Posts Tagged 'globalmodeling'

Impacts of shifts in phytoplankton community on clouds and climate via the sulfur cycle

Dimethyl sulfide (DMS), primarily produced by marine organisms, contributes significantly to sulfate aerosol loading over the ocean after being oxidized in the atmosphere. In addition to exerting a direct radiative effect, the resulting aerosol particles act as cloud condensation nuclei, modulating cloud properties and extent, with impacts on atmospheric radiative transfer and climate. Thus, changes in pelagic ecosystems, such as phytoplankton physiology and community structure, may influence organosulfur production, and subsequently affect climate via the sulfur cycle. A fully coupled Earth system model, including explicit marine ecosystems and the sulfur cycle, is used here to investigate the impacts of changes associated with individual phytoplankton groups on DMS emissions and climate. Simulations show that changes in phytoplankton community structure, DMS production efficiency, and interactions of multielement biogeochemical cycles can all lead to significant differences in DMS transfer to the atmosphere. Subsequent changes in sulfate aerosol burden, cloud condensation nuclei number, and radiative effect are examined. We find the global annual mean cloud radiative effect shifts up to 0.21 W/m2, and the mean surface temperature increases up to 0.1 °C due to DMS production changes associated with individual phytoplankton group in simulations with radiative effects at the 2,100 levels under an 8.5 scenario. However, changes in DMS emissions, radiative effect, and surface temperature are more intensive on regional scales. Hence, we speculate that major uncertainties associated with future marine sulfur cycling will involve strong region‐to‐region climate shifts. Further understanding of marine ecosystems and the relevant phytoplankton‐aerosol‐climate linkage are needed for improving climate projections.

Continue reading ‘Impacts of shifts in phytoplankton community on clouds and climate via the sulfur cycle’

Climate, ocean circulation, and sea level changes under stabilization and overshoot pathways to 1.5 K warming (update)

The Paris Agreement has initiated a scientific debate on the role that carbon removal – or net negative emissions – might play in achieving less than 1.5 K of global mean surface warming by 2100. Here, we probe the sensitivity of a comprehensive Earth system model (GFDL-ESM2M) to three different atmospheric CO2 concentration pathways, two of which arrive at 1.5 K of warming in 2100 by very different pathways. We run five ensemble members of each of these simulations: (1) a standard Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP4.5) scenario, which produces 2 K of surface warming by 2100 in our model; (2) a stabilization pathway in which atmospheric CO2 concentration never exceeds 440 ppm and the global mean temperature rise is approximately 1.5 K by 2100; and (3) an overshoot pathway that passes through 2 K of warming at mid-century, before ramping down atmospheric CO2 concentrations, as if using carbon removal, to end at 1.5 K of warming at 2100. Although the global mean surface temperature change in response to the overshoot pathway is similar to the stabilization pathway in 2100, this similarity belies several important differences in other climate metrics, such as warming over land masses, the strength of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), ocean acidification, sea ice coverage, and the global mean sea level change and its regional expressions. In 2100, the overshoot ensemble shows a greater global steric sea level rise and weaker AMOC mass transport than in the stabilization scenario, with both of these metrics close to the ensemble mean of RCP4.5. There is strong ocean surface cooling in the North Atlantic Ocean and Southern Ocean in response to overshoot forcing due to perturbations in the ocean circulation. Thus, overshoot forcing in this model reduces the rate of sea ice loss in the Labrador, Nordic, Ross, and Weddell seas relative to the stabilized pathway, suggesting a negative radiative feedback in response to the early rapid warming. Finally, the ocean perturbation in response to warming leads to strong pathway dependence of sea level rise in northern North American cities, with overshoot forcing producing up to 10 cm of additional sea level rise by 2100 relative to stabilization forcing.

Continue reading ‘Climate, ocean circulation, and sea level changes under stabilization and overshoot pathways to 1.5 K warming (update)’

Climate–carbon cycle uncertainties and the Paris agreement

The Paris Agreement1 aims to address the gap between existing climate policies and policies consistent with “holding the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 C”. The feasibility of meeting the target has been questioned both in terms of the possible requirement for negative emissions2 and ongoing debate on the sensitivity of the climate–carbon-cycle system3. Using a sequence of ensembles of a fully dynamic three-dimensional climate–carbon-cycle model, forced by emissions from an integrated assessment model of regional-level climate policy, economy, and technological transformation, we show that a reasonable interpretation of the Paris Agreement is still technically achievable. Specifically, limiting peak (decadal) warming to less than 1.7 °C, or end-of-century warming to less than 1.54 °C, occurs in 50% of our simulations in a policy scenario without net negative emissions or excessive stringency in any policy domain. We evaluate two mitigation scenarios, with 200 gigatonnes of carbon and 307 gigatonnes of carbon post-2017 emissions respectively, quantifying the spatio-temporal variability of warming, precipitation, ocean acidification and marine productivity. Under rapid decarbonization decadal variability dominates the mean response in critical regions, with significant implications for decision-making, demanding impact methodologies that address non-linear spatio-temporal responses. Ignoring carbon-cycle feedback uncertainties (which can explain 47% of peak warming uncertainty) becomes unreasonable under strong mitigation conditions.

