Irreversibility of marine climate change impacts under carbon dioxide removal

Artificial carbon dioxide removal (CDR) from the atmosphere has been proposed as a measure for mitigating climate change and restoring the climate system to a target state after exceedance (“overshoot”). This research investigates to what extent overshoot and subsequent recovery of a given cumulative CO2 emissions level by CDR leaves a legacy in the marine environment using an Earth system model. We use RCP2.6 and its extension to year 2300 as the reference scenario and design a set of cumulative emissions and temperature overshoot scenarios based on other RCPs. Our results suggest that the overshoot and subsequent return to a reference cumulative emissions level would leave substantial impacts on the marine environment. Although the changes in sea surface temperature, pH and dissolved oxygen are largely reversible, global mean values and spatial patterns of these variables differ significantly from those in the reference scenario when the reference cumulative emissions are attained.

Li X., Zickfeld K., Mathesius S., Kohfeld K. E., Matthews J. B. R., 2020. Irreversibility of Marine Climate Change Impacts under Carbon Dioxide Removal. ESSOAr. Article.

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