Publications associated with Stratosphere and Climate

Impacts of stratospheric sulfate geoengineering on global solar photovoltaic and concentrating solar power resource

Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology American Meteorological Society 56 (2017) 1483-1497

C Smith, J Crook, R Crook, L Jackson, S Osprey, P Forster

In recent years, the idea of geoengineering, artificially modifying the climate to reduce global temperatures, has received increasing attention due to the lack of progress in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. Stratospheric sulfate injection (SSI) is a geoengineering method proposed to reduce planetary warming by reflecting a proportion of solar radiation back into space that would otherwise warm the surface and lower atmosphere. We analyze results from the HadGEM2-CCS climate model with stratospheric emissions of 10 Tg yr-1 of SO2, designed to offset global temperature rise by around 1°C. A reduction in concentrating solar power (CSP) output of 5.9% on average over land is shown under SSI compared to a baseline future climate change scenario (RCP4.5) due to a decrease in direct radiation. Solar photovoltaic (PV) energy is generally less affected as it can use diffuse radiation, which increases under SSI, at the expense of direct radiation. Our results from HadGEM2-CCS are compared to the GEOSCCM chemistry-climate model from the Geoengineering Model Intercomparison Project (GeoMIP), with 5 Tg yr-1 emission of SO2. In many regions, the differences predicted in solar energy output between the SSI and RCP4.5 simulations are robust, as the sign of the changes for both the HadGEM2-CCS and GEOSCCM models agree. Furthermore, the sign of the total and direct annual mean radiation changes evaluated by HadGEM2-CCS agree with the sign of the multi-model mean changes of an ensemble of GeoMIP models over the majority of the world.

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