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© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 03 Dec 2019

Submitted as: research article | 03 Dec 2019

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ESD.

Reaching 1.5 °C and 2.0 °C global surface temperature targets using stratospheric aerosol geoengineering

Simone Tilmes1, Douglas E. MacMartin2, Jan T. M. Lenaerts3, Leo van Kampenhout4, Laura Muntjewerf5, Lili Xia6, Cheryl S. Harrison7, Kristen M. Krumhardt8, Michael J. Mills1, Ben Kravitz9,10, and Alan Robock6 Simone Tilmes et al.
  • 1Atmospheric Chemistry, Observations, and Modeling Laboratory, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO, USA
  • 2Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA
  • 3Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder, CO, USA
  • 4Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands
  • 5Department of Geoscience and Remote Sensing, Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands
  • 6Department of Environmental Sciences, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, USA
  • 7Port Isabel Campus, University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley, USA
  • 8Climate Global Dynamics Laboratory, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO, USA
  • 9Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, USA
  • 10Atmospheric Sciences and Global Change Division, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA, USA

Abstract. We propose new testbed model experiments for the Geoengineering Model Intercomparison Project (GeoMIP) that are designed to limit global warming to 1.5 °C or 2.0 °C above 1850–1900 conditions using stratospheric aerosol geoengineering (SAG). The new modeling experiments use the overshoot scenario defined in CMIP6 (SSP5-34-OS) as a baseline scenario and are designed to reduce side effects of SAG in reaching three temperature targets: global mean surface temperature, and inter-hemispheric and pole-to-equator surface temperature gradients. We further compare results to another SAG simulation using a high emission scenario (SSP5-85) as a baseline scenario in order to investigate the dependency of impacts using different injection amounts to offset different amounts of warming by SAG. The new testbed simulations are performed with the CESM2(WACCM6). We use a feedback algorithm that identifies the needed amount of sulfur dioxide injections in the stratosphere at four predefined latitudes, 30° N, 15° N, 15° S, and 30° S, to reach the three temperature targets. Here we analyze climate variables and quantities that matter for societal and ecosystem impacts. We find that changes from present day conditions (2015–2025) in some variables depend strongly on the defined temperature target (1.5 °C vs 2.0 °C). These include surface air temperature and related impacts, the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), which impacts ocean net primary productivity, and changes in ice sheet surface mass balance, which impacts sea-level rise. Others, including global precipitation changes and the recovery of the Antarctic ozone hole, depend strongly on the amount of SAG application. Furthermore, land net primary productivity as well as ocean acidification depend mostly on the global atmospheric CO2 concentration and therefore the baseline scenario. Multi-model comparisons of the experiments proposed here would help identify consequences of scenarios that include strong mitigation, carbon dioxide removal with some SAG application, on societal impacts and ecosystems.

Simone Tilmes et al.

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Simone Tilmes et al.

Simone Tilmes et al.


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Latest update: 24 Feb 2020
Publications Copernicus
Short summary
This paper introduces new geoengineering model experiments as part of a larger model intercomparison effort, using reflective particles to block some of the incoming solar radiation to reach surface temperature targets. Outcomes of these applications are contrasted that are based on a high greenhouse gas emission pathway and a pathway with strong mitigation and negative emissions after 2040. We compare quantities that matter for societal and ecosystem impacts between the different scenarios.
This paper introduces new geoengineering model experiments as part of a larger model...