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  1. Abstract

    Regional geoengineering, by reflecting sunlight over a very limited spatial domain, might be considered as a means to target specific regional impacts of climate change. One of the obvious concerns raised by such approaches is the extent to which the resulting effects would be detectable well beyond the targeted region (e.g. in neighbouring countries). A few studies have explored this question for targeted regions that are still comparatively large. We consider idealized simulations with increased ocean albedo over relatively small domains; the Gulf of Mexico (0.23% of Earth's surface) and over the Australian Great Barrier Reef (0.07%), both with negligible global radiative forcing. Applied over these very small domains, the only statistically significant non-local changes we find are some limited reduction on summer precipitation in Florida in the Gulf of Mexico case (adjacent to the targeted region). The lack of transboundary effects suggests that governance needs for such targeted interventions are quite distinct from those for more global sunlight reflection.

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  2. Solar geoengineering, or deliberate climate modification, has been receiving increased attention in recent years. Given the far-reaching consequences of any potential solar geoengineering deployments, it is prudent to identify inherent biases, blind spots, and other potential issues at all stages of the research process. Here we articulate a feminist science-based framework to concretely describe how solar geoengineering researchers can be more inclusive of different perspectives and potentially contradictory conclusions, in the process illuminating potential implicit bias and enhancing the conclusions that can be gained from their studies. Importantly, this framework is an adoptable method of practice that can be refined, with the aim of conducting better research in solar geoengineering. As an illustration, we retrospectively apply this framework to a well-read solar geoengineering study (also led by the first author of this study), improving transparency by revealing its implicit values, conclusions made from its evidence base, and the methodologies that study pursues. We conclude with a set of recommendations for the geoengineering research community whereby more inclusive research can become a regular part of practice. Throughout this process, we illustrate how feminist science scholars can use this approach to study climate modeling.

