of terrestrial ecosystems in northern high latitudes (NHL, above 60 °N including pan-Arctic tundra and boreal forests) under the framework of the Inter-Sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project phase 2b protocol. We analyzed the simulated changes of net primary productivity, vegetation biomass, and soil carbon stocks of eight ecosystem models that were forced by the projections of four global climate models and two atmospheric greenhouse gas pathways (RCP2.6 and RCP6.0). Our results showed that considerable impacts on ecosystem carbon budgets, particularly primary productivity and vegetation biomass, are very likely to occur in the NHL areas. The models agreed on increases in primary productivity and biomass accumulation, despite considerable inter-model and inter-scenario differences in the magnitudes of the responses. The inter-model variability highlighted the inadequacies of the present models, which fail to consider important components such as permafrost and wildfire. The simulated impacts were attributable primarily to the rapid temperature increases in the NHL and the greater sensitivity of northern vegetation to warming, which contrasted with themore »less pronounced responses of soil carbon stocks. The simulated increases of vegetation biomass by 30–60 Pg C in this century have implications for climate policy such as the Paris Agreement. Comparison between the results at two warming levels showed the effectiveness of emission reductions in ameliorating the impacts and revealed unavoidable impacts for which adaptation options are urgently needed in the NHL ecosystems.

    « less
  2. Abstract. The realization of the difficulty of limiting global-meantemperatures to within 1.5 or 2.0 ∘C abovepre-industrial levels stipulated by the 21st Conference of Parties inParis has led to increased interest in solar radiation management (SRM)techniques. Proposed SRM schemes aim to increase planetary albedo to reflectmore sunlight back to space and induce a cooling that acts to partiallyoffset global warming. Under the auspices of the Geoengineering ModelIntercomparison Project, we have performed model experiments whereby globaltemperature under the high-forcing SSP5-8.5 scenario is reduced to followthat of the medium-forcing SSP2-4.5 scenario. Two different mechanisms toachieve this are employed: the first via a reduction in the solar constant(experiment G6solar) and the second via modelling injections of sulfurdioxide (experiment G6sulfur) which forms sulfate aerosol in thestratosphere. Results from two state-of-the-art coupled Earth system models(UKESM1 and CESM2-WACCM6) both show an impact on the North AtlanticOscillation (NAO) in G6sulfur but not in G6solar. Both models show apersistent positive anomaly in the NAO during the Northern Hemisphere winterseason in G6sulfur, suggesting an increase in zonal flow and an increase inNorth Atlantic storm track activity impacting the Eurasian continent and leadingto high-latitude warming over Europe and Asia. These results are broadlyconsistent with previous findings which show similar impacts fromstratospheric volcanicmore »aerosol on the NAO and emphasize that detailedmodelling of geoengineering processes is required if accurate impacts of SRMeffects are to be simulated. Differences remain between the two models inpredicting regional changes over the continental USA and Africa, suggestingthat more models need to perform such simulations before attempting to drawany conclusions regarding potential continental-scale climate change underSRM.« less
  3. Abstract. We present here results from the Geoengineering Model Intercomparison Project (GeoMIP) simulations for the experiments G6sulfur and G6solar for six Earth system models participating in the Climate Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP) Phase 6. The aim of the experiments is to reduce the warming that results from a high-tier emission scenario (Shared Socioeconomic Pathways SSP5-8.5) to that resulting from a medium-tier emission scenario (SSP2-4.5). These simulations aim to analyze the response of climate models to a reduction in incoming surface radiation as a means to reduce global surface temperatures, and they do so either by simulating a stratospheric sulfate aerosol layer or, in a more idealized way, through a uniform reduction in the solar constant in the model. We find that over the final two decades of this century there are considerable inter-model spreads in the needed injection amounts of sulfate (29 ± 9 Tg-SO2/yr between 2081 and 2100), in the latitudinal distribution of the aerosol cloud and in the stratospheric temperature changes resulting from the added aerosol layer. Even in the simpler G6solar experiment, there is a spread in the needed solar dimming to achieve the same global temperature target (1.91 ± 0.44 %). The analyzed models already show significant differences in the response tomore »the increasing CO2 concentrations for global mean temperatures and global mean precipitation (2.05 K ± 0.42 K and 2.28 ± 0.80 %, respectively, for SSP5-8.5 minus SSP2-4.5 averaged over 2081–2100). With aerosol injection, the differences in how the aerosols spread further change some of the underlying uncertainties, such as the global mean precipitation response (−3.79 ± 0.76 % for G6sulfur compared to −2.07 ± 0.40 % for G6solar against SSP2-4.5 between 2081 and 2100). These differences in the behavior of the aerosols also result in a larger uncertainty in the regional surface temperature response among models in the case of the G6sulfur simulations, suggesting the need to devise various, more specific experiments to single out and resolve particular sources of uncertainty. The spread in the modeled response suggests that a degree of caution is necessary when using these results for assessing specific impacts of geoengineering in various aspects of the Earth system. However, all models agree that compared to a scenario with unmitigated warming, stratospheric aerosol geoengineering has the potential to both globally and locally reduce the increase in surface temperatures.« less
  4. Abstract

