The Geoengineering Model Intercomparison Project (GeoMIP), a CMIP5 Coordinated Experiment

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Tuesday, 4 February 2014: 4:00 PM
Room C102 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Alan Robock, Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick, NJ; and B. Kravitz

The Geoengineering Model Intercomparison Project (GeoMIP) was designed to determine robust climate system model responses to Solar Radiation Management (SRM). While mitigation (reducing greenhouse gases emissions) is the most effective way of reducing future climate change, SRM (the deliberate modification of incoming solar radiation) has been proposed as a means of temporarily alleviating some of the effects of global warming. For society to make informed decisions as to whether SRM should ever be implemented, information is needed on the benefits, risks, and side effects, and GeoMIP seeks to aid in that endeavor. GeoMIP has organized four standardized climate model simulations involving reduction of insolation or increased amounts of stratospheric sulfate aerosols to counteract increasing greenhouse gases. Thirteen comprehensive atmosphere-ocean general circulation models have participated in the project so far. GeoMIP is a “CMIP Coordinated Experiment” as part of the Climate Model Intercomparison Project 5 (CMIP5) and has been endorsed by SPARC (Stratosphere-troposphere Processes And their Role in Climate). GeoMIP has held three international workshops and has produced a number of recent journal articles.

GeoMIP has found that if increasing greenhouse gases could be counteracted with insolation reduction, the global average temperature could be kept constant, but global average precipitation would reduce, particularly in summer monsoon regions around the world. Temperature changes would also not be uniform. The tropics would cool, but high latitudes would warm, with continuing, but reduced sea ice and ice sheet melting. Temperature extremes would still increase, but not as much as without SRM. If SRM were halted all at once, there would be rapid temperature and precipitation increases at 5-10 times the rates from gradual global warming. SRM combined with CO2 fertilization would have small impacts on rice production in China, but would increase maize production. SRM using stratospheric aerosols would reduce ozone and enhance surface UV-B radiation, but the details depend on the size distribution of the aerosols, and the complex interaction between upwelling of ozone-poor air in the tropics, suppression of the NOx cycle, and increases of surface area density.

While GeoMIP has improved confidence in the expected climate effects of geoengineering in several key areas, it has also highlighted several important research gaps, such as the effects on terrestrial net primary productivity and the importance of the CO2 physiological effect in determining the hydrologic cycle response to geoengineering. Future efforts will endeavor to address these gaps, as well as encourage cooperation with the chemistry modeling communities, the impact assessment communities (including on agriculture and ecosystems), and other groups interested in model output. We are organizing new GeoMIP experiments that address the suggestion that SRM be implemented by marine cloud brightening, and are proposing that GeoMIP be an integral part of the design of the CMIP6 project.

Supplementary URL: http://climate.envsci.rutgers.edu/GeoMIP/