The 2015 Paris Agreement aims to limit global warming to well below 2 K above preindustrial levels, and to pursue efforts to limit global warming to 1.5 K, in order to avert dangerous climate change. However, current greenhouse gas emissions targets are more compatible with scenarios exhibiting end‐of‐century global warming of 2.6–3.1 K, in clear contradiction to the 1.5 K target. In this study, we use a global climate model to investigate the climatic impacts of using solar geoengineering by stratospheric aerosol injection to stabilize global‐mean temperature at 1.5 K for the duration of the 21st century against three scenarios spanning the range of plausible greenhouse gas mitigation pathways (RCP2.6, RCP4.5, and RCP8.5). In addition to stabilizing global mean temperature and offsetting both Arctic sea‐ice loss and thermosteric sea‐level rise, we find that solar geoengineering could effectively counteract enhancements to the frequency of extreme storms in the North Atlantic and heatwaves in Europe, but would be less effective at counteracting hydrological changes in the Amazon basin and North Atlantic storm track displacement. In summary, solar geoengineering may reduce global mean impacts but is an imperfect solution at the regional level, where the effects of climate change are experienced. Our results should galvanize research into the regionality of climate responses to solar geoengineering.
Earth's Future – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
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