How might Climate Engineering Influence Precipitation Patterns and Soil Moisture?

As global anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases continue to rise, there is
an increasing risk of serious disruptions in ecosystems and society due to global
warming. As a consequence, research on climate engineering (CE) is receiving
growing attention, also among climate scientists (e.g., IPCC AR5). But, even basic
CE research using Earth System Models (ESMs) raises a series of ethical questions
that need to be considered. Also, any CE technique carries a risk of causing serious
side effects, e.g., through disruptions of the hydrological cycle.

Climate engineering can be divided into Greenhouse Gas Removal (GGR) and
Radiation Management (RM). RM here refers to deliberate modifications of either
incoming solar radiation or outgoing terrestrial radiation. We will start by
reviewing the basic principles of proposed RM techniques – stratospheric sulfur
injections, marine sky brightening, cirrus cloud thinning, desert brightening. We
review some robust results concerning precipitation changes that have recently
emerged from multi-model ESM experiments within the Geoengineering Model
Intercomparison Project (GeoMIP). We then demonstrate that the precipitation
changes depend strongly on which RM technique is applied. We show how that
finding can be explained from atmospheric energy budget considerations.

About the presenter
Jón Egill Kristjánsson

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Main Seminar Room

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Date and time: 
Tuesday, September 9, 2014 - 11:00am