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  3. Abstract. The Geoengineering Model Intercomparison Project (GeoMIP) is a coordinating framework, started in 2010, that includes a series of standardized climate model experiments aimed at understanding the physical processes and projected impacts of solar geoengineering. Numerous experiments have been conducted, and numerous more have been proposed as “test-bed” experiments, spanning a variety of geoengineering techniques aimed at modifying the planetary radiation budget: stratospheric aerosol injection, marine cloud brightening, surface albedo modification, cirrus cloud thinning, and sunshade mirrors. To date, more than 100 studies have been published that used results from GeoMIP simulations. Here we provide a critical assessment of GeoMIP and its experiments. We discuss its successes and missed opportunities, for instance in terms of which experiments elicited more interest from the scientific community and which did not, and the potential reasons why that happened. We also discuss the knowledge that GeoMIP has contributed to the field of geoengineering research and climate science as a whole: what have we learned in terms of intermodel differences, robustness of the projected outcomes for specific geoengineering methods, and future areas of model development that would be necessary in the future? We also offer multiple examples of cases where GeoMIP experiments were fundamental for international assessments of climate change. Finally, we provide a series of recommendations, regarding both future experiments and more general activities, with the goal of continuously deepening our understanding of the effects of potential geoengineering approaches and reducing uncertainties in climate outcomes, important for assessing wider impacts on societies and ecosystems. In doing so, we refine the purpose of GeoMIP and outline a series of criteria whereby GeoMIP can best serve its participants, stakeholders, and the broader science community. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2024
  4. Purpose Three Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 models involved in the G4 experiment of the Geoengineering Model Inter-comparison Project (GeoMIP) project were used to investigate the impact of stratospheric aerosol injection (SAI) on the mean surface air temperature and precipitation extremes in Africa. Design/methodology/approach This impact was examined under G4 and Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 4.5 scenarios on the total precipitation, the number of rainy days (RR1) and of days with heavy rainfall (R20 mm), the rainfall intensity (SDII), the maximum length of consecutive wet (CWD) and dry (CDD) days and on the maximum rainfall in five consecutive days (Rx5day) across four regions: Western Africa (WAF), Eastern Africa (EAF), Northern Africa and Southern Africa (SAF). Findings During the 50 years (2020–2069) of SAI, mean continental warming is −0.40°C lower in G4 than under RCP4.5. During the post-injection period (2070–2090), the temperature continues to increase, but at a lower rate (−0.19°C) than in RCP4.5. During SAI, annual rainfall in G4 is significantly greater than in RCP4.5 over the high latitudes (especially over SAF) and lower over the tropics. The termination of SAI leads to a significant increase of rainfall over Sahel and EAF and a decrease over SAF and Guinea Coast (WAF). Practical implications Compared to RCP4.5, SAI will contribute to reducing significantly regional warming but with a significant decrease of rainfall in the tropics where rainfed agriculture account for a large part of the economies. After the SAI period, the risk of drought over the extratropical regions (especially in SAF) will be mitigated, while the risk of floods will be exacerbated in the Central Sahel. Originality/value To meet the Paris Agreement, African countries will implement mitigation measures to contribute to keep the surface air temperature below 2°C. Geoengineering with SAI is suggested as an option to meet this challenge, but its implication on the African climate system needs a deep investigation in the aim to understand the impacts on temperature and precipitation extremes. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this study is the first to investigate the potential impact of SAI using the G4 experiment of GeoMIP on temperature and precipitation extremes of the African continent. 
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  5. Abstract Stratospheric aerosol geoengineering has been proposed as a potential solution to reduce climate change and its impacts. Here, we explore the responses of the Hadley circulation (HC) intensity and the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) using the strategic stratospheric aerosol geoengineering, in which sulfur dioxide was injected into the stratosphere at four different locations to maintain the global-mean surface temperature and the interhemispheric and equator-to-pole temperature gradients at present-day values (baseline). Simulations show that, relative to the baseline, strategic stratospheric aerosol geoengineering generally maintains northern winter December–January–February (DJF) HC intensity under RCP8.5, while it overcompensates for the greenhouse gas (GHG)-forced southern winter June–July–August (JJA) HC intensity increase, producing a 3.5 ± 0.4% weakening. The residual change of southern HC intensity in JJA is mainly associated with stratospheric heating and tropospheric temperature response due to enhanced stratospheric aerosol concentrations. Geoengineering overcompensates for the GHG-driven northward ITCZ shifts, producing 0.7° ± 0.1° and 0.2° ± 0.1° latitude southward migrations in JJA and DJF, respectively relative to the baseline. These migrations are affected by tropical interhemispheric temperature differences both at the surface and in the free troposphere. Further strategies for reducing the residual change of HC intensity and ITCZ shifts under stratospheric aerosol geoengineering could involve minimizing stratospheric heating and restoring and preserving the present-day tropical tropospheric interhemispheric temperature differences. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2023
  6. Abstract

    Stratospheric aerosol injection (SAI) is a prospective climate intervention technology that would seek to abate climate change by deflecting back into space a small fraction of the incoming solar radiation. While most consideration given to SAI assumes a global intervention, this paper considers an alternative scenario whereby SAI might be deployed only in the subpolar regions. Subpolar deployment would quickly envelope the poles as well and could arrest or reverse ice and permafrost melt at high latitudes. This would yield global benefit by retarding sea level rise. Given that effective SAI deployment could be achieved at much lower altitudes in these regions than would be required in the tropics, it is commonly assumed that subpolar deployment would present fewer aeronautical challenges. An SAI deployment intended to reduce average surface temperatures in both the Arctic and Antarctic regions by 2 °C is deemed here to be feasible at relatively low cost with conventional technologies. However, we do not find that such a deployment could be undertaken with a small fleet of pre-existing aircraft, nor that relegating such a program to these sparsely populated regions would obviate the myriad governance challenges that would confront any such deployment. Nevertheless, given its feasibility and potential global benefit, the prospect of subpolar-focused SAI warrants greater attention.