Continue reading ‘Climate–carbon cycle uncertainties and the Paris agreement’

Enhanced rates of regional warming and ocean acidification after termination of large‐scale ocean alkalinization

Termination effects of large‐scale Artificial Ocean Alkalinization (AOA) have received little attention because AOA was assumed to pose low environmental risk. With the Max‐Planck‐Institute Earth System Model, we use emission‐driven AOA simulations following the Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5 (RCP8.5). We find that after termination of AOA warming trends in regions of the Northern hemisphere become ∼50% higher than those in RCP8.5 with rates similar to those caused by termination of solar geoengineering over the following three decades after cessation (up to 0.15 K/year). Rates of ocean acidification after termination of AOA outpace those in RCP8.5. In warm shallow regions where vulnerable coral reefs are located, decreasing trends in surface pH double (0.01 units/year) and the drop in the carbonate saturation state (Ω) becomes up to one order of magnitude larger (0.2 units/year). Thus, termination of AOA poses higher risks to biological systems sensitive to fast‐paced environmental changes than previously thought.

Continue reading ‘Enhanced rates of regional warming and ocean acidification after termination of large‐scale ocean alkalinization’

The potential of 230Th for detection of ocean acidification impacts on pelagic carbonate production (update)

Concentrations of dissolved 230Th in the ocean water column increase with depth due to scavenging and downward particle flux. Due to the 230Th scavenging process, any change in the calcium carbonate (CaCO3) fraction of the marine particle flux due to changes in biological CaCO3 hard-shell production as a consequence of progressing ocean acidification would be reflected in the dissolved 230Th activity. Our prognostic simulations with a biogeochemical ocean general circulation model using different scenarios for the reduction of CaCO3 production under ocean acidification and different greenhouse gas emission scenarios – the Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) 8.5 to 2.6 – reveal the potential for deep 230Th measurements to detect reduced CaCO3 production at the sea surface. The time of emergence of an acidification-induced signal on dissolved 230Th is of the same order of magnitude as for alkalinity measurements. Interannual and decadal variability in factors other than a reduction in CaCO3 hard-shell production may mask the ocean-acidification-induced signal in dissolved 230Th and make detection of the pure CaCO3-induced signal more difficult so that only really strong changes in marine CaCO3 export would be unambiguously identifiable soon. Nevertheless, the impacts of changes in CaCO3 export production on marine 230Th are stronger than those for changes in POC (particulate organic carbon) or clay fluxes.

Continue reading ‘The potential of 230Th for detection of ocean acidification impacts on pelagic carbonate production (update)’

Climate change impacts on natural sulfur production: ocean acidification and community shifts

Utilizing the reduced-complexity model Hector, a regional scale analysis was conducted quantifying the possible effects climate change may have on dimethyl sulfide (DMS) emissions within the oceans. The investigation began with a review of the sulfur cycle in modern Earth system models. We then expanded the biogeochemical representation within Hector to include a natural ocean component while accounting for acidification and planktonic community shifts. The report presents results from both a latitudinal and a global perspective. This new approach highlights disparate outcomes which have been inadequately characterized via planetary averages in past publications. Our findings suggest that natural sulfur emissions (ESN) may exert a forcing up to 4 times that of the CO2 marine feedback, 0.62 and 0.15 Wm−2, respectively, and reverse the radiative forcing sign in low latitudes. Additionally, sensitivity tests were conducted to demonstrate the need for further examination of the DMS loop. Ultimately, the present work attempts to include dynamic ESN within reduced-complexity simulations of the sulfur cycle, illustrating its impact on the global radiative budget.

Continue reading ‘Climate change impacts on natural sulfur production: ocean acidification and community shifts’

Model‐based assessment of the CO2 sequestration potential of coastal ocean alkalinization

The potential of coastal ocean alkalinization (COA), a carbon dioxide removal (CDR) climate engineering strategy that chemically increases ocean carbon uptake and storage, is investigated with an Earth system model of intermediate complexity. The CDR potential and possible environmental side effects are estimated for various COA deployment scenarios, assuming olivine as the alkalinity source in ice‐free coastal waters (about 8.6% of the global ocean’s surface area), with dissolution rates being a function of grain size, ambient seawater temperature, and pH. Our results indicate that for a large‐enough olivine deployment of small‐enough grain sizes (10 µm), atmospheric CO2 could be reduced by more than 800 GtC by the year 2100. However, COA with coarse olivine grains (1000 µm) has little CO2 sequestration potential on this time scale. Ambitious CDR with fine olivine grains would increase coastal aragonite saturation Ω to levels well beyond those that are currently observed. When imposing upper limits for aragonite saturation levels (Ωlim) in the grid boxes subject to COA (Ωlim = 3.4 and 9 chosen as examples), COA still has the potential to reduce atmospheric CO2 by 265 GtC (Ωlim = 3.4) to 790 GtC (Ωlim = 9) and increase ocean carbon storage by 290 Gt (Ωlim = 3.4) to 913 Gt (Ωlim = 9) by year 2100.

Continue reading ‘Model‐based assessment of the CO2 sequestration potential of coastal ocean alkalinization’


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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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