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Volume 18, issue 17 | Copyright

Special issue: The Geoengineering Model Intercomparison Project (GeoMIP):...

Atmos. Chem. Phys., 18, 13097-13113, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 12 Sep 2018

Research article | 12 Sep 2018

The climate effects of increasing ocean albedo: an idealized representation of solar geoengineering

Ben Kravitz1, Philip J. Rasch1, Hailong Wang1, Alan Robock2, Corey Gabriel3, Olivier Boucher4, Jason N. S. Cole5, Jim Haywood6,7, Duoying Ji8, Andy Jones6, Andrew Lenton9, John C. Moore8, Helene Muri10,11, Ulrike Niemeier12, Steven Phipps13,14, Hauke Schmidt12, Shingo Watanabe15, Shuting Yang16, and Jin-Ho Yoon17 Ben Kravitz et al.
  • 1Atmospheric Sciences and Global Change Division, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA, USA
  • 2Department of Environmental Sciences, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, USA
  • 3Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA, USA
  • 4Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique, CNRS / Sorbonne Université, Paris, France
  • 5Environment and Climate Change Canada, Toronto, Canada
  • 6Met Office Hadley Centre, Exeter, UK
  • 7College of Engineering, Mathematics, and Physical Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK
  • 8State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology, College of Global Change and Earth System Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China
  • 9CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
  • 10Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
  • 11Department of Energy and Process Engineering, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
  • 12Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg, Germany
  • 13Climate Change Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
  • 14Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
  • 15Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, Yokohama, Japan
  • 16Danish Meteorological Institute, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • 17School of Earth Sciences and Environmental Engineering, Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology, Gwangju, South Korea

Abstract. Geoengineering, or climate intervention, describes methods of deliberately altering the climate system to offset anthropogenic climate change. As an idealized representation of near-surface solar geoengineering over the ocean, such as marine cloud brightening, this paper discusses experiment G1ocean-albedo of the Geoengineering Model Intercomparison Project (GeoMIP), involving an abrupt quadrupling of the CO2 concentration and an instantaneous increase in ocean albedo to maintain approximate net top-of-atmosphere radiative flux balance. A total of 11 Earth system models are relatively consistent in their temperature, radiative flux, and hydrological cycle responses to this experiment. Due to the imposed forcing, air over the land surface warms by a model average of 1.14K, while air over most of the ocean cools. Some parts of the near-surface air temperature over ocean warm due to heat transport from land to ocean. These changes generally resolve within a few years, indicating that changes in ocean heat content play at most a small role in the warming over the oceans. The hydrological cycle response is a general slowing down, with high heterogeneity in the response, particularly in the tropics. While idealized, these results have important implications for marine cloud brightening, or other methods of geoengineering involving spatially heterogeneous forcing, or other general forcings with a strong land–ocean contrast. It also reinforces previous findings that keeping top-of-atmosphere net radiative flux constant is not sufficient for preventing changes in global mean temperature.

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Marine cloud brightening has been proposed as a means of geoengineering/climate intervention, or deliberately altering the climate system to offset anthropogenic climate change. In idealized simulations that highlight contrasts between land and ocean, we find that the globe warms, including the ocean due to transport of heat from land. This study reinforces that no net energy input into the Earth system does not mean that temperature will necessarily remain unchanged.
Marine cloud brightening has been proposed as a means of geoengineering/climate intervention, or...