Climate response to off-equatorial stratospheric sulfur injections in three Earth System Models – Part 1: experimental protocols and surface changes Journal Article uri icon



  • Abstract. There is now a substantial literature of climate model studies of equatorial or tropical stratospheric SO2 injections that aim to counteract the surface warming produced by rising concentrations of greenhouse gases. Here we present the results from the first systematic intercomparison of climate responses in three Earth System Models where the injection of SO2 occours at different latitudes in the lower stratosphere. Our aim is to determine commonalities and differences between the climate model responses in terms of the distribution of the optically reflective sulfate aerosols produced from the oxidation of SO2, and in terms of the surface response to the resulting reduction in solar radiation. A focus on understanding the contribution of characteristics of models transport alongside their microphysical and chemical schemes, and on evaluating the resulting stratospheric responses in different models is given in the companion paper (Bednarz et al., 2022). The goal of this exercise is not to evaluate these single point injection simulations as stand-alone proposed strategies to counteract global warming; instead we determine sources and areas of agreement and uncertainty in the simulated responses and, ultimately, the possibility of designing a comprehensive intervention strategy capable of managing multiple simultaneous climate goals through the combination of different injection locations. We find large disagreements between GISS-E2.1-G and the CESM2-WACCM6 and UKESM1.0 models regarding the magnitude of cooling per unit of aerosol optical depth (AOD) produced, from 4.7 K per unit of AOD in CESM2-WACCM6 to 16.7 K in the GISS-E2.1-G version with modal aerosol microphysics. By normalizing the results with the global mean response in each of the models, and thus assuming that the amount of SO2 injected is a free parameter that can be managed independently, we highlight some commonalities in the overall distributions of the aerosols, in the inter-hemispheric surface temperature response and in shifts to the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone, and also some areas of disagreement, such as the aerosol confinement in the equatorial region and the transport to polar latitudes.;

publication date

  • June 13, 2022

has restriction

  • green

Date in CU Experts

  • June 27, 2023 5:56 AM

Full Author List

  • Visioni D; Bednarz EM; Lee WR; Kravitz B; Jones A; Haywood JM; MacMartin DG

author count

  • 7

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