14 Mar 2022
14 Mar 2022
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Indices of Extremes: Geographic patterns of change in extremes and associated vegetation impacts under climate intervention

Mari R. Tye1, Katherine Dagon1, Maria J. Molina1, Jadwiga H. Richter1, Daniele Visioni2, Ben Kravitz3,4, Claudia Tebaldi5, and Simone Tilmes6 Mari R. Tye et al.
  • 1Climate Global Dynamics Laboratory, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO
  • 2Sibley School for Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
  • 3Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
  • 4Atmospheric Sciences and Global Change Division, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA
  • 5Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA
  • 6Atmospheric Chemistry, Observations, and Modeling Laboratory, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO

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.

Mari R. Tye et al.

Status: open (until 08 May 2022)

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Mari R. Tye et al.

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Short summary
We examined the potential effect of stratospheric aerosol injections (SAI) on extreme temperature and precipitation. SAI may cause daytime temperatures to cool but nighttime to warm. Daytime cooling may occur in all seasons across the globe, with largest decreases in the summer. In contrast, nighttime warming may be greatest at high latitudes in the winter. SAI may reduce the frequency and intensity of extreme rainfall. The combined changes may exacerbate drying over parts of the global South.