Publication Abstracts

Gasparini et al. 2020

Gasparini, B., Z. McGraw, T. Storelvmo, and U. Lohmann, 2020: To what extent can cirrus cloud seeding counteract global warming? In Environ. Res. Lett., vol. 15, no. 5, pp. 054002, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/ab71a3.

The idea of modifying cirrus clouds to directly counteract greenhouse gas warming has gained momentum in recent years, despite disputes over its physical feasibility. Previous studies that analyzed modifications of cirrus clouds by seeding of ice nucleating particles showed large uncertainties in both cloud and surface climate responses, ranging from no effect or even a small warming to a globally averaged cooling of about 2.5 °C. We use two general circulation models that showed very different responses in previous studies, ECHAM6-HAM and CESM-CAM5, to determine which radiative and climatic responses to cirrus cloud seeding in a 1.5×CO2 world are common and which are not. Seeding reduces the net cirrus radiative effect for -1.8 w/m2 in CESM compared with only -0.8 w/m2 in ECHAM. Accordingly, the surface temperature decrease is larger in CESM, counteracting about 70% of the global mean temperature increase due to CO2 and only 30% in ECHAM. While seeding impacts on mean precipitation were addressed in past studies, we are the first to analyze extreme precipitation responses to cirrus seeding. Seeding decreases the frequency of the most extreme precipitation globally. However, the extreme precipitation events occur more frequently in the Sahel and Central America, following the mean precipitation increase due to a northward shift of the Intertropical Convergence Zone. In addition, we use a quadratic climate damage metric to evaluate the amount of CO2-induced damage cirrus seeding can counteract. Seeding decreases the damage by about 50% in ECHAM, and by 85% in CESM over the 21 selected land regions. Climate damage due to CO2 increase is significantly reduced as a result of seeding in all of the considered land regions.

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BibTeX Citation

  author={Gasparini, B. and McGraw, Z. and Storelvmo, T. and Lohmann, U.},
  title={To what extent can cirrus cloud seeding counteract global warming?},
  booktitle={Environ. Res. Lett.},

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RIS Citation

ID  - ga05300j
AU  - Gasparini, B.
AU  - McGraw, Z.
AU  - Storelvmo, T.
AU  - Lohmann, U.
PY  - 2020
TI  - To what extent can cirrus cloud seeding counteract global warming?
BT  - Environ. Res. Lett.
VL  - 15
IS  - 5
SP  - 054002
DO  - 10.1088/1748-9326/ab71a3
ER  -

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