Could we Restore Arctic Sea Ice with Geoengineering?

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    Geoengineering Proposals

    Could we Restore Arctic Sea Ice with Geoengineering?

    In a paper published in Geophysical Research Letters IAGP researchers perform a novel simulation where we see if it is possible to restore Arctic sea-ice using stratospheric aerosol injected by planes flying out of Svalbard. We treat a single model run as the real world and examine practical decision making under imperfect observations and incomplete understanding of climate response. We found quantifying climate side effects problematic. Nevertheless, through decision maker learning and the accumulation of at least 10 years’ time series data exploited through an annual review cycle, uncertainties in observations and forcings were successfully managed. This work involved Lawrence Jackson, Julia Crook and Piers Forster.

    Geophysical Research Letters

    Assessing the controllability of Arctic sea ice extent by sulfate aerosol geoengineering
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2014GL062240/full
    First published: 25 February 2015

    Abstract

    In an assessment of how Arctic sea ice cover could be remediated in a warming world, we simulated the injection of SO2 into the Arctic stratosphere making annual adjustments to injection rates. We treated one climate model realization as a surrogate “real world” with imperfect “observations” and no rerunning or reference to control simulations. SO2 injection rates were proposed using a novel model predictive control regime which incorporated a second simpler climate model to forecast “optimal” decision pathways. Commencing the simulation in 2018, Arctic sea ice cover was remediated by 2043 and maintained until solar geoengineering was terminated. We found quantifying climate side effects problematic because internal climate variability hampered detection of regional climate changes beyond the Arctic. Nevertheless, through decision maker learning and the accumulation of at least 10 years time series data exploited through an annual review cycle, uncertainties in observations and forcings were successfully managed.

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