Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Global warming: Warning against abrupt stop to geoengineering method (if started)

Date:
February 17, 2014
Source:
Institute of Physics
Summary:
As a range of climate change mitigation scenarios are discussed, researchers have found that the injection of sulfate particles into the atmosphere to reflect sunlight and curb the effects of global warming could pose a severe threat if not maintained indefinitely and supported by strict reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

As a range of climate change mitigation scenarios are discussed, University of Washington researchers have found that the injection of sulfate particles into the atmosphere to reflect sunlight and curb the effects of global warming could pose a severe threat if not maintained indefinitely and supported by strict reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The new study, published today, 18 February, in IOP Publishing's journal Environmental Research Letters, has highlighted the risks of large and spatially expansive temperature increases if solar radiation management (SRM) is abruptly stopped once it has been implemented.

SRM is a proposed method of geoengineering whereby tiny sulfate-based aerosols are released into the upper atmosphere to reflect sunlight and cool the planet. The technique has been shown to be economically and technically feasible; however, its efficacy depends on its continued maintenance, without interruption from technical faults, global cooperation breakdown or funding running dry.

According to the study, global temperature increases could more than double if SRM is implemented for a multi-decadal period of time and then suddenly stopped, in relation to the temperature increases expected if SRM was not implemented at all.

The researchers used a global climate model to show that if an extreme emissions pathway -- RCP8.5 -- is followed up until 2035, allowing temperatures to rise 1C above the 1970-1999 mean, and then SRM is implemented for 25 years and suddenly stopped, global temperatures could increase by 4C in the following decades.

This rate of increase, caused by the build-up of background greenhouse gas emissions, would be well beyond the bounds experienced in the last century and more than double the 2C temperature increase that would occur in the same timeframe if SRM had not been implemented.

On a regional and seasonal scale, the temperature changes would be largest in an absolute sense in winter over high latitude land, but compared to historical fluctuations, temperature changes would be largest in the tropics in summertime, where there is usually very little variation.

Lead author of the research, Kelly McCusker, from the University of Washington, said: "According to our simulations, tropical regions like South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa are hit particularly hard, the very same regions that are home to many of the world's most food insecure populations. The potential temperature changes also pose a severe threat to biodiversity."

Furthermore, the researchers used a simple climate model to study a variety of plausible greenhouse gas scenarios and SRM termination years over the 21st century. They showed that climate sensitivity -- a measure of how much the climate will warm in response to the greenhouse effect -- had a lesser impact on the rate of temperature changes.

Instead, they found that the rates of temperature change were determined by the amount of GHG emissions and the duration of time that SRM is deployed.

"The primary control over the magnitude of the large temperature increases after an SRM shutoff is the background greenhouse gas concentrations. Thus, the greater the future emissions of greenhouse gases, the larger the temperature increases would be, and, similarly, the later the termination occurs while GHG emissions continue, the larger the temperature increases," continued McCusker.

"The only way to avoid creating the risk of substantial temperature increases through SRM, therefore, is concurrent strong reductions of GHG emissions."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Institute of Physics. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Kelly E McCusker, Kyle C Armour, Cecilia M Bitz, David S Battisti. Rapid and extensive warming following cessation of solar radiation management. Environmental Research Letters, 2014; 9 (2): 024005 DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/9/2/024005

Cite This Page:

Institute of Physics. "Global warming: Warning against abrupt stop to geoengineering method (if started)." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140217200823.htm>.
Institute of Physics. (2014, February 17). Global warming: Warning against abrupt stop to geoengineering method (if started). ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140217200823.htm
Institute of Physics. "Global warming: Warning against abrupt stop to geoengineering method (if started)." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140217200823.htm (accessed August 29, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Friday, August 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Volcano Erupts on Papua New Guinea

Raw: Volcano Erupts on Papua New Guinea

AP (Aug. 29, 2014) Several communities were evacuated and some international flights were diverted on Friday after one of the most active volcanos in the region erupts. (Aug. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Have Figured Out Why Rocks Move In Death Valley

Scientists Have Figured Out Why Rocks Move In Death Valley

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) The mystery of the moving rocks in Death Valley, California, has finally been solved. Scientists are pointing to a combo of water, ice and wind. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Big Waves, Minor Flooding from Hurricane

Big Waves, Minor Flooding from Hurricane

AP (Aug. 27, 2014) Thundering surf spawned by Hurricane Marie pounded the Southern California coast Wednesday, causing minor flooding in a low-lying beach town. High surf warnings were posted for Los Angeles County south through Orange County. (Aug. 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins