Atmosphere 2010, 1(1), 62-84; doi:10.3390/atmos1010062
Article

The Influence of Stratospheric Sulphate Aerosol Deployment on the Surface Air Temperature and the Risk of an Abrupt Global Warming

1email, 2,* email and 3email
Received: 25 October 2010; in revised form: 26 November 2010 / Accepted: 2 December 2010 / Published: 10 December 2010
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Abstract: We used the ‘Radiative-Convective Model of the Earth-atmosphere system’ (OGIM) to investigate the cooling effects induced by sulphur injections into the stratosphere. The ensemble of numerical calculations was based on the A1B scenario from the IPCC Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES). Several geoengineered scenarios were analysed, including the abrupt interruption of these injections in different scenarios and at different dates. We focused on the surface air temperature (SAT) anomalies induced by stratospheric sulphate aerosol generated in order to compensate future warming. Results show that continuous deployment of sulphur into the stratosphere could induce a lasting decrease in SAT. Retaining a constant aerosol loading equivalent to 6 TgS would delay the expected global warming by 53 years. Keeping the SAT constant in a context of increasing greenhouse gases (GHGs) means that the aerosol loading needs to be increased by 1.9% annually. This would offset the effect of increasing GHG under the A1B scenario. A major focus of this study was on the heating rates of SAT that would arise in different scenarios in case of an abrupt cessation of sulphur injections into the stratosphere. Our model results show that heating rates after geoengineering interruption would be 15–28 times higher than in a case without geoengineering, with likely important consequences for life on Earth. Larger initial sulphate loadings induced more intense warming rates when the geoengineering was stopped at the same time. This implies that, if sulphate loading was increased to maintain constant SAT in the light of increasing GHG concentrations, the later the geoengineering interruption was to occur, the higher the heating rates would be. Consequently, geoengineering techniques like this should only be regarded as last-resort measures and require intense further research should they ever become necessary.
Keywords: sulphur injections; geoengineering interruption; A1B scenario; heating rate; sulphate aerosol; SAT
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MDPI and ACS Style

Llanillo, P.; Jones, P.D.; Von Glasow, R. The Influence of Stratospheric Sulphate Aerosol Deployment on the Surface Air Temperature and the Risk of an Abrupt Global Warming. Atmosphere 2010, 1, 62-84.

AMA Style

Llanillo P, Jones PD, Von Glasow R. The Influence of Stratospheric Sulphate Aerosol Deployment on the Surface Air Temperature and the Risk of an Abrupt Global Warming. Atmosphere. 2010; 1(1):62-84.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Llanillo, Pedro; Jones, Phil D.; Von Glasow, Roland. 2010. "The Influence of Stratospheric Sulphate Aerosol Deployment on the Surface Air Temperature and the Risk of an Abrupt Global Warming." Atmosphere 1, no. 1: 62-84.

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