Identifying the sources of uncertainty in climate model simulations of solar radiation modification with the G6sulfur and G6solar Geoengineering Model Intercomparison Project (GeoMIP) simulations.

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From: Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics(Vol. 21, Issue 13)
Publisher: Copernicus GmbH
Document Type: Article
Length: 447 words

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Abstract :

We present here results from the Geoengineering Model Intercomparison Project (GeoMIP) simulations for the experiments G6sulfur and G6solar for six Earth system models participating in the Climate Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP) Phase 6. The aim of the experiments is to reduce the warming that results from a high-tier emission scenario (Shared Socioeconomic Pathways SSP5-8.5) to that resulting from a medium-tier emission scenario (SSP2-4.5). These simulations aim to analyze the response of climate models to a reduction in incoming surface radiation as a means to reduce global surface temperatures, and they do so either by simulating a stratospheric sulfate aerosol layer or, in a more idealized way, through a uniform reduction in the solar constant in the model. We find that over the final two decades of this century there are considerable inter-model spreads in the needed injection amounts of sulfate (29 ± 9 Tg-SO.sub.2 /yr between 2081 and 2100), in the latitudinal distribution of the aerosol cloud and in the stratospheric temperature changes resulting from the added aerosol layer. Even in the simpler G6solar experiment, there is a spread in the needed solar dimming to achieve the same global temperature target (1.91 ± 0.44 %). The analyzed models already show significant differences in the response to the increasing CO.sub.2 concentrations for global mean temperatures and global mean precipitation (2.05 K ± 0.42 K and 2.28 ± 0.80 %, respectively, for SSP5-8.5 minus SSP2-4.5 averaged over 2081-2100). With aerosol injection, the differences in how the aerosols spread further change some of the underlying uncertainties, such as the global mean precipitation response (-3.79 ± 0.76 % for G6sulfur compared to -2.07 ± 0.40 % for G6solar against SSP2-4.5 between 2081 and 2100). These differences in the behavior of the aerosols also result in a larger uncertainty in the regional surface temperature response among models in the case of the G6sulfur simulations, suggesting the need to devise various, more specific experiments to single out and resolve particular sources of uncertainty. The spread in the modeled response suggests that a degree of caution is necessary when using these results for assessing specific impacts of geoengineering in various aspects of the Earth system. However, all models agree that compared to a scenario with unmitigated warming, stratospheric aerosol geoengineering has the potential to both globally and locally reduce the increase in surface temperatures.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A667604760