Monitoring of Geoengineering Effects and their Natural and Anthropogenic Analogues

May 23-26, 2011
California Institute of Technology - Pasadena, CA 91125

Workshop Overview:

Climate change is happening and its full consequences are not fully understood. A prevailing view contends that any warming above about 2 Celsius degrees from preindustrial times will be dangerous, producing serious negative consequences for humans and natural systems.  Although the safest and most obvious method of moderating against such climate change is to take early and effective action to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, there is no evidence that the necessary reductions required to avoid reaching the potentially dangerous climate change will be achieved in the near or medium term future.

A number of climate intervention concepts, referred to as “geoengineering,” are being considered as an alternative approach to managing climate change. However, before we go down the path of deliberate climate intervention, it is essential that we take the necessary steps to validate our understanding that underpins any of the proposed intervention concepts in order to understand all likely consequences and put in place the necessary strategies for monitoring the expected and unintended consequences of such intervention.

The proposed KISS study is not about advocacy of geoengineering nor about designing monitoring systems for promoting geoengineering experiments. Rather the study is more a precautionary study with the following goals:

  • enumeration of where major gaps in our understanding exist in solar radiation management (SRM) approaches,
  • identification of the research that would be required to improve understanding of such impacts including modeling and observation of natural and anthropogenic analogues to geoengineering, and
  • a preliminary assessment of where gaps exist in monitoring systems of relevance to SRMs and what is needed to fill such gaps.

This study focuses primarily on examination of concepts based on managing solar radiation into the climate systems.  The primary reason for this focus is because:

  • there exist a number of analogues to the SRMs that currently operate on Earth that provide a unique opportunity to assess our understanding of the response of the climate system to associated changes in solar radiation, and
  • the processes related to these analogues are also fundamental to understanding climate change itself being of central relevance to how climate is forced by aerosol and respond through clouds, among other influences.  

Workshop Participants:

  • Matt W Christensen - Colorado State University
  • Riley M. Duren - JPL
  • Jason M English - University of Colorado
  • Graham Feingold - NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory
  • Brian Kahn - JPL
  • Ben Kravitz - Carnegie Institution for Science
  • Jane C.S. Long - Lawrence Livermore National lab
  • Mike C. MacCracken - Climate Institute
  • Doug MacMynowsi - Caltech
  • Mike J. Mills - NCAR
  • John C. Moore - Beijing Normal University
  • Tom H. Painter - Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • Joyce E Penner - University of Michigan
  • Peter Pilewskie - University of Colorado
  • Tom Prince - Caltech
  • Phil J Rasch - PNNL
  • Kate Ricke - Carnegie Mellon University
  • Alan Robock - Rutgers University
  • Tapio Schneider - California Institute of Technology
  • Graeme L Stephens - Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • Brian B Toon - University of Colorado
  • Jean-Paul Vernier - NASA Langley
  • Duane Waliser - JPL
  • Lili Xia - Rutgers University
  • Yuk L Yung - Caltech

Short Course: Climate Physics and Geoengineering

Mike McCracken,
Climate Institute

The Potential for Climate (Geo-) Engineering to Help to Limit Global Warming to 2 Degrees Celsius Over Pre-Industrial
(68 MB .pdf)
(pdf of Climate Slides of Yore)

Alan Robock,
Rutgers University

Volcanic Aerosols as an Analog for Geoengineering
(11 MB .pdf)

Graham Feingold,

Aerosol-Cloud-Precipitation Interactions in Warm Clouds
(19 MB .pdf)

Thomas H. Painter,

Influences of Dust and Black Carbon on Melt of Snow and Ice: Mitigation and Geoengineering
(70 MB .pdf)

Phil Rasch,
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Modeling climate physics: challenges & climate sensivity studies
(6 MB .pdf)

Stratospheric Aerosols & Radiative Forcing

Team Leads

Goals of Workshop
(521 KB .pdf)

Owen Brian Toon,
University of Colorado, Boulder

Thoughts About Stratospheric Aerosol Geoengineering: What Do We Need to Know?
(2 MB .pdf)

Alan Robock,
Rutgers University

Geoengineering Risks
(413 KB .pdf)

Ben Kravitz,
Carnegie Institute for Science

Introduction to the Geoengineering Model Intercomparison Project (GeoMIP)
(5 MB .pdf)

Jean-Paul Vernier,
NASA Langley

Past, Current and Planned Stratospheric Aerosol Observations
(5 MB .pdf)

Aerosols & Cloud Albedo

Lili Xia,
Rutgers University

Impacts of Stratospheric Sulfate Geoengineering on Food Supply in China
(7.4 MB .pdf)

Jason English,
University of Colorado, Boulder

Impacts of Stratospheric Sulfate Geoengineering on Tropospheric Sulfate Burdens
(3 MB .pdf)

Matt Christensen,
Colorado State University

Satellite Observations of Ship Tracks using Passive and Active Sensors
(20 MB .pdf)