Assessing climate impacts and risks of ocean albedo modification in the Arctic.

Mengis, Nadine , Martin, Torge , Keller, David P. and Oschlies, Andreas (2016) Assessing climate impacts and risks of ocean albedo modification in the Arctic. Open Access Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 121 (5). pp. 3044-3057. DOI 10.1002/2015JC011433.

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The ice albedo feedback is one of the key factors of accelerated temperature increase in the high northern latitudes under global warming. This study assesses climate impacts and risks of idealized Arctic Ocean albedo modification (AOAM), a proposed climate engineering method, during transient cli- mate change simulations with varying representative concentration pathway (RCP) scenarios. We find no potential for reversing trends in all assessed Arctic climate metrics under increasing atmospheric CO2 con- centrations. AOAM only yields an initial offset during the first years after implementation. Nevertheless, sea ice loss can be delayed by 25(60) years in the RCP8.5(RCP4.5) scenario and the delayed thawing of perma- frost soils in the AOAM simulations prevents up to 40(32) Pg of carbon from being released by 2100. AOAM initially dampens the decline of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning and delays the onset of open ocean deep convection in the Nordic Seas under the RCP scenarios. Both these processes cause a subsurface warming signal in the AOAM simulations relative to the default RCP simulations with the potential to desta- bilize Arctic marine gas hydrates. Furthermore, in 2100, the RCP8.5 AOAM simulation diverts more from the 2005–2015 reference state in many climate metrics than the RCP4.5 simulation without AOAM. Considering the demonstrated risks, we conclude that concerning longer time scales, reductions in emissions remain the safest and most effective way to prevent severe changes in the Arctic.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: geoengineering, climate engineering, radiation management; Arctic Ocean albedo modification
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB2 Marine Biogeochemistry > FB2-BM Biogeochemical Modeling
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence > FO-R05
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB1 Ocean Circulation and Climate Dynamics > FB1-TM Theory and Modeling
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
Publisher: AGU (American Geophysical Union), Wiley
Related URLs:
Projects: SPP 1689, Future Ocean, Opendap
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2016 10:24
Last Modified: 23 Nov 2020 13:20

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