• Peer-Reviewed
Geophysical Research Letters · 2023

Optimizing Injection Locations Relaxes Altitude-Lifetime Trade-Off for Stratospheric Aerosol Injection

Hongwei Sun, Stephen Bourguet, Sebastian Eastham, David Keith

Stratospheric Aerosol Injection (SAI) aims to offset some climate hazards by injecting aerosols into the stratosphere to reflect solar radiation. The lifetime of injected particles influences SAI’s radiative efficacy—the ratio of radiative forcing to particle mass flux. We employ a Lagrangian trajectory model with particle sedimentation to simulate how background circulations influence the transport of passive particles (without microphysical growth) in the stratosphere and quantify sensitivities of particle lifetime to injection locations. At 20 km, optimizing injection locations can increase particle lifetime by >40%. Injection strategies can be constrained to maintain an interhemispheric balance of particle lifetime without significantly decreasing total lifetime. Generally, increasing injection altitude increases particle lifetime while also increasing costs and environmental impacts of deployment aircraft. Optimizing injection latitude and longitude can relax this altitude-lifetime trade-off by increasing lifetime without needing to increase altitude, which warrants further testing in global climate models with aerosol microphysics.

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