Improved aerosol radiative properties as a foundation for solar geoengineering risk assessment

Citation:

John Dykema, David Keith, and Frank Keutsch. 2016. “Improved aerosol radiative properties as a foundation for solar geoengineering risk assessment.” Geophysical Research Letters. Publisher's Version

Abstract:

Side effects resulting from the deliberate injection of sulfate aerosols intended to partially offset climate change have motivated the investigation of alternatives, including solid aerosol materials. Sulfate aerosols warm the tropical tropopause layer, increasing the flux of water vapor into the stratosphere, accelerating ozone loss, and increasing radiative forcing. The high refractive index of some solid materials may lead to reduction in these risks. We present a new analysis of the scattering efficiency and absorption of a range of candidate solid aerosols. We utilize a comprehensive radiative transfer model driven by updated, physically consistent estimates of optical properties. We compute the potential increase in stratospheric water vapor and associated longwave radiative forcing. We find that the stratospheric heating calculated in this analysis indicates some materials to be substantially riskier than previous work. We also find that there are Earth-abundant materials that may reduce some principal known risks relative to sulfate aerosols.

Last updated on 12/15/2016