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Title: An overview of the Earth system science of solar geoengineering: Overview of the earth system science of solar geoengineering

Abstract

Solar geoengineering has been proposed as a means to cool the planet by increasing the reflection of sunlight back to space, for example by injecting reflective aerosol particles into the middle atmosphere. Such proposals are not able to physically substitute for mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions as a response to the risks of climate change, but might eventually be applied as a complementary approach to reduce climate risks. Thus, the Earth system consequences of solar geoengineering are central to understanding its potentials and risks. Here we review the state-of-the-art knowledge about geoengineering by stratospheric sulphate aerosol injection. We examine the common responses found in studies of an idealized form of solar geoengineering, in which the intensity of incoming sunlight is directly reduced in models. The studies reviewed are consistent in suggesting that solar geoengineering would generally reduce the differences in climate in comparison to future scenarios with elevated greenhouse gas concentrations and no solar geoengineering. However, it is clear that a solar geoengineered climate would be novel in some respects, for example a notable reduction in the intensity of the hydrological cycle. We provide an overview of the unique aspects of the response to stratospheric aerosol injection and the uncertaintiesmore » around its consequences. We also consider the issues raised by the partial control over the climate that solar geoengineering would allow. Finally, this overview also highlights the key research gaps that will need to be resolved in order to effectively guide future decisions on the potential use of solar geoengineering.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1];  [2];  [3]; ORCiD logo [4]
  1. Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS), Potsdam Germany; John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), University of Harvard, Cambridge MA USA
  2. Atmospheric Sciences and Global Change Division, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland WA USA
  3. Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS), Potsdam Germany
  4. Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo, Oslo Norway
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1342307
Report Number(s):
PNNL-SA-116097
Journal ID: ISSN 1757-7780; 400403809
DOE Contract Number:
AC05-76RL01830
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change; Journal Volume: 7; Journal Issue: 6
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
58 GEOSCIENCES

Citation Formats

Irvine, Peter J., Kravitz, Ben, Lawrence, Mark G., and Muri, Helene. An overview of the Earth system science of solar geoengineering: Overview of the earth system science of solar geoengineering. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.1002/wcc.423.
Irvine, Peter J., Kravitz, Ben, Lawrence, Mark G., & Muri, Helene. An overview of the Earth system science of solar geoengineering: Overview of the earth system science of solar geoengineering. United States. doi:10.1002/wcc.423.
Irvine, Peter J., Kravitz, Ben, Lawrence, Mark G., and Muri, Helene. Thu . "An overview of the Earth system science of solar geoengineering: Overview of the earth system science of solar geoengineering". United States. doi:10.1002/wcc.423.
@article{osti_1342307,
title = {An overview of the Earth system science of solar geoengineering: Overview of the earth system science of solar geoengineering},
author = {Irvine, Peter J. and Kravitz, Ben and Lawrence, Mark G. and Muri, Helene},
abstractNote = {Solar geoengineering has been proposed as a means to cool the planet by increasing the reflection of sunlight back to space, for example by injecting reflective aerosol particles into the middle atmosphere. Such proposals are not able to physically substitute for mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions as a response to the risks of climate change, but might eventually be applied as a complementary approach to reduce climate risks. Thus, the Earth system consequences of solar geoengineering are central to understanding its potentials and risks. Here we review the state-of-the-art knowledge about geoengineering by stratospheric sulphate aerosol injection. We examine the common responses found in studies of an idealized form of solar geoengineering, in which the intensity of incoming sunlight is directly reduced in models. The studies reviewed are consistent in suggesting that solar geoengineering would generally reduce the differences in climate in comparison to future scenarios with elevated greenhouse gas concentrations and no solar geoengineering. However, it is clear that a solar geoengineered climate would be novel in some respects, for example a notable reduction in the intensity of the hydrological cycle. We provide an overview of the unique aspects of the response to stratospheric aerosol injection and the uncertainties around its consequences. We also consider the issues raised by the partial control over the climate that solar geoengineering would allow. Finally, this overview also highlights the key research gaps that will need to be resolved in order to effectively guide future decisions on the potential use of solar geoengineering.},
doi = {10.1002/wcc.423},
journal = {Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change},
number = 6,
volume = 7,
place = {United States},
year = {Thu Jul 14 00:00:00 EDT 2016},
month = {Thu Jul 14 00:00:00 EDT 2016}
}