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Article

The Caribbean and 1.5 °C: Is SRM an Option?

1
Climate Studies Group Mona (CSGM), Department of Physics, University of the West Indies, Kingston 07, Jamaica
2
Instituto de Meteorología, Loma de Casa Blanca, Regla, La Habana 11700, Cuba
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Atmosphere 2021, 12(3), 367; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12030367
Received: 30 October 2020 / Revised: 14 December 2020 / Accepted: 15 December 2020 / Published: 11 March 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Central America and Caribbean Hydrometeorology and Hydroclimate)
The Caribbean, along with other small island developing states (SIDS), have advocated for restricting global warming to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels by the end of the current century. Solar radiation management (SRM) may be one way to achieve this goal. This paper examines the mean Caribbean climate under various scenarios of an SRM-altered versus an SRM-unaltered world for three global warming targets, namely, 1.5, 2.0 and 2.5 °C above pre-industrial levels. Data from the Geoengineering Model Intercomparison Project Phase 1 (GeoMIP1) were examined for two SRM scenarios: the G3 experiment where there is a gradual injection of sulfur dioxide (SO2) into the tropical lower stratosphere starting in 2020 and terminating after 50 years, and the G4 experiment where a fixed 5 Teragram (Tg) of SO2 per year is injected into the atmosphere starting in 2020 and ending after 50 years. The results show that SRM has the potential to delay attainment of the 1.5, 2.0 and 2.5 °C global warming targets. The extent of the delay varies depending on the SRM methodology but may be beyond mid-century for the 1.5 °C goal. In comparison, however, the higher temperature thresholds are both still attained before the end of century once SRM is ceased, raising questions about the value of the initial delay. The application of SRM also significantly alters mean Caribbean climate during the global warming target years (determined for a representative concentration pathway 4.5 (RCP4.5) world without SRM). The Caribbean is generally cooler but drier during the 1.5 °C years and similarly cool but less dry for years corresponding to the higher temperature targets. Finally, the mean Caribbean climate at 1.5 °C differs if the global warming target is achieved under SRM versus RCP4.5. The same is true for the higher warming targets. The implications of all the results are discussed as a background for determining whether SRM represents a viable consideration for Caribbean SIDS to achieve their “1.5 to stay alive” goal. View Full-Text
Keywords: geoengineering; solar radiation management (SRM); Caribbean climate; 1.5 to stay alive; 1.5 °C geoengineering; solar radiation management (SRM); Caribbean climate; 1.5 to stay alive; 1.5 °C
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MDPI and ACS Style

Clarke, L.A.; Taylor, M.A.; Centella-Artola, A.; Williams, M.S.M.; Campbell, J.D.; Bezanilla-Morlot, A.; Stephenson, T.S. The Caribbean and 1.5 °C: Is SRM an Option? Atmosphere 2021, 12, 367. https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12030367

AMA Style

Clarke LA, Taylor MA, Centella-Artola A, Williams MSM, Campbell JD, Bezanilla-Morlot A, Stephenson TS. The Caribbean and 1.5 °C: Is SRM an Option? Atmosphere. 2021; 12(3):367. https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12030367

Chicago/Turabian Style

Clarke, Leonardo A., Michael A. Taylor, Abel Centella-Artola, Matthew S.M. Williams, Jayaka D. Campbell, Arnoldo Bezanilla-Morlot, and Tannecia S. Stephenson 2021. "The Caribbean and 1.5 °C: Is SRM an Option?" Atmosphere 12, no. 3: 367. https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12030367

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