• Peer-Reviewed
Geophysical Research Letters · 2010

Efficient formation of stratospheric aerosol for climate engineering by emission of condensible vapor from aircraft: AEROSOL FROM CONDENSIBLE VAPOR

Jeffrey R. Pierce, Debra K. Weisenstein, Patricia Heckendorn, Thomas Peter, and David W. Keith

Recent analysis suggests that the effectiveness of stratospheric aerosol climate engineering through emission of non‐condensable vapors such as SO₂ is limited because the slow conversion to H₂SO₄ tends to produce aerosol particles that are too large; SO₂ injection may be so inefficient that it is difficult to counteract the radiative forcing due to a CO₂ doubling. Here we describe an alternate method in which aerosol is formed rapidly in the plume following injection of H₂SO₄, a condensable vapor, from an aircraft. This method gives better control of particle size and can produce larger radiative forcing with lower sulfur loadings than SO₂ injection. Relative to SO₂ injection, it may reduce some of the adverse effects of geoengineering such as radiative heating of the lower stratosphere. This method does not, however, alter the fact that such a geoengineered radiative forcing can, at best, only partially compensate for the climate changes produced by CO₂.

Related Content