Modifications of the quasi-biennial oscillation by a geoengineering perturbation of the stratospheric aerosol layer

V. Aquila*, C. I. Garfinkel, P. A. Newman, L. D. Oman, D. W. Waugh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper examines the impact of geoengineering via stratospheric sulfate aerosol on the quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) using the NASA Goddard Earth Observing System version 5 Chemistry Climate Model. We performed four 30 year simulations with a continuous injection of sulfur dioxide on the equator at 0° longitude. The four simulations differ by the amount of sulfur dioxide injected (5 Tg/yr and 2.5 Tg/yr) and the altitude of the injection (16 km-25 km and 22 km-25 km). We find that such an injection dramatically alters the quasi-biennial oscillation, prolonging the phase of easterly shear with respect to the control simulation. This is caused by the increased aerosol heating and associated warming in the tropical lower stratosphere and higher residual vertical velocity. In the case of maximum perturbation, i.e., highest stratospheric aerosol burden, the lower tropical stratosphere is locked into a permanent westerly QBO phase. Key Points Geoengineering aerosol would prolong the westerly phase of the QBO Large geoengineering stratospheric aerosol injections might interrupt the QBO QBO changes are due to aerosol warming and increased residual vertical velocity

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1738-1744
Number of pages7
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume41
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 16 Mar 2014

Keywords

  • QBO
  • geoengineering
  • stratospheric aerosol

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