skip to main content


The NSF Public Access Repository (NSF-PAR) system and access will be unavailable from 11:00 PM ET on Friday, September 29 until 11:59 PM ET on Saturday, September 30 due to maintenance. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Search for: All records

Creators/Authors contains: "MacMartin, Douglas G."

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).
What is a DOI Number?

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

  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.

    more » « less
  2. 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. 
    more » « less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2023
  3. 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.

    more » « less
  4. 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. 
    more » « less
  5. Abstract. Simulating the complex aerosol microphysical processes in a comprehensive Earth system model can be very computationally intensive; therefore many models utilize a modal approach, where aerosol size distributions are represented by observation-derived lognormal functions, and internal mixing between different aerosol species within an aerosol mode is often assumed. This approach has been shown to yield satisfactory results across a large array of applications, but there may be cases where the simplification in this approach may produce some shortcomings. In this work we show specific conditions under which the current approximations used in some modal approaches might yield incorrect answers. Using results from the Community Earth System Model v1 (CESM1) Geoengineering Large Ensemble (GLENS) project, we analyze the effects in the troposphere of a continuous increasing load of sulfate aerosols in the stratosphere, with the aim of counteracting the surface warming produced by non-mitigated increasing greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations between 2020–2100. We show that the simulated results pertaining to the evolution of sea salt and dust aerosols in the upper troposphere are not realistic due to internal mixing assumptions in the modal aerosol treatment, which in this case reduces the size, and thus the settling velocities, of those particles and ultimately changes their mixing ratio below the tropopause. The unnatural increase of these aerosol species affects, in turn, the simulation of upper tropospheric ice formation, resulting in an increase in ice clouds that is not due to any meaningful physical mechanisms. While we show that this does not significantly affect the overall results of the simulations, we point to some areas where results should be interpreted with care in modeling simulations using similar approximations: in particular, in the evolution of upper tropospheric clouds when large amounts of sulfate are present in the stratosphere, as after a large explosive volcanic eruption or in similar stratospheric aerosol injection cases. Finally, we suggest that this can be avoided if sulfate aerosols in the coarse mode, the predominant species in these situations, are treated separately from other aerosol species in the model. 
    more » « less
  6. Abstract

    Stratospheric aerosol injection (SAI) of reflective sulfate aerosols has been proposed to temporarily reduce the impacts of global warming. In this study, we compare two SAI simulations which inject at different altitudes to provide the same amount of cooling, finding that lower‐altitude SAI requires 64% more injection. SAI at higher altitudes cools the surface more efficiently per unit injection than lower‐altitude SAI through two primary mechanisms: the longer lifetimes of SO2and SO4at higher altitudes, and the water vapor feedback, in which lower‐altitude SAI causes more heating in the tropical cold point tropopause region, thereby increasing water vapor transport into the stratosphere and trapping more terrestrial infrared radiation that offsets some of the direct aerosol‐induced cooling. We isolate these individual mechanisms and find that the contribution of lifetime effects to differences in cooling efficiency is approximately five to six times larger than the contribution of the water vapor feedback.

    more » « less
  7. null (Ed.)
    Abstract. Stratospheric sulfate aerosol geoengineering is a proposed methodto temporarily intervene in the climate system to increase the reflectance of shortwave radiation and reduce mean global temperature. In previous climate modeling studies, choosing injection locations for geoengineering aerosols has, thus far, only utilized the average dynamics of stratospheric wind fields instead of accounting for the essential role of time-varying material transport barriers in turbulent atmospheric flows. Here we conduct the first analysis of sulfate aerosol dispersion in the stratosphere, comparing what is now a standard fixed-injection scheme with time-varying injection locations that harness short-term stratospheric diffusion barriers. We show how diffusive transport barriers can quickly be identified, and we provide an automated injection location selection algorithm using short forecast and reanalysis data. Within the first 7 d days of transport, the dynamics-based approach is able to produce particle distributions with greater global coverage than fixed-site methods with fewer injections. Additionally, this enhanced dispersion slows aerosol microphysical growth and can reduce the effective radii of aerosols up to 200–300 d after injection. While the long-term dynamics of aerosol dispersion are accurately predicted with transport barriers calculated from short forecasts, the long-term influence on radiative forcing is more difficult to predict and warrants deeper investigation. Statistically significant changes in radiative forcing at timescales beyond the forecasting window showed mixed results, potentially increasing or decreasing forcing after 1 year when compared to fixed injections. We conclude that future feasibility studies of geoengineering should consider the cooling benefits possible by strategically injecting sulfate aerosols at optimized time-varying locations. Our method of utilizing time-varying attracting and repelling structures shows great promise for identifying optimal dispersion locations, and radiative forcing impacts can be improved by considering additional meteorological variables. 
    more » « less
  8. Abstract

    The impacts of Stratospheric Aerosol Injection (SAI) strategies on the Southern Annular Mode (SAM) are analyzed with the Community Earth System Model. Using a set of simulations with fixed single‐point SO2injections we demonstrate the first‐order dependence of the SAM response on the latitude of injection, with the northern hemispheric and equatorial injections driving a response corresponding to a positive phase of SAM and the southern hemispheric injections driving a negative phase of SAM. We further demonstrate that the results can to first order explain the differences in the SAM responses diagnosed from the two recent large ensembles of geoengineering simulations utilizing more complex injection strategies – Geoengineering Large Ensemble and Assessing Responses and Impacts of Solar climate intervention on the Earth system with Stratospheric Aerosol Injection (GLENS and ARISE‐SAI) – as driven by the differences in the simulated sulfate aerosol distributions. Our results point to the meridional extent of aerosol‐induced lower stratospheric heating as an important driver of the sensitivity of the SAM response to the injection location.

    more » « less