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  1. 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.
  2. Abstract This study offers an overview of the low-frequency (i.e., monthly to seasonal) evolution, dynamics, predictability, and surface impacts of a rare Southern Hemisphere (SH) stratospheric warming that occurred in austral spring 2019. Between late August and mid-September 2019, the stratospheric circumpolar westerly jet weakened rapidly, and Antarctic stratospheric temperatures rose dramatically. The deceleration of the vortex at 10 hPa was as drastic as that of the first-ever-observed major sudden stratospheric warming in the SH during 2002, while the mean Antarctic warming over the course of spring 2019 broke the previous record of 2002 by ∼50% in the midstratosphere. This event was preceded by a poleward shift of the SH polar night jet in the uppermost stratosphere in early winter, which was then followed by record-strong planetary wave-1 activity propagating upward from the troposphere in August that acted to dramatically weaken the polar vortex throughout the depth of the stratosphere. The weakened vortex winds and elevated temperatures moved downward to the surface from mid-October to December, promoting a record strong swing of the southern annular mode (SAM) to its negative phase. This record-negative SAM appeared to be a primary driver of the extreme hot and dry conditions over subtropical easternmore »Australia that accompanied the severe wildfires that occurred in late spring 2019. State-of-the-art dynamical seasonal forecast systems skillfully predicted the significant vortex weakening of spring 2019 and subsequent development of negative SAM from as early as late July.« less
  3. Non-technical summary We summarize some of the past year's most important findings within climate change-related research. New research has improved our understanding of Earth's sensitivity to carbon dioxide, finds that permafrost thaw could release more carbon emissions than expected and that the uptake of carbon in tropical ecosystems is weakening. Adverse impacts on human society include increasing water shortages and impacts on mental health. Options for solutions emerge from rethinking economic models, rights-based litigation, strengthened governance systems and a new social contract. The disruption caused by COVID-19 could be seized as an opportunity for positive change, directing economic stimulus towards sustainable investments. Technical summary A synthesis is made of ten fields within climate science where there have been significant advances since mid-2019, through an expert elicitation process with broad disciplinary scope. Findings include: (1) a better understanding of equilibrium climate sensitivity; (2) abrupt thaw as an accelerator of carbon release from permafrost; (3) changes to global and regional land carbon sinks; (4) impacts of climate change on water crises, including equity perspectives; (5) adverse effects on mental health from climate change; (6) immediate effects on climate of the COVID-19 pandemic and requirements for recovery packages to deliver on the Parismore »Agreement; (7) suggested long-term changes to governance and a social contract to address climate change, learning from the current pandemic, (8) updated positive cost–benefit ratio and new perspectives on the potential for green growth in the short- and long-term perspective; (9) urban electrification as a strategy to move towards low-carbon energy systems and (10) rights-based litigation as an increasingly important method to address climate change, with recent clarifications on the legal standing and representation of future generations. Social media summary Stronger permafrost thaw, COVID-19 effects and growing mental health impacts among highlights of latest climate science.« less