skip to main content

Title: The impact of stratospheric aerosol intervention on the North Atlantic and Quasi-Biennial Oscillations in the Geoengineering Model Intercomparison Project (GeoMIP) G6sulfur experiment
Abstract. As part of the Geoengineering Model IntercomparisonProject a numerical experiment known as G6sulfur has been designed in whichtemperatures under a high-forcing future scenario (SSP5-8.5) are reduced tothose under a medium-forcing scenario (SSP2-4.5) using the proposedgeoengineering technique of stratospheric aerosol intervention (SAI).G6sulfur involves introducing sulfuric acid aerosol into the tropicalstratosphere where it reflects incoming sunlight back to space, thus coolingthe planet. Here, we compare the results from six Earth-system models thathave performed the G6sulfur experiment and examine how SAI affects twoimportant modes of natural variability, the northern wintertime NorthAtlantic Oscillation (NAO) and the Quasi-Biennial Oscillation (QBO).Although all models show that SAI is successful in reducing global meantemperature as designed, they are also consistent in showing that it forcesan increasingly positive phase of the NAO as the injection rate increasesover the course of the 21st century, exacerbating precipitationreductions over parts of southern Europe compared with SSP5-8.5. In contrast to the robust result for the NAO, there is less consistency for the impact on the QBO, but the results nevertheless indicate a risk that equatorial SAI could cause the QBO to stall and become locked in a phase with permanent westerly winds in the lower stratosphere.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Page Range / eLocation ID:
2999 to 3016
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. null (Ed.)
    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 volcanic 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. 
    more » « less
  2. 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 to 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. 
    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    Two decades into the 21st century there is growing evidence for global impacts of Antarctic and Southern Ocean climate change. Reliable estimates of how the Antarctic climate system would behave under a range of scenarios of future external climate forcing are thus a high priority. Output from new model simulations coordinated as part of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6 (CMIP6) provides an opportunity for a comprehensive analysis of the latest generation of state‐of‐the‐art climate models following a wider range of experiment types and scenarios than previous CMIP phases. Here the main broad‐scale 21st century Antarctic projections provided by the CMIP6 models are shown across four forcing scenarios: SSP1‐2.6, SSP2‐4.5, SSP3‐7.0 and SSP5‐8.5. End‐of‐century Antarctic surface‐air temperature change across these scenarios (relative to 1995–2014) is 1.3, 2.5, 3.7 and 4.8°C. The corresponding proportional precipitation rate changes are 8, 16, 24 and 31%. In addition to these end‐of‐century changes, an assessment of scenario dependence of pathways of absolute and global‐relative 21st century projections is conducted. Potential differences in regional response are of particular relevance to coastal Antarctica, where, for example, ecosystems and ice shelves are highly sensitive to the timing of crossing of key thresholds in both atmospheric and oceanic conditions. Overall, it is found that the projected changes over coastal Antarctica do not scale linearly with global forcing. We identify two factors that appear to contribute: (a) a stronger global‐relative Southern Ocean warming in stabilisation (SSP2‐4.5) and aggressive mitigation (SSP1‐2.6) scenarios as the Southern Ocean continues to warm and (b) projected recovery of Southern Hemisphere stratospheric ozone and its effect on the mid‐latitude westerlies. The major implication is that over coastal Antarctica, the surface warming by 2100 is stronger relative to the global mean surface warming for the low forcing compared to high forcing future scenarios.

    more » « less
  4. Abstract. Secondary organic aerosol (SOA) is a dominant contributor of fine particulate matter in the atmosphere, but the complexity of SOA formation chemistry hinders the accurate representation of SOA in models. Volatility-based SOA parameterizations have been adopted in many recent chemistry modeling studies and have shown a reasonable performance compared to observations. However, assumptions made in these empirical parameterizations can lead to substantial errors when applied to future climatic conditions as they do not include the mechanistic understanding of processes but are rather fitted to laboratory studies of SOA formation. This is particularly the case for SOA derived from isoprene epoxydiols (IEPOX SOA), for which we have a higher level of understanding of the fundamental processes than is currently parameterized in most models. We predict future SOA concentrations using an explicit mechanism and compare the predictions with the empirical parameterization based on the volatility basis set (VBS) approach. We then use the Community Earth System Model 2 (CESM2.1.0) with detailed isoprene chemistry and reactive uptake processes for the middle and end of the 21st century under four Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs): SSP1–2.6, SSP2–4.5, SSP3–7.0, and SSP5–8.5. With the explicit chemical mechanism, we find that IEPOX SOA is predicted to increase on average under all future SSP scenarios but with some variability in the results depending on regions and the scenario chosen. Isoprene emissions are the main driver of IEPOX SOA changes in the future climate, but the IEPOX SOA yield from isoprene emissions also changes by up to 50 % depending on the SSP scenario, in particular due to different sulfur emissions. We conduct sensitivity simulations with and without CO2 inhibition of isoprene emissions that is highly uncertain, which results in factor of 2 differences in the predicted IEPOX SOA global burden, especially for the high-CO2 scenarios (SSP3–7.0 and SSP5–8.5). Aerosol pH also plays a critical role in the IEPOX SOA formation rate, requiring accurate calculation of aerosol pH in chemistry models. On the other hand, isoprene SOA calculated with the VBS scheme predicts a nearly constant SOA yield from isoprene emissions across all SSP scenarios; as a result, it mostly follows isoprene emissions regardless of region and scenario. This is because the VBS scheme does not consider heterogeneous chemistry; in other words, there is no dependency on aerosol properties. The discrepancy between the explicit mechanism and VBS parameterization in this study is likely to occur for other SOA components as well, which may also have dependencies that cannot be captured by VBS parameterizations. This study highlights the need for more explicit chemistry or for parameterizations that capture the dependence on key physicochemical drivers when predicting SOA concentrations for climate studies. 
    more » « less
  5. null (Ed.)
    The Arctic has experienced a warming rate higher than the global mean in the past decades, but previous studies show that there are large uncertainties associated with future Arctic temperature projections. In this study, near- surface mean temperatures in the Arctic are analyzed from 22 models participating in phase 6 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP6). Compared with the ERA5 reanalysis, most CMIP6 models underestimate the observed mean temperature in the Arctic during 1979–2014. The largest cold biases are found over the Greenland Sea the Barents Sea, and the Kara Sea. Under the SSP1-2.6, SSP2-4.5, and SSP5-8.5 scenarios, the multimodel ensemble mean of 22 CMIP6 models exhibits significant Arctic warming in the future and the warming rate is more than twice that of the global/Northern Hemisphere mean. Model spread is the largest contributor to the overall uncertainty in projections, which accounts for 55.4% of the total uncertainty at the start of projections in 2015 and remains at 32.9% at the end of projections in 2095. Internal variability uncertainty accounts for 39.3% of the total uncertainty at the start of projections but decreases to 6.5% at the end of the twenty-first century, while scenario uncertainty rapidly increases from 5.3% to 60.7% over the period from 2015 to 2095. It is found that the largest model uncertainties are consistent cold bias in the oceanic regions in the models, which is connected with excessive sea ice area caused by the weak Atlantic poleward heat transport. These results suggest that large intermodel spread and uncertainties exist in the CMIP6 models’ simulation and projection of the Arctic near- surface temperature and that there are different responses over the ocean and land in the Arctic to greenhouse gas forcing. Future research needs to pay more attention to the different characteristics and mechanisms of Arctic Ocean and land warming to reduce the spread. 
    more » « less