The climate effects of increasing ocean albedo: an idealized representation of solar geoengineering
Kravitz, Ben; Rasch, Philip J.; Wang, Hailong; Robock, Alan; Gabriel, Corey; Boucher, Olivier; Cole, Jason N.S.; Haywood, Jim M.; Ji, Duoying; Jones, Andy; Lenton, Andrew; Moore, John C.; Muri, Helene; Niemeier, Ulrike; Phipps, Steven J.; Schmidt, Hauke; Watanabe, Shingo; Yang, Shuting; Yoon, Jin-Ho
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics. 2018, 18 (17), 13097-13113. 10.5194/acp-18-13097-2018
Geoengineering, or climate intervention, describes methods of deliberately altering the climate system to offset anthropogenic climate change. As an idealized representation of near-surface solar geoengineering over the ocean, such as marine cloud brightening, this paper discusses experiment G1ocean-albedo of the Geoengineering Model Intercomparison Project (GeoMIP), involving an abrupt quadrupling of the CO2 concentration and an instantaneous increase in ocean albedo to maintain approximate net top-of-atmosphere radiative flux balance. A total of 11 Earth system models are relatively consistent in their temperature, radiative flux, and hydrological cycle responses to this experiment. Due to the imposed forcing, air over the land surface warms by a model average of 1.14 K, while air over most of the ocean cools. Some parts of the near-surface air temperature over ocean warm due to heat transport from land to ocean. These changes generally resolve within a few years, indicating that changes in ocean heat content play at most a small role in the warming over the oceans. The hydrological cycle response is a general slowing down, with high heterogeneity in the response, particularly in the tropics. While idealized, these results have important implications for marine cloud brightening, or other methods of geoengineering involving spatially heterogeneous forcing, or other general forcings with a strong land–ocean contrast. It also reinforces previous findings that keeping top-of-atmosphere net radiative flux constant is not sufficient for preventing changes in global mean temperature.