    While carbon dioxide emissions from energy use must be the primary target of climate change mitigation efforts, land use and land cover change (LULCC) also represent an important source of climate forcing. In this study we compute time series of global surface temperature change separately for LULCC and non-LULCC sources (primarily fossil fuel burning), and show that because of the extra warming associated with the co-emission of methane and nitrous oxide with LULCC carbon dioxide emissions, and a co-emission of cooling aerosols with non-LULCC emissions of carbon dioxide, the linear relationship between cumulative carbon dioxide emissions and temperature has a two-fold higher slope for LULCC than for non-LULCC activities. Moreover, projections used in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for the rate of tropical land conversion in the future are relatively low compared to contemporary observations, suggesting that the future projections of land conversion used in the IPCC may underestimate potential impacts of LULCC. By including a ‘business as usual’ future LULCC scenario for tropical deforestation, we find that even if all non-LULCC emissions are switched off in 2015, it is likely that 1.5 °C of warming relative to the preindustrial era will occur by 2100. Thus, policies tomore »reduce LULCC emissions must remain a high priority if we are to achieve the low to medium temperature change targets proposed as a part of the Paris Agreement. Future studies using integrated assessment models and other climate simulations should include more realistic deforestation rates and the integration of policy that would reduce LULCC emissions.

    « less
  5. Abstract. Temperature is a master parameter in the marine carbon cycle, exerting a critical control on the rate of biological transformation of a variety of solid and dissolved reactants and substrates. Although in the construction of numerical models of marine carbon cycling, temperature has been long recognised as a key parameter in the production and export of organic matter at the ocean surface, its role in the ocean interior is much less frequently accounted for. There, bacteria (primarily) transform sinking particulate organic matter (POM) into its dissolved constituents and consume dissolved oxygen (and/or other electron acceptors such as sulfate). The nutrients and carbon thereby released then become available for transport back to the surface, influencing biological productivity and atmospheric pCO2, respectively. Given the substantial changes in ocean temperature occurring in the past, as well as in light of current anthropogenic warming, appropriately accounting for the role of temperature in marine carbon cycling may be critical to correctly projecting changes in ocean deoxygenation and the strength of feedbacks on atmosphericpCO2. Here we extend and calibrate a temperature-dependent representation ofmarine carbon cycling in the cGENIE.muffin Earth system model, intended forboth past and future climate applications. In this, we combine atemperature-dependent remineralisation schememore »for sinking organic matterwith a biological export production scheme that also includes a dependenceon ambient seawater temperature. Via a parameter ensemble, we jointlycalibrate the two parameterisations by statistically contrasting model-projected fields of nutrients, oxygen, and the stable carbon isotopicsignature (δ13C) of dissolved inorganic carbon in the oceanwith modern observations. We additionally explore the role of temperature inthe creation and recycling of dissolved organic matter (DOM) and hence itsimpact on global carbon cycle dynamics. We find that for the present day, the temperature-dependent version showsa fit to the data that is as good as or better than the existing tuned non-temperature-dependent version of the cGENIE.muffin. The main impact ofaccounting for temperature-dependent remineralisation of POM is in drivinghigher rates of remineralisation in warmer waters, in turn driving a morerapid return of nutrients to the surface and thereby stimulating organicmatter production. As a result, more POM is exported below 80 m but onaverage reaches shallower depths in middle- and low-latitude warmer waterscompared to the standard model. Conversely, at higher latitudes, colderwater temperature reduces the rate of nutrient resupply to the surface andPOM reaches greater depth on average as a result of slower subsurface ratesof remineralisation. Further adding temperature-dependent DOM processeschanges this overall picture only a little, with a slight weakening ofexport production at higher latitudes. As an illustrative application of the new model configuration andcalibration, we take the example of historical warming and briefly assessthe implications for global carbon cycling of accounting for a more completeset of temperature-dependent processes in the ocean. We find that betweenthe pre-industrial era (ca. 1700) and the present (year 2010), in response to asimulated air temperature increase of 0.9 ∘C and an associatedprojected mean ocean warming of 0.12 ∘C (0.6 ∘C insurface waters and 0.02 ∘C in deep waters), a reduction inparticulate organic carbon (POC) export at 80 m of just 0.3 % occurs (or 0.7 % including a temperature-dependent DOM response). However, due to this increased recycling nearer the surface, the efficiency of the transfer of carbon away from the surface (at 80 m) to the deep ocean (at 1040 m) is reduced by 5 %. In contrast, with no assumed temperature-dependent processes impacting production or remineralisation of either POM or DOM, global POC export at 80 m falls by 2.9 % between the pre-industrial era and the present day as a consequence of ocean stratification and reduced nutrient resupply to the surface. Our analysis suggests that increased temperature-dependent nutrient recycling in the upper ocean has offset much of the stratification-induced restriction in its physical transport.« less