Impact of Geoengineering Schemes on the Global Hydrological Cycle

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The rapidly rising CO{sub 2} level in the atmosphere has led to proposals of climate stabilization via 'Geoengineering' schemes that would mitigate climate change by intentionally reducing the solar radiation incident on earth's surface. In this paper, we address the impact of these climate stabilization schemes on the global hydrological cycle, using equilibrium simulations from an atmospheric general circulation model coupled to a slab ocean model. We show that insolation reductions sufficient to offset global-scale temperature increases lead to a decrease in the intensity of the global hydrologic cycle. This occurs because solar forcing is more effective in driving changes ... continued below

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Bala, G; Duffy, P & Taylor, K December 7, 2007.

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The rapidly rising CO{sub 2} level in the atmosphere has led to proposals of climate stabilization via 'Geoengineering' schemes that would mitigate climate change by intentionally reducing the solar radiation incident on earth's surface. In this paper, we address the impact of these climate stabilization schemes on the global hydrological cycle, using equilibrium simulations from an atmospheric general circulation model coupled to a slab ocean model. We show that insolation reductions sufficient to offset global-scale temperature increases lead to a decrease in the intensity of the global hydrologic cycle. This occurs because solar forcing is more effective in driving changes in global mean evaporation than is CO{sub 2} forcing of a similar magnitude. In the model used here, the hydrologic sensitivity, defined as the percentage change in global mean precipitation per degree warming, is 2.4% for solar forcing, but only 1.5% for CO{sub 2} forcing. Although other models and the climate system itself may differ quantitatively from this result, the conclusion can be understood based on simple considerations of the surface energy budget and thus is likely to be robust. Compared to changing temperature by altering greenhouse gas concentrations, changing temperature by varying insolation results in larger changes in net radiative fluxes at the surface; these are compensated by larger changes in latent and sensible heat fluxes. Hence the hydrological cycle is more sensitive to temperature adjustment via changes in insolation than changes in greenhouse gases. This implies that an alteration in solar forcing might offset temperature changes or hydrological changes from greenhouse warming, but could not cancel both at once.

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PDF-file: 20 pages; size: 0.3 Mbytes

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  • Journal Name: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 105, no. 22, August 5, 2008, pp. 7664-7669; Journal Volume: 105; Journal Issue: 22

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  • Report No.: UCRL-JRNL-237159
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-48
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 943811
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc900130

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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  • December 7, 2007

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  • Sept. 27, 2016, 1:39 a.m.

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  • Dec. 7, 2016, 3:28 p.m.

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Bala, G; Duffy, P & Taylor, K. Impact of Geoengineering Schemes on the Global Hydrological Cycle, article, December 7, 2007; Livermore, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc900130/: accessed October 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.