CICERO - Center for International Climate Research

Can a reduction of solar irradiance counteract CO2-induced climate change? – Results from four Earth system models

H Schmidt, Kari Alterskjær, Diana Bou Karam, O Boucher, A Jones, Jon Egill Kristjansson, U. Niemeier, M Schulz, Asbjørn Aaheim, F. Benduhn, M Lawrence, C. Timmreck

In this study we compare the response of four state-of-the-art Earth system models to climate engineering under scenario G1 of two model intercomparison projects: GeoMIP (Geoengineering Model Intercomparison Project) and IMPLICC (EU project "Implications and risks of engineering solar radiation to limit climate change"). In G1, the radiative forcing from an instantaneous quadrupling of the CO2 concentration, starting from the preindustrial level, is balanced by a reduction of the solar constant. Model responses to the two counteracting forcings in G1 are compared to the preindustrial climate in terms of global means and regional patterns and their robustness. While the global mean surface air temperature in G1 remains almost unchanged compared to the control simulation, the meridional temperature gradient is reduced in all models. Another robust response is the global reduction of precipitation with strong effects in particular over North and South America and northern Eurasia. In comparison to the climate response to a quadrupling of CO2 alone, the temperature responses are small in experiment G1. Precipitation responses are, however, in many regions of comparable magnitude but globally of opposite sign.

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