Expanding the design space of stratospheric aerosol geoengineering to include precipitation-based objectives and explore trade-offs

Lee, Walker; MacMartin, Douglas; Visioni, Daniele; Kravitz, Ben

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.



Lee, Walker / MacMartin, Douglas / Visioni, Daniele / et al: Expanding the design space of stratospheric aerosol geoengineering to include precipitation-based objectives and explore trade-offs. 2020. Copernicus Publications.


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