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Volume 18, issue 21 | Copyright

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

Atmos. Chem. Phys., 18, 16033-16050, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-18-16033-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 08 Nov 2018

Research article | 08 Nov 2018

Global streamflow and flood response to stratospheric aerosol geoengineering

Liren Wei1, Duoying Ji1, Chiyuan Miao2, Helene Muri3,4, and John C. Moore1,5,6 Liren Wei et al.
  • 1College of Global Change and Earth System Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
  • 2State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology, Faculty of Geographical Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
  • 3Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
  • 4Department of Energy and Process Engineering, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
  • 5Arctic Centre, University of Lapland, P.O. Box 122, 96101 Rovaniemi, Finland
  • 6CAS Center for Excellence in Tibetan Plateau Earth Sciences, Beijing 100101, China

Abstract. Flood risk is projected to increase under future warming climates due to an enhanced hydrological cycle. Solar geoengineering is known to reduce precipitation and slow down the hydrological cycle and may therefore be expected to offset increased flood risk. We examine this hypothesis using streamflow and river discharge responses to Representative Concentration Pathway 4.5 (RCP4.5) and the Geoengineering Model Intercomparison Project (GeoMIP) G4 scenarios. Compared with RCP4.5, streamflow on the western sides of Eurasia and North America is increased under G4, while the eastern sides see a decrease. In the Southern Hemisphere, the northern parts of landmasses have lower streamflow under G4, and streamflow of southern parts increases relative to RCP4.5. We furthermore calculate changes in 30-, 50-, and 100-year flood return periods relative to the historical (1960–1999) period under the RCP4.5 and G4 scenarios. Similar spatial patterns are produced for each return period, although those under G4 are closer to historical values than under RCP4.5. Hence, in general, solar geoengineering does appear to reduce flood risk in most regions, but the overall effects are largely determined by this large-scale geographic pattern. Although G4 stratospheric aerosol geoengineering ameliorates the Amazon drying under RCP4.5, with a weak increase in soil moisture, the decreased runoff and streamflow leads to an increased flood return period under G4 compared with RCP4.5.

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We analyzed streamflow and flood frequency under the stratospheric aerosol geoengineering scenario simulated by climate models. Stratospheric aerosol geoengineering appears to reduce flood risk in most regions, but the overall effects are largely determined by the large-scale geographic pattern. Over the Amazon, stratospheric aerosol geoengineering ameliorates the drying trend here under a future warming climate.
We analyzed streamflow and flood frequency under the stratospheric aerosol geoengineering...
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