## Can we use linear response theory to assess geoengineering strategies?
Bódai, T., Lucarini, V. and Lunkeit, F.
(2020)
It is advisable to refer to the publisher's version if you intend to cite from this work. See Guidance on citing. To link to this item DOI: 10.1063/1.5122255 ## Abstract/SummaryGeoengineering can control only some climatic variables but not others, resulting in side-effects. We investigate in an intermediate-complexity climate model the applicability of linear response theory (LRT) to the assessment of a geoengineering method. This application of LRT is twofold. First, our objective (O1) is to assess only the best possible geoengineering scenario by looking for a suitable modulation of solar forcing that can cancel out or otherwise modulate a climate change signal resulting from a rise in CO2 alone. Here we consider only the cancellation of the expected global mean surface air temperature. It is a straightforward inverse problem for this solar forcing, and, considering an infinite time period, we use LRT to provide the solution in the frequency domain in closed form. We provide procedures suitable for numerical implementation that apply to finite time periods too. Second, to be able to use LRT to quantify side-effects, the response with respect to uncontrolled observables, such as regional must be approximately linear. Our objective (O2) here is to assess the linearity of the response. We find that under geoengineering in the sense of (O1) the asymptotic response of the globally averaged temperature is actually not zero. This is due to an inaccurate determination of the linear susceptibilities. The error is due to a significant quadratic nonlinearity of the response. This nonlinear contribution can be easily removed, which results in much better estimates of the linear susceptibility, and, in turn, in a fivefold reduction in the global average surface temperature under geoengineering. This correction dramatically improves also the agreement of the spatial patterns of the predicted and of the true response. However, such an agreement is not perfect and is worse in the case of the precipitation patterns, as a result of greater degree of nonlinearity.Geoengineering can control only some climatic variables but not others, resulting in side-effects. We investigate in an intermediate-complexity climate model the applicability of linear response theory (LRT) to the assessment of a geoengineering method. This application of LRT is twofold. First, our objective (O1) is to assess only the best possible geoengineering scenario by looking for a suitable modulation of solar forcing that can cancel out or otherwise modulate a climate change signal resulting from a rise in CO2 alone. Here we consider only the cancellation of the expected global mean surface air temperature. It is a straightforward inverse problem for this solar forcing, and, considering an infinite time period, we use LRT to provide the solution in the frequency domain in closed form. We provide procedures suitable for numerical implementation that apply to finite time periods too. Second, to be able to use LRT to quantify side-effects, the response with respect to uncontrolled observables, such as regional must be approximately linear. Our objective (O2) here is to assess the linearity of the response. We find that under geoengineering in the sense of (O1) the asymptotic response of the globally averaged temperature is actually not zero. This is due to an inaccurate determination of the linear susceptibilities. The error is due to a significant quadratic nonlinearity of the response. This nonlinear contribution can be easily removed, which results in much better estimates of the linear susceptibility, and, in turn, in a fivefold reduction in the global average surface temperature under geoengineering. This correction dramatically improves also the agreement of the spatial patterns of the predicted and of the true response. However, such an agreement is not perfect and is worse in the case of the precipitation patterns, as a result of greater degree of nonlinearity.
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