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Impact of Artificial Stratospheric Sulfate Aerosols investigated with a coupled aerosol-chemistry climate model (IASSA)

English title Impact of Artificial Stratospheric Sulfate Aerosols investigated with a coupled aerosol-chemistry climate model (IASSA)
Applicant Peter Thomas
Number 130478
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Institut für Atmosphäre und Klima ETH Zürich
Institution of higher education ETH Zurich - ETHZ
Main discipline Climatology. Atmospherical Chemistry, Aeronomy
Start/End 01.11.2010 - 28.02.2014
Approved amount 155'824.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Climatology. Atmospherical Chemistry, Aeronomy
Other disciplines of Earth Sciences

Keywords (7)

Geoengineering; Sulfate aerosols; Microphysics; Atmospheric chemistry; Atmospheric dynamics; Radiative forcing; Ocean response

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary
BACKGROUNDIn its report "Geoengineering the Climate - Science, Governance and Uncertainty" (1 September 2009) the Royal Society states that "no geoengineering method can provide an easy or readily acceptable solution to the problem of climate change", yet that "geoengineering methods could potentially be useful in future to augment continuing efforts to mitigate climate change by reducing emissions". Geoengineering might serve as an "emergency action" to cool the planet on short time scale, but should not distract from the primary goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Detailed research and analysis will be required before geoengineering methods could become an option, if at all, and this research should not wait until the emergency is unavoidable. The report ranks the increase of Earth's albedo by injection of sulfur containing gases into the stratosphere as promising method. GOALSubstantial improvements in understanding will be required to reduce uncertainties in current modeling approaches to geoengineering. In response to this challenge, we aim here at an accurate assessment of stratospheric aerosol-based geoengineering using a spectral stratospheric aerosol model coupled to an atmosphere-ocean-chemistry-climate model (Aero-AOCCM). By means of results from long-term multiple ensemble runs the following questions will be addressed:-What would be the optimum total mass, altitude, meridional distribution and time sequence of the sulfur containing gas injections?-How do the responses of climate and ozone to the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo compare as natural analog to geoengineering?-What is the importance of the interactive dynamic ocean for the simulations of the climate and ozone response?-Finally, what is the expected efficiency and safety of geoengineering by injection of sulfur containing gases?METHODTo achieve these goals we will apply a novel AOCCM which is coupled to a spectral aerosol model with explicit simulation of sulfate aerosol nucleation, coagulation, growth/evaporaton, sedimentation and removal. Thus, the model applied for this project takes into account the main components of the climate system (atmosphere, clouds, land surface, ocean, sea ice, chemical species, sulfate aerosol) and their interaction. RELEVANCEThe application of this advanced model is expected to provide a much improved, objective scientific basis from which the geoengineering scenarios can be assessed. The project results are expected to impact the upcoming IPCC climate change and WMO/UNEP ozone assessments.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
A perturbed parameter model ensemble to investigate Mt. Pinatubo's 1991 initial sulfur mass emission
Sheng J. -X., Weisenstein D. K., Luo B. -P., Rozanov E., Arfeuille F., Peter T. (2015), A perturbed parameter model ensemble to investigate Mt. Pinatubo's 1991 initial sulfur mass emission, in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 15(20), 11501-11512.
Global atmospheric sulfur budget under volcanically quiescent conditions: Aerosol-chemistry-climate model predictions and validation
Sheng Jian-Xiong, Weisenstein Debra K., Luo Bei-Ping, Rozanov Eugene, Stenke Andrea, Anet Julien, Bingemer Heinz, Peter Thomas (2015), Global atmospheric sulfur budget under volcanically quiescent conditions: Aerosol-chemistry-climate model predictions and validation, in Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres, 120(1), 256-276.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Harvard University United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
AER - Atmospheric and Environmental Research, Lexington United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Exchange of personnel

