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Climate System Energy Balance. Kiehl and Trenberth. Review - CO 2 in atmosphere works just like water vapor. Lets in warming sunlight in the day when humidity is high heat is trapped and nights stay warm when humidity is low heat escapes and nights are cold

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review co 2 in atmosphere works just like water vapor
Review - CO2 in atmosphere works just like water vapor
  • Lets in warming sunlight in the day
  • when humidity is high heat is trapped and nights stay warm
  • when humidity is low heat escapes and nights are cold
  • But unlike water vapor, CO2 hangs around for ages
    • CO2 added to the atmosphere takes a century or two to dissipate
possible geoengineering approaches
Possible Geoengineering Approaches
  • Extract CO2 from atmosphere
  • Produce compensating global cooling

CO2 x 2 = -3.7 W/m2

(a) Reduce solar flux by 1.8%

(b) Increase planetary albedo by 3.5%

(marine cloud albedo by 13%)

space sunshade
Space Sunshade
  • Advantages of space
    • Changes only solar flux, not atmospheric chemistry
    • 50 year life, doesn’t need annual renewal
  • Proposed by James Early 1989:
    • “A thin glass shield built from lunar materials and located near the first Lagrange point of the Earth-sun system could offset the greenhouse effects caused by the CO2 buildup in the Earth’s atmosphere”
lightest possible screen material
Lightest possible screen material
  • glass 1 mm thick (1/25,000 inch)
  • Transmits sunlight but deflects it away from Earth
  • Million square miles needed weighing 6 million tons
  • With structural support and controls, total 20 million tons
what does the sunshade look like
What does the sunshade look like?
  • cloud of many small independent spacecraft
    • Each one has small solar sails to set its orientation to face the sun and to stay within the cloud, in line with sun

flyer cloud seen from the side

sunlight deflected to miss Earth

starlight passing through flyers is also deflected, into donut rings

sunlight entering flyers

Exiting sunlight deflected

l1 sunshade conclusions
L1 Sunshade conclusions
  • Lifetime
    • Estimate 50 years
  • Cost estimate
    • $4 trillion
    • $100 billion/year, 0.2% of world GDP over lifetime
  • Launch environmental impact ok
    • 1 ton of fuel launches sunshade area enough to mitigate 1000 tons of atmospheric carbon
  • Possible show-stoppers need further work:
    • Sunshade debris
    • Aerodynamic drag after magnetic launch
geo engineering climate change with sulfate aerosols

Philip Rasch

Paul Crutzen, Danielle B. Coleman

with additional thanks for advice to C. Amman, J. Kazil, D. Keith, M. Mills, O.B. Toon, T.M. Wigley

Geo-Engineering Climate Change with Sulfate Aerosols
fundamental thesis
Fundamental Thesis
  • Injection of SO2 at 25km in tropics will form sulfate aerosol. This will act to cool the planet
  • Estimates based on Crutzen (2006) suggest 1-2Tg S/year (as sulfate) would suffice
    • 2-4% of current anthropogenic surface emissions
    • Cost ~$25Billion/yr ($25/capita/yr in the affluent world)
    •  1-3 W/m2 reduction reduction in incoming solar radiation
notes on scheme
  • What would be the impact of injecting precursors of sulfate aerosols into the middle atmosphere, where they would act to increase the planetary albedo, and thus counter some of the effects of greenhouse gas forcing?
  • This geo-engineering approach may be a natural analogueto a volcanic eruption
  • Follow up to a study by Crutzen (Climatic Change, 2006)
    • Back of the envelope calculation
    • A more detailed and comprehensive treatment of an old idea than performed previously
  • This study uses a relatively sophisticated General Circulation Model for a somewhat more quantitative, and comprehensive look at the problem, but it is still far too simple to be a believable characterization
important processes for stratospheric aerosols from sparc assessment of stratospheric aerosols 2006
Important processes for stratospheric aerosols(from SPARC Assessment of Stratospheric Aerosols, 2006
what size are the aerosols
What size are the aerosols?
  • May look like tropospheric or background stratospheric sulfate
    • reff < 0.15 um (e.g. Bauman et al 2003)
    • primarily scattering in Solar part of spectrum
  • May look like Volcanic aerosol!
    • reff ~ 0.45 um
    • absorption in
      • Near IR of Solar energy spectrum
      • Terrestrial longwave spectrum
experimental setup
Experimental Setup
  • The General Circulation model used is a version of the Community Atmosphere Model (CAM), a component of the more comprehensive Community Climate System Model (CCSM).
  • This version includes a relatively comprehensive “physical” characterization of the atmosphere and land.
    • No Biogeochemistry (particularly as it contributes to Carbon and Nitrogen Cycles, Ocean Ecosystems)
    • Prescribed Ocean and Sea Ice Dynamics (but does include thermodynamics) --- So called “slab ocean model” + “thermodynamic sea ice model”
    • No Aerosol/Cloud Microphysical formulations relevant to the “indirect aerosol forcing effect”
simulations performed
Simulations performed

