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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-802
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-802
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  17 Aug 2020

17 Aug 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

North Atlantic Oscillation response in GeoMIP experiments G6solar and G6sulfur: why detailed modelling is needed for understanding regional implications of solar radiation management

Andy Jones1, Jim M. Haywood1,2, Anthony C. Jones3, Simone Tilmes4, Ben Kravitz5,6, and Alan Robock7 Andy Jones et al.
  • 1Met Office Hadley Centre, Exeter, EX1 3PB, UK
  • 2Global Systems Institute, College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter, EX44QE, UK
  • 3Met Office, Exeter, EX1 3PB, UK
  • 4Atmospheric Chemistry, Observations and Modeling Laboratory, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO 80307, USA
  • 5Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405-1405, USA
  • 6Atmospheric Sciences and Global Change Division, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA 99352, USA
  • 7Department of Environmental Sciences, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8551, USA

Abstract. The realisation of the difficulty of limiting global mean temperatures to within 1.5 °C or 2.0 °C above pre-industrial levels stipulated by the 21st Conference of Parties in Paris has led to increased interest in solar radiation management (SRM) techniques. Proposed SRM schemes aim to increase planetary albedo to reflect more sunlight back to space and induce a cooling that acts to partially offset global warming. Under the auspices of the Geoengineering Model Intercomparion Project, we have performed model experiments whereby global temperature under the high forcing SSP5–8.5 scenario is reduced to follow that of the medium forcing SSP2–4.5 scenario. Two different mechanisms to achieve this are employed, the first via a reduction in the solar constant (experiment G6solar) and the second via modelling injections of sulfur dioxide (experiment G6sulfur) which forms sulfate aerosol in the stratosphere. Results from two state-of-the-art coupled Earth system models both show an impact on the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) in G6sulfur but not in G6solar. Both models show a persistent positive anomaly in the NAO during the Northern Hemisphere winter season in G6sulfur, suggesting an increase in zonal flow and an increase in North Atlantic storm track activity impacting the Eurasian continent leading to regional warming. These findings are broadly consistent with previous findings on the impact of stratospheric volcanic aerosol on the NAO and emphasise that detailed modelling of geoengineering processes is required if accurate impacts of SRM impacts are to be simulated. Differences remain between the two models in predicting regional changes over the continental USA and Africa, suggesting that more models need to perform such simulations before attempting to draw any conclusions regarding potential continental-scale climate change under SRM.

Andy Jones et al.

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Short summary
Two different methods of simulating a geoengineering scenario are compared using data from two different Earth system models. One method is very idealised while the other includes details of a plausible mechanism. The results from both models agree that the idealised approach does not capture an impact found when detailed modelling is included, namely that geoengineering induces a positive phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation which leads to warmer, wetter winters in northern Europe.
Two different methods of simulating a geoengineering scenario are compared using data from two...
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