Climate Change Research ›› 2021, Vol. 17 ›› Issue (6): 671-684.doi: 10.12006/j.issn.1673-1719.2021.170

• Special Section on the Sixth Assessment Report of IPCC: WGI • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Climate system response to solar radiation modification

CAO Long()   

  1. Department of Atmospheric Sciences, School of Earth Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310058, China
  • Received:2021-08-15 Revised:2021-09-07 Online:2021-11-30 Published:2021-09-27


The IPCC recently released the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6). The Working Group I contribution to the AR6 “Climate change 2021: the physical science basis” addresses the most up-to-date physical understanding of the climate system and climate change. Climate system and the carbon cycle response to solar radiation modification (SRM) is assessed in this report. SRM can be considered as a potential supplement to deep emission reduction to counteract anthropogenic climate change. All assessment of climate effect from SRM are from modeling work. Key AR6 assessment relevant to SRM are: SRM could offset some of the effects from increasing greenhouse gases on global and regional climate (high confidence), but there would be substantial residual or overcompensating climate change at the regional scales and seasonal time scales (virtually certain). It is possible to stabilize multiple large-scale temperature indicators simultaneously by tailoring the deployment strategy of SRM options (medium confidence). A sudden and sustained termination of SRM in a high greenhouse gas emissions scenario would cause rapid climate change (high confidence), but a gradual phase out of SRM combined with emissions reductions and carbon dioxide removal would avoid large rates of changes (medium confidence). The cooling caused by SRM would increase the global land and ocean CO2 sinks (medium confidence), but SRM would not mitigate ocean acidification (high confidence). Our understanding of climate response to aerosol-based SRM options including stratospheric aerosol injection, marine cloud brightening, and cirrus cloud thinning is limited due to large uncertainties associated with aerosol-cloud-radiation interactions.

Key words: Solar radiation modification (SRM), Climate change, Climate system response, Carbon cycle, Geoengineering

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