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Environmental Research Letters · 2014

A multi-model assessment of regional climate disparities caused by solar geoengineering

Ben Kravitz, Douglas G MacMartin, Alan Robock, Philip J Rasch, Katharine L Ricke, Jason N S Cole, Charles L Curry, Peter J Irvine, Duoying Ji, David W Keith, Jón Egill Kristjánsson, John C Moore, Helene Muri, Balwinder Singh, Simone Tilmes, Shingo Watanabe, Shuting Yang and Jin-Ho Yoon

Global-scale solar geoengineering is the deliberate modification of the climate system to offset some amount of anthropogenic climate change by reducing the amount of incident solar radiation at the surface. These changes to the planetary energy budget result in differential regional climate effects. For the first time, we quantitatively evaluate the potential for regional disparities in a multi-model context using results from a model experiment that offsets the forcing from a quadrupling of CO₂ via reduction in solar irradiance. We evaluate temperature and precipitation changes in 22 geographic regions spanning most of Earthʼs continental area. Moderate amounts of solar reduction (up to 85% of the amount that returns global mean temperatures to preindustrial levels) result in regional temperature values that are closer to preindustrial levels than an un-geoengineered, high CO₂ world for all regions and all models. However, in all but one model, there is at least one region for which no amount of solar reduction can restore precipitation toward its preindustrial value. For most metrics considering simultaneous changes in both variables, temperature and precipitation values in all regions are closer to the preindustrial climate for a moderate amount of solar reduction than for no solar reduction.

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