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Journal Article

Stratospheric ozone response to sulfate aerosol and solar dimming climate interventions based on the G6 Geoengineering Model Intercomparison Project (GeoMIP) simulations


Niemeier,  Ulrike
Stratospheric Forcing and Climate, The Atmosphere in the Earth System, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;

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Tilmes, S., Visioni, D., Jones, A., Haywood, J., Seferian, R., Nabat, P., et al. (2022). Stratospheric ozone response to sulfate aerosol and solar dimming climate interventions based on the G6 Geoengineering Model Intercomparison Project (GeoMIP) simulations. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 22, 4557-4579. doi:10.5194/acp-22-4557-2022.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000A-7B8E-D
This study assesses the impacts of stratospheric aerosol intervention (SAI) and solar dimming on stratospheric ozone based on the G6 Geoengineering Model Intercomparison Project (GeoMIP) experiments, called G6sulfur and G6solar. For G6sulfur, an enhanced stratospheric sulfate aerosol burden reflects some of the incoming solar radiation back into space to cool the surface climate, while for G6solar, the reduction in the global solar constant in the model achieves the same goal. Both experiments use the high emissions scenario of SSP5-8.5 as the baseline experiment and define surface temperature from the medium emission scenario of SSP2-4.5 as the target. In total, six Earth system models (ESMs) performed these experiments, and three out of the six models include interactive stratospheric chemistry. The increase in absorbing sulfate aerosols in the stratosphere results in a heating of the lower tropical stratospheric temperatures by between 5 to 13 K for the six different ESMs, leading to changes in stratospheric transport, water vapor, and other related changes. The increase in the aerosol burden also increases aerosol surface area density, which is important for heterogeneous chemical reactions. The resulting changes in the springtime Antarctic ozone between the G6sulfur and SSP5-8.5, based on the three models with interactive chemistry, include an initial reduction in total column ozone (TCO) of 10 DU (ranging between 0-30 DU for the three models) and up to 20 DU (between 10-40 DU) by the end of the century. The relatively small reduction in TCO for the multi-model mean in the first 2 decades results from variations in the required sulfur injections in the models and differences in the complexity of the chemistry schemes. In contrast, in the Northern Hemisphere (NH) high latitudes, no significant changes can be identified due to the large natural variability in the models, with little change in TCO by the end of the century. However, all three models with interactive chemistry consistently simulate an increase in TCO in the NH mid-latitudes up to 20 DU, compared to SSP5-8.5, in addition to the 20 DU increase resulting from increasing greenhouse gases between SSP2-4.5 and SSP5-8.5. In contrast to G6sulfur, G6solar does not significantly change stratospheric temperatures compared to the baseline simulation. Solar dimming results in little change in TCO compared to SSP5-8.5. Only in the tropics does G6solar result in an increase of TCO of up to 8 DU, compared to SSP2-4.5, which may counteract the projected reduction in SSP5-8.5. This work identifies differences in the response of SAI and solar dimming on ozone for three ESMs with interactive chemistry, which are partly due to the differences and shortcomings in the complexity of aerosol microphysics, chemistry, and the description of ozone photolysis. It also identifies that solar dimming, if viewed as an analog to SAI using a predominantly scattering aerosol, would succeed in reducing tropospheric and surface temperatures, but any stratospheric changes due to the high forcing greenhouse gas scenario, including the potential harmful increase in TCO beyond historical values, would prevail.