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High-latitude stratospheric aerosol geoengineering can be more effective if injection is limited to spring
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  • Walker Raymond Lee,
  • Douglas G MacMartin,
  • Daniele Visioni,
  • Ben Kravitz
Walker Raymond Lee
Cornell University

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Douglas G MacMartin
Cornell University
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Daniele Visioni
Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Cornell University
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Ben Kravitz
Indiana University
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Stratospheric aerosol geoengineering focused on the Arctic could substantially reduce local and worldwide impacts of anthropogenic global warming. Because the Arctic receives little sunlight during the winter, stratospheric aerosols present in the winter at high latitudes have little impact on the climate, whereas stratospheric aerosols present during the summer achieve larger changes in radiative forcing. Injecting SO2 in the spring leads to peak aerosol optical depth (AOD) in the summer. We demonstrate that spring injection produces approximately twice as much summer AOD as year-round injection and restores approximately twice as much September sea ice, resulting in less increase in stratospheric sulfur burden, stratospheric heating, and stratospheric ozone depletion per unit of sea ice restored. We also find that differences in AOD between different seasonal injection strategies are small compared to the difference between annual and spring injection.