Fixed aerosol and greenhouse forcing at present day values Doubled CO2 (2XCO2)

  • Injection of SO2 at 25km, 10N - 10S
    • Pinatubo thought to inject 10-30 Tg S(over a week or so)
    • 1 Tg S/yr assuming a small (or background) aerosol size distribution forms
    • 2 Tg S/yr small particles
    • 2 Tg S/yr as large (or volcanic) aerosol forms
  • Doubled CO2 + the above permutations of emission amount and aerosol size
  • Sulfate in a model world acts to cool planet, return some features to “present day”
    • Surface temperature over much of the globe
    • Cross tropopause transport
  • A number of features are “different” from either present day, or 2xCO2 world
    • Precipitation
    • Polar winter surface temperatures
  • Demonstrable interactions exist between the greenhouse forcing and geo-engineeringforcing, e.g., burden of geosulfate in presence of CO2 forcing. Feedbacks are important.
  • Numerous obvious remaining topics for exploration in this run
    • Influence on hydrologic cycle
    • Seasonal and higher frequency transient aspect of simulation
    • Sea Ice
  • Numerous obvious issues to explore with model augmentation
    • Aerosol formulation improvements
      • Microphysics, size and number resolution
      • Independence of geo-sulfate from other aerosol components
      • Interaction with clouds (cirrus?)
    • Chemistry (particularly ozone depletion)
    • Dynamical Ocean and Sea-ice Models
    • Biogeochemistry (Land Ecosytems, and Ocean pH!)

Amelioration of Global Warming by Controlled Enhancement of Albedo and Longevity of Low-Level Maritime Clouds

John Latham (MMM / ASP, NCAR, USA) & Stephen Salter (U of Edinburgh, UK)


Tom Choularton, Keith Bower – University of Manchester, UK

Mike Smith, Alan Gadian – University of Leeds, UK

Idea: Advertently to enhance the Droplet Concentration in Low-level Maritime Stratocumulus Clouds, thereby increasing Cloud Albedo & Longevity - i.e. a cooling effect.

(Latham, 1990, 2000, Bower et al., 2006).


Operational Requirements for Possible Global system

  • Calculations/computations indicate that to produce a global cooling sufficient to balance global warming produced by CO2 doubling (- 3.7 W/m2) seawater CCN in the form of droplets of diameter1μm would need to be disseminated at a rate of about 10 m3/s.
  • For fixed CCN dissemination rate (or droplet concentration increase to value N) albedo-enhancement ∆Aincreases as the original droplet number concentration Nodecreases (i.e. the effect is stronger in clouds formed in purer air).
  • ∆A = 0.075 ln(N/No)

Meteorological/Physical Points for Further Study:-

    • Losses en route to cloud base. (Earth’s electric field (qE>>mg) advertent charging of droplets)
    • Need to dominate condensation process (If N too low, albedo is reduced – warming!)
    • Role of ultra-giant nuclei (UGN) (reducing cloud longevity)
    • Explicit treatment of cloud longevity (cover) vvs N
    • Advertent heat & water-vapour fluxes
    • Influence of CCN on higher clouds
    • Lateral dispersal of ascending CCN
    • Changes in earth’s temperature distribution & concomitant effects
    • Possible reduction of rainfall in sensitive areas.

Priority Technological Requirements

  • Possible Operational Global system
  • Further development (Stephen Salter) of wind-powered, satellite controlled unmanned specially constructed vessels.
  • Further development (Stephen Salter) of a seawater droplet production / dissemination system housed on these vessels and powered by batteries deriving their energy from wind-power.
  • Limited-Area Field-Experiment to Assess Cooling Scheme
  • Seawater droplet production & dissemination system
  • Technique for determining advertent albedo-changes.

Disadvantage of Scheme. Needs continuous operation.

  • Advantages of Scheme.
    • Low ecological impact:only ingredients seawater & air. Energy derived from wind. Relatively inexpensive.
    • Easy termination:System can be shut down immediately, conditions returning to normal within a few days
    • Precise & rapid control:Via satellite measurements of albedo & cloudiness fed back through global model. Concomitant adjustment of dissemination rates
comments on global cooling schemes
Comments on Global Cooling Schemes

Solar flux diminution & albedo modification affect climate, but not atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Such schemes could buy time until CO2 reduced.

Elevated CO2 causes ocean surface acidification. So we would still need to reduce CO2 emissions.

3. By using more than one technique, there may be some scope for restraining CO2 levels and climate change independently.