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Title: The Hydrological Impact of Geoengineering in the Geoengineering Model Intercomparison Project (GeoMIP)

Abstract: The hydrologic impact of enhancing Earth’s albedo due to solar radiation management (SRM) is investigated using simulations from 12 models contributing to the Geoengineering Model Intercomparison Project (GeoMIP). An artificial experiment is investigated, where global mean temperature is preserved at pre-industrial conditions, while atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations are quadrupled. The associated reduction of downwelling surface solar radiation in a high CO2 environment leads to a reduction of global evaporation of 10% and 4% and precipitation of 6.1% and 6.3% over land and ocean, respectively. An initial reduction of latent heat flux at the surface is largely driven by reduced evapotranspiration over land with instantly increasing CO2 concentrations in both experiments. A warming surface associated with the transient adjustment in the 4xCO2 experiment further generates an increase of global precipitation, with considerable regional changes, such as a significant precipitation reduction of 7% for the North American summer monsoon. Reduced global precipitation persists in the geoengineered experiment where temperatures are stabilized, with considerable regional rainfall deficits. Precipitation reductions that are consistent in sign across models are identified in the geoengineered experiment over monsoonal land regions of East Asia (6%), North America (7%), South America (6%) and South Africa (5%). In contrastmore » to the 4xCO2 experiment, where the frequency of months with heavy precipitation intensity is increased by over 50%, it is reduced by up to 20% in the geoengineering scenario . The reduction in heavy precipitation is more pronounced over land than over the ocean, and accompanies a stronger reduction in evaporation over land. For northern mid-latitudes, maximum precipitation reduction over land ranges from 1 to 16% for individual models. For 45-65°N, the frequency of median to high intensity precipitation in summer is strongly reduced. These changes in precipitation in both total amount and frequency of extremes, point to a considerable weakening of the hydrological cycle in a geoengineered world.« less
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Journal Article
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Journal Name: Journal of Geophysical Research. D. (Atmospheres), 118(19):11,036-11,058
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
Hyrologic impact; geoengineering; Earth's albedo; solar radiation management