Geoengineering as a design problem
Abstract. Understanding the climate impacts of solar geoengineering is essential for evaluating its benefits and risks. Most previous simulations have prescribed a particular strategy and evaluated its modeled effects. Here we turn this approach around by first choosing example climate objectives and then designing a strategy to meet those objectives in climate models.
There are four essential criteria for designing a strategy: (i) an explicit specification of the objectives, (ii) defining what climate forcing agents to modify so the objectives are met, (iii) a method for managing uncertainties, and (iv) independent verification of the strategy in an evaluation model.
We demonstrate this design perspective through two multi-objective examples. First, changes in Arctic temperature and the position of tropical precipitation due to CO2 increases are offset by adjusting high-latitude insolation in each hemisphere independently. Second, three different latitude-dependent patterns of insolation are modified to offset CO2-induced changes in global mean temperature, interhemispheric temperature asymmetry, and the Equator-to-pole temperature gradient. In both examples, the "design" and "evaluation" models are state-of-the-art fully coupled atmosphere–ocean general circulation models.