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
AGU Chapman Conference on Volcanism and the Atmosphere Poster Parametric modeling studies of the Mt. Pinatubo eruption 10.06.2012 Selfoss, Iceland, Iceland Sheng Jianxiong; Peter Thomas;
IGAC/SPARC Global Chemistry-Climate Modeling and Evaluation Workshop Poster Sulphur cycle and troposphere-to-stratosphere sulphur transport in ECHAM6 compared with AER 2-d model results and observations 21.05.2012 Davos, CH, Switzerland Sheng Jianxiong; Peter Thomas;
IMPLICC Final Symposium: The Atmospheric Science and Economics of Climate Engineering via Aerosol Injections Talk given at a conference Impact of extreme amounts of stratospheric sulphate aerosols 14.05.2012 Mainz, Germany, Germany Rozanov Eugene V.; Peter Thomas; Sheng Jianxiong;
WCRP Open Science Conference Poster Modelling studies of Mt. Pinatubo eruption and applications to geoengineering 24.10.2011 Denver, CO, United States of America Rozanov Eugene V.; Peter Thomas; Sheng Jianxiong;
IPCC WG I/II/III Expert Meeting on Geoengineering Individual talk Residual climate change and unintended consequences of solar radiation management (key note presentation) 20.06.2011 Lima, Peru Peter Thomas;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: print media, online media Schwefelraketen und Weltraumsegel SWISS ENGINEERING German-speaking Switzerland 2012
Media relations: print media, online media Mit künstlichen Wolken gegen die Klimaerwärmung Tagesanzeiger German-speaking Switzerland 2011

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
169241 Volcanic Eruptions and their impact on future Climate (VEC) 01.10.2016 Project funding (Div. I-III)
138037 Future role of Methane Emissions in the climate System (FuMES) 01.11.2011 Project funding (Div. I-III)
182239 Past and future of the Ozone Layer Evolution (POLE) 01.01.2019 Project funding (Div. I-III)

Abstract

Impact of Artificial Stratospheric Sulfate Aerosols investigated with a coupled aerosol-chemistry climate model (IASA)In its report “Geoengineering the Climate - Science, Governance and Uncertainty” (1 September 2009) the Royal Society states that “no geoengineering method can provide an easy or readily acceptable solution to the problem of climate change”, yet that “geoengineering methods could potentially be useful in future to augment continuing efforts to mitigate climate change by reducing emissions”. Geoengineering might serve as an “emergency action” to cool the planet on short time scale, but should not distract from the primary goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Detailed research and analysis will be required before geoengineering methods could become an option, if at all, and this research should not wait until the emergency is unavoidable. The report ranks the increase of Earth’s albedo by injection of sulfur containing gases into the stratosphere as promising method. However, substantial improvements in understanding will be required to reduce uncertainties in current modeling approaches. In response to this challenge, we aim here at an accurate assessment of geoengineering using a spectral stratospheric aerosol model coupled to an atmosphere-ocean-chemistry-climate model (Aero-AOCCM). By means of results from long-term multiple ensemble runs the following questions will be ad-dressed: -What would be the optimum total mass, altitude, meridional distribution and time sequence of the sulfur containing gas injections? -How do the responses of climate and ozone to the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo compare as natural analog to geoengineering?-What is the importance of the interactive dynamic ocean for the simulations of the climate and ozone response? -Finally, what is the expected efficiency and safety of geoengineering by injection of sulfur con¬taining gases?To achieve these goals we will apply a novel AOCCM which is coupled to a spectral aerosol model with explicit simulation of sulfate aerosol nucleation, coagulation, growth/evaporaton, sedimentation and removal. Thus, the model applied for this project takes into account the main components of the climate system (atmosphere, clouds, land surface, ocean, sea ice, chemical species, sulfate aerosol) and their interaction. The application of this advanced model is expected to provide a much improved, objective scientific basis from which the geoengineering scenarios can be assessed. The project results are expected to impact the upcoming IPCC climate change and WMO/UNEP ozone assessments.
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