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  7. Abstract. Sulfate geoengineering (SG) methods based on lower stratospheric tropical injection of sulfur dioxide (SO2) have been widely discussed in recent years, focusing on the direct and indirect effects they would have on the climate system. Here a potential alternative method is discussed, where sulfur emissions are located at the surface or in the troposphere in the form of carbonyl sulfide (COS) gas. There are two time-dependent chemistry–climate model experiments designed from the years 2021 to 2055, assuming a 40 Tg-Syr-1 artificial global flux of COS, which is geographically distributed following the present-day anthropogenic COS surface emissions (SG-COS-SRF) or a 6 Tg-Syr-1 injection of COS in the tropical upper troposphere (SG-COS-TTL). The budget of COS and sulfur species is discussed, as are the effects of both SG-COS strategies on the stratospheric sulfate aerosol optical depth (∼Δτ=0.080 in the years 2046–2055), aerosol effective radius (0.46 µm), surface SOx deposition (+8.9 % for SG-COS-SRF; +3.3 % for SG-COS-TTL), and tropopause radiative forcing (RF; ∼-1.5 W m−2 in all-sky conditions in both SG-COS experiments). Indirect effects on ozone, methane and stratospheric water vapour are also considered, along with the COS direct contribution. According to our model results, the resulting net RF is −1.3 W m−2, for SG-COS-SRF, and −1.5 W m−2, for SG-COS-TTL, and it is comparable to the corresponding RF of −1.7 W m−2 obtained with a sustained injection of 4 Tg-Syr-1 in the tropical lower stratosphere in the form of SO2 (SG-SO2, which is able to produce a comparable increase of the sulfate aerosol optical depth). Significant changes in the stratospheric ozone response are found in both SG-COS experiments with respect to SG-SO2 (∼5 DU versus +1.4 DU globally). According to the model results, the resulting ultraviolet B (UVB) perturbation at the surface accounts for −4.3 % as a global and annual average (versus −2.4 % in the SG-SO2 case), with a springtime Antarctic decrease of −2.7 % (versus a +5.8 % increase in the SG-SO2 experiment). Overall, we find that an increase in COS emissions may be feasible and produce a more latitudinally uniform forcing without the need for the deployment of stratospheric aircraft. However, our assumption that the rate of COS uptake by soils and plants does not vary with increasing COS concentrations will need to be investigated in future work, and more studies are needed on the prolonged exposure effects to higher COS values in humans and ecosystems. 
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  8. Abstract. Stratospheric aerosol injection (SAI), as a possible supplement to emission reduction, has the potential to reduce some of the risks associated with climate change. Adding aerosols to the lower stratosphere would result in temporary global cooling. However, different choices for the aerosol injection latitude(s) and season(s) have been shown to lead to significant differences in regional surface climate, introducing a design aspect to SAI. Past research has shown that there are at least three independent degrees of freedom (DOFs) that can be used to simultaneously manage three different climate goals. Knowing how many more DOFs there are, and thus how many independent climate goals can be simultaneously managed, is essential to understanding fundamental limits of how well SAI might compensate for anthropogenic climate change, and evaluating any underlying trade-offs between different climate goals. Here, we quantify the number of meaningfully independent DOFs of the SAI design space. This number of meaningfully independent DOFs depends on both the amount of cooling and the climate variables used for quantifying the changes in surface climate. At low levels of global cooling, only a small set of injection choices yield detectably different surface climate responses. For a cooling level of 1–1.5 ∘C, we find that there are likely between six and eight meaningfully independent DOFs. This narrows down the range of available DOFs and also reveals new opportunities for exploring alternate SAI designs with different distributions of climate impacts. 
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  9. null (Ed.)
    Abstract The response of the Indian Summer Monsoon (ISM) to global warming, solar geoengineering and its termination is examined using the multi-model mean of seven global climate model simulations from G2 experiment of the Geoengineering Model Intercomparison Project. Under the global warming scenario, land–ocean temperature contrasts and low-level monsoon circulation progressively strengthen accompanied by enhanced precipitation over the Indian subcontinent. Notably, in the solar geoengineered scenario, marginal surface cooling is projected over the majority of the ISM region, and there is strengthening of both upper and lower level circulation. However, preferential precipitation near Western Ghats leads to dry bias over majority of Indian land. Upon the termination of the geoengineering, the climatic conditions—temperature, precipitation, winds and moisture would abruptly change to what it would have been under the global warming scenario. Thus, this may be important to note that such changes may need attention for the future mitigation and adaptation purposes if solar geoengineering is required to implement in future. 
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