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  1. Abstract

    By injecting SO2into the stratosphere at four latitudes (30°, 15°N/S), it might be possible not only to reduce global mean surface temperature but also to minimize changes in the equator‐to‐pole and inter‐hemispheric gradients of temperature, further reducing some of the impacts arising from climate change relative to equatorial injection. This can happen only if the aerosols are transported to higher latitudes by the stratospheric circulation, ensuring that a greater part of the solar radiation is reflected back to space at higher latitudes, compensating for the reduced sunlight. However, the stratospheric heating produced by these aerosols modifies the circulation and strengthens the stratospheric polar vortex which acts as a barrier to the transport of air toward the poles. We show how the heating results in a feedback where increasing injection rates lead to stronger high‐latitudinal transport barriers. This implies a potential limitation in the high‐latitude aerosol burden and subsequent cooling.

  2. Making informed future decisions about solar radiation modification (SRM; also known as solar geoengineering)—approaches such as stratospheric aerosol injection (SAI) that would cool the climate by reflecting sunlight—requires projections of the climate response and associated human and ecosystem impacts. These projections, in turn, will rely on simulations with global climate models. As with climate-change projections, these simulations need to adequately span a range of possible futures, describing different choices, such as start date and temperature target, as well as risks, such as termination or interruptions. SRM modeling simulations to date typically consider only a single scenario, often with some unrealistic or arbitrarily chosen elements (such as starting deployment in 2020), and have often been chosen based on scientific rather than policy-relevant considerations (e.g., choosing quite substantial cooling specifically to achieve a bigger response). This limits the ability to compare risks both between SRM and non-SRM scenarios and between different SRM scenarios. To address this gap, we begin by outlining some general considerations on scenario design for SRM. We then describe a specific set of scenarios to capture a range of possible policy choices and uncertainties and present corresponding SAI simulations intended for broad community use.
  3. 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 theremore »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.« less