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Title: Atlantic hurricane surge response to geoengineering

Devastating Atlantic hurricanes are relatively rare events. However their intensity and frequency in a warming world may rapidly increase by a factor of 2-7 for each degree of increase in mean global temperature. Geoengineering by stratospheric sulphate aerosol injection cools the tropics relative to the polar regions, including the hurricane main development region in the Atlantic, suggesting that geoengineering may be an effective method of controlling hurricanes. We examine this hypothesis using 8 Earth System Model simulations of climate under the GeoMIP G3 and G4 schemes that use stratospheric aerosols to reduce the radiative forcing under the RCP4.5 scenario. Global mean temperature increases are greatly ameliorated by geoengineering, and tropical temperature increases are at most half of those in RCP4.5, but sulphate injection would have to double between 2020 and 2070 to balance RCP 4.5 to nearly 10 Tg SO2 yr-1, with consequent implications for damage to stratospheric ozone. We project changes in storm frequencies using a temperature-dependent Generalized Extreme Value statistical model calibrated by historical storm surges from 1923 and observed temperatures. The numbers of storm surge events as big as the one that caused the 2005 Katrina hurricane are reduced by about 50% compared with no geoengineering, butmore » this is only marginally statistically significant. However, when sea level rise differences at 2070 between RCP4.5 and geoengineering are factored in to coastal flood risk, we find that expected flood levels are reduced by about 40 cm for 5 year events and perhaps halved for 50 year surges.« less
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0027-8424; 400403809
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America; Journal Volume: 112; Journal Issue: 45
National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC (United States)
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States