The impacts of Stratospheric Aerosol Injection on Antarctic ice loss depend on injection location Journal Article uri icon



  • Owing to increasing greenhouse gas emissions, the West Antarctic Ice; Sheet as well as a few subglacial basins in East Antarctica are; vulnerable to rapid ice loss in the upcoming decades and centuries,; respectively. This study examines the effectiveness of using; Stratospheric Aerosol Injection (SAI) that minimizes global mean; temperature (GMT) change to slow projected 21st century Antarctic ice; loss. We use eleven different SAI cases which vary by the latitudinal; location(s) and the amount(s) of the injection(s) to examine the; climatic response near Antarctica in each case as compared to the; reference climate at the turn of the last century. We demonstrate that; injecting at a single latitude in the northern hemisphere or at the; Equator increases Antarctic shelf ocean temperatures pertinent to ice; shelf basal melt, while injecting only in the southern hemisphere; minimizes this temperature change. We use these results to analyze the; results of more complex multi-latitude injection strategies that; maintain GMT at or below 1.5°C above the pre-industrial. All these cases; will slow Antarctic ice loss relative to the mid-to-late 21st century; SSP2-4.5 emissions pathway. Yet, to avoid a GMT threshold estimated by; previous studies pertaining to rapid West Antarctic ice loss; (~1.5°C above the pre-industrial), our study suggests; SAI would need to cool below this threshold and predominately inject at; low southern hemisphere latitudes. These results highlight the; complexity of factors impacting the Antarctic response to SAI and the; critical role of the injection strategy in preventing future ice loss.

publication date

  • June 14, 2023

has restriction

  • green

Date in CU Experts

  • June 27, 2023 5:56 AM

Full Author List

  • Goddard PB; Kravitz B; MacMartin DG; Visioni D; Bednarz EM; Lee WR

author count

  • 6

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