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Effects of Different Stratospheric SO_2 Injection Altitudes on Stratospheric Chemistry and Dynamics

Tilmes, Simone and Richter, Jadwiga H. and Mills, Michael J. and Kravitz, Ben and MacMartin, Douglas G. and Garcia, Rolando R. and Kinnison, Douglas E. and Lamarque, Jean-Francois and Tribbia, Joseph and Vitt, Francis (2018) Effects of Different Stratospheric SO_2 Injection Altitudes on Stratospheric Chemistry and Dynamics. Journal of Geophysical Research. Atmospheres, 123 (9). pp. 4654-4673. ISSN 2169-897X. doi:10.1002/2017JD028146.

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Strategically applied geoengineering is proposed to reduce some of the known side effects of stratospheric aerosol modifications. Specific climate goals could be reached depending on design choices of stratospheric sulfur injections by latitude, altitude, and magnitude. Here we explore in detail the stratospheric chemical and dynamical responses to injections at different altitudes using a fully coupled Earth System Model. Two different scenarios are explored that produce approximately the same global cooling of 2°C over the period 2042–2049, a high‐altitude injection case using 24 Tg SO_2/year at 30 hPa (≈25‐km altitude) and a low‐altitude injection case using 32 Tg SO_2/year injections at 70 hPa (between 19‐ and 20‐km altitude), with annual injections divided equally between 15°N and 15°S. Both cases result in a warming of the lower tropical stratosphere up to 10 and 15°C for the high‐ and low‐altitude injection case and in substantial increases of stratospheric water vapor of up to 2 and 4 ppm, respectively, compared to no geoengineering conditions. Polar column ozone in the Northern Hemisphere is reduced by up to 18% in March for the high‐altitude injection case and up to 8% for the low‐altitude injection case. However, for winter middle and high northern latitudes, low‐altitude injections result in greater column ozone values than without geoengineering. These changes are mostly driven by dynamics and advection. Antarctic column ozone in 2042–2049 does not recover from present‐day (2002–2009) values for both cases.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription ItemEarth System Grid
Tilmes, Simone0000-0002-6557-3569
Richter, Jadwiga H.0000-0001-7048-0781
Mills, Michael J.0000-0002-8054-1346
Kravitz, Ben0000-0001-6318-1150
MacMartin, Douglas G.0000-0003-1987-9417
Garcia, Rolando R.0000-0002-6963-4592
Kinnison, Douglas E.0000-0002-3418-0834
Lamarque, Jean-Francois0000-0002-4225-5074
Tribbia, Joseph0000-0003-1639-9688
Vitt, Francis0000-0002-8684-214X
Alternate Title:Effects of Different Stratospheric SO2 Injection Altitudes on Stratospheric Chemistry and Dynamics
Additional Information:© 2018 American Geophysical Union. Received 1 DEC 2017. Accepted 12 MAR 2018. Accepted article online 30 MAR 2018. Published online 3 MAY 2018. Special Section: Simulations of Stratospheric Sulfate Aerosol Geoengineering With the Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model (WACCM) We thank Andrew Conley, Alan Robock, and an anonymous reviewer for useful comments and suggestions. We further would like to acknowledge high‐performance computing support from Yellowstone (ark:/85065/d7wd3xhc) provided by NCAR's Computational and Information Systems Laboratory, sponsored by the National Science Foundation. The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is operated for the U.S. Department of Energy by Battelle Memorial Institute under contract DE‐AC05‐76RL01830. The CESM project is supported by the National Science Foundation and the Office of Science (BER) of the U.S. Department of Energy. The National Center for Atmospheric Research is funded by the National Science Foundation. This research was developed with funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The views, opinions, and/or findings expressed are those of the author and should not be interpreted as representing the official views or policies of the Department of Defense or the U.S. Government. All simulations were carried out on the Yellowstone high‐performance computing platform (Computational and Information Systems Laboratory, 2012) and are available to the community via the Earth System Grid at
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Department of Energy (DOE)DE‐AC05‐76RL01830
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)UNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:geoengineering; ozone hole; SRM; aerosol; stratospheric dynamics and chemistry; climate engineering
Issue or Number:9
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20180620-125022705
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Tilmes, S., Richter, J. H., Mills, M. J., Kravitz, B., MacMartin, D. G., Garcia, R. R., et al. (2018). Effects of different stratospheric SO2 injection altitudes on stratospheric chemistry and dynamics. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 123, 4654–4673.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:87267
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:20 Jun 2018 20:05
Last Modified:15 Nov 2021 20:46

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