Earth System Dynamics Discussions | VOL. None

Climate engineering to mitigate the projected 21st-century terrestrial drying of the Americas: Carbon Capture vs. Sulfur

Publication Date Jan 28, 2020


Abstract. To mitigate the projected global warming in the 21st century, it is well recognized that society needs to cut CO2 emission and other short-lived warming agents aggressively. However, to stabilize the climate at a warming level closer to the present day, such as the well below 2 °C aspiration in the Paris agreement, a net-zero carbon emission by 2050 is still insufficient. The recent IPCC special report calls for a massive scheme to extract CO2 directly from the atmosphere, in addition to the decarbonization, to reach negative net emission at the mid-century mark. Another ambitious proposal is the solar radiation-based geoengineering schemes, including injecting sulfur gas into the stratosphere. Despite being in the public debate for years, these two leading geoengineering schemes have not been carefully examined under a consistent numerical modeling framework. Here we present a comprehensive analysis of climate impacts of these two geoengineering approaches using two recently available large-ensemble (> 10 members) model experiments conducted by a family of state-of-art Earth system models. The CO2-based mitigation simulation is designed to include both emissions cut and carbon capture. The solar radiation-based mitigation simulation is designed to inject the sulfur gas strategically at specified altitudes and latitudes and run a feedback control algorithm, to avoid common problems previously identified such as the over-cooling of the Tropics and large-scale precipitation shifts. Our analysis focuses on the project...

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Sulfur Injection
Carbon Capture
Climate Engineering
Ozone Layer
South America

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