Quantifying risks of stratospheric geoengineering: from laboratory to small-scale field experiments

DSRC entrance

David Keith and Frank Keutsch, Harvard University

Monday, June 12, 2017, 10:00 am Mountain Time
DSRC 2A305


Solar radiation management (SRM), a geoengineering approach to modify Earth’s climate on a global level, has been receiving growing attention. Stratospheric SRM may reduce some climate risks, but it also entails new risks including changes in the hydrological cycle, ozone loss and heating of the stratosphere. Although most work has focused on introduction of sulfate aerosol into the stratosphere to reduce solar radiation at the surface, a number of other materials have also been considered. One of the challenges in improving the quantification of risks is the large range of temporal and spatial scales involved. We will discuss mechanistic laboratory studies of heterogeneous reactions that could affect ozone levels in the stratosphere for materials such as calcium carbonate. We will also discuss approaches to investigate the effect of aging of such materials over stratospheric time scales. Lastly, we will present a proposed small-scale stratospheric field experiment that will test whether the results from the laboratory are transferable to the real stratosphere.

Frank Keutsch is a Stonington Professor of Engineering and Atmospheric Science and Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University.

David Keith is a Gordon McKay Professor of Applied Physics and Professor of Public Policy (HKS) at Harvard University.

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