Comparison of the Fast and Slow Climate Response to Three Radiation Management Geoengineering Schemes
Geoengineering has been proposed as a backup approach to rapidly cool the Earth and avoid damages associated with anthropogenic climate change. In this study, we use the NCAR Community Earth System Model to conduct a series of slab-ocean and prescribed sea surface temperature simulations to investigate the climate response to three proposed radiation management geoengineering schemes: stratospheric aerosol increase (SAI), marine cloud brightening (MCB), and cirrus cloud thinning (CCT). Our simulations show that different amounts of radiative forcing are needed for these three schemes to compensate global mean warming induced by a doubling of atmospheric CO2. With radiative forcing defined in terms of top-of-atmosphere energy imbalances in prescribed sea surface temperature simulations with land temperature adjustments, radiative forcing efficacy for SAI is about 15% smaller than that of CO2, and the efficacy for MCB and CCNCCT is about 10% larger than that of CO2. In our simulations, different forcing efficacies are associated with different feedback processes for these forcing agents. Also, these geoengineering schemes produce different land-ocean temperature change contrasts. The apparent hydrological sensitivity, that is, change in equilibrium global mean precipitation per degree of equilibrium temperature change, differs substantially between CO2, SAI, MCB, and CCNCCT forcings, which is mainly a result of different precipitation responses during fast adjustment. After removing the component of fast adjustment, the northward movement of the Intertropical Convergence Zone in response to these forcing agents is tightly related with changes in the interhemispheric energy exchange and hemispheric temperature gradient.