Indices of Extremes: Geographic patterns of change in extremes and associated vegetation impacts under climate intervention
Abstract. Extreme weather events have been demonstrated to be increasing in frequency and intensity across the globe and are anticipated to increase further with projected changes in climate. Solar climate intervention strategies, specifically stratospheric aerosol injections (SAI), have the potential to minimise some of the impacts of a changing climate while more robust reductions in greenhouse gas emissions take effect. However, to date little attention has been paid to the possible responses of extreme weather and climate events under climate intervention scenarios. We present an analysis of 16 extreme surface temperature and precipitation indices, and associated vegetation responses, applied to the Geoengineering Large Ensemble (GLENS). GLENS is an ensemble of simulations performed with the Community Earth System Model (CESM1) where SAI is simulated to offset the warming produced by a high emission scenario throughout the 21st century, maintaining surface temperatures at 2020 levels.
GLENS is generally successful at maintaining global mean temperature near 2020 levels, however it does not completely offset some of the projected warming in northern latitudes. Some regions are also projected to cool substantially in comparison to the present day, with the greatest decreases in daytime temperatures. The differential warming/cooling also translates to fewer very hot days but more very hot nights during the summer, and fewer very cold days or nights compared to the current day. Extreme precipitation patterns, for the most part, are projected to reduce in intensity in areas that are wet in the current climate and increase in intensity in dry areas. We also find that the distribution of daily precipitation becomes more consistent with more days with light rain, and fewer very intense events than occur currently. In many regions there is a reduction in the persistence of long dry and wet spells compared to present day. However, asymmetry in the night and day temperatures, together with changes in cloud cover and vegetative responses could exacerbate drying in regions that are already sensitive to drought. Overall, our results suggest that while SAI may ameliorate some of the extreme weather hazards produced by global warming, it would also present some significant differences in the distribution of climate extremes compared to the present day.
Journal article(s) based on this preprint
Mari R. Tye et al.