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  1. Abstract

    Stratospheric aerosol geoengineering focused on the Arctic could substantially reduce local and worldwide impacts of anthropogenic global warming. Because the Arctic receives little sunlight during the winter, stratospheric aerosols present in the winter at high latitudes have little impact on the climate, whereas stratospheric aerosols present during the summer achieve larger changes in radiative forcing. Injecting SO2in the spring leads to peak aerosol optical depth (AOD) in the summer. We demonstrate that spring injection produces approximately twice as much summer AOD as year‐round injection and restores approximately twice as much September sea ice, resulting in less increase in stratospheric sulfur burden, stratospheric heating, and stratospheric ozone depletion per unit of sea ice restored. We also find that differences in AOD between different seasonal injection strategies are small compared to the difference between annual and spring injection.

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  2. Abstract

    Simulations of stratospheric aerosol geoengineering have typically considered injections at a constant rate over the entire year. However, the seasonal variability of both sunlight and the stratospheric circulation suggests seasonally dependent injection strategies. We simulated single‐point injections of the same amount of SO2in each of the four seasons and at five different latitudes (30°S, 15°S, equator, 15°N, and 30°N), 5 km above the tropopause. Our findings suggest that injecting only during one season reduces the amount of SO2needed to achieve a certain aerosol optical depth, thus potentially reducing some of the side effects of geoengineering. We find, in particular, that injections at 15°N or 15°S in spring of the corresponding hemisphere results in the largest reductions in incoming solar radiation. Compared to annual injections, by injecting in the different seasons we identify additional distinct spatiotemporal aerosol optical depth patterns, thanks to seasonal differences in the stratospheric circulation.

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  3. 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. 
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    Abstract. Previous climate modeling studies demonstrate the ability of feedback-regulated, stratospheric aerosol geoengineering with injection at multiple independent latitudes to meet multiple simultaneous temperature-based objectives in the presence of anthropogenic climate change. However, the impacts of climate change are not limited to rising temperatures but also include changes in precipitation, loss of sea ice, and many more; knowing how a given geoengineering strategy will affect each of these climate metrics is vital to understanding the limits and trade-offs of geoengineering. In this study, we first introduce a new method of visualizing the design space in which desired climate outcomes are represented by 2-D surfaces on a 3-D graph. Surface orientations represent how different injection choices influence that objective, and intersecting surfaces represent objectives which can be met simultaneously. Using this representation as a guide, we present simulations of two new strategies for feedback-regulated aerosol injection, using the Community Earth System Model with the Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model – CESM1(WACCM). The first simultaneously manages global mean temperature, tropical precipitation centroid, and Arctic sea ice extent, while the second manages global mean precipitation, tropical precipitation centroid, and Arctic sea ice extent. Both simulations control the tropical precipitation centroid to within 5 % of the goal, and the latter controls global mean precipitation to within 1 % of the goal. Additionally, the first simulation overcompensates sea ice, while the second undercompensates sea ice; all of these results are consistent with the expectations of our design space model. In addition to showing that precipitation-based climate metrics can be managed using feedback alongside other goals, our simulations validate the utility of our design space visualization in predicting our climate model behavior under a given geoengineering strategy, and together they help illustrate the fundamental limits and trade-offs of stratospheric aerosol geoengineering. 
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  7. While reducing anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions remains the most essential element of any strategy to manage climate change risk, it is also in principle possible to directly cool the climate by reflecting some sunlight back to space. Such climate engineering approaches include adding aerosols to the stratosphere and marine cloud brightening. Assessing whether these ideas could reduce risk requires a broad, multidisciplinary research effort spanning climate science, social sciences, and governance. However, if such strategies were ever used, the effort would also constitute one of the most critical engineering design and control challenges ever considered: making real-time decisions for a highly uncertain and nonlinear dynamic system with many input variables, many measurements, and a vast number of internal degrees of freedom, the dynamics of which span a wide range of timescales. Here, we review the engineering design aspects of climate engineering, discussing both progress to date and remaining challenges that will need to be addressed. 
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