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The impacts of Stratospheric Aerosol Injection on Antarctic ice loss depend on injection location
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  • Paul Brent Goddard,
  • Ben Kravitz,
  • Douglas G MacMartin,
  • Daniele Visioni,
  • Ewa M. Bednarz,
  • Walker Raymond Lee
Paul Brent Goddard
Indiana University Bloomington

Corresponding Author:pgoddard@iu.edu

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Ben Kravitz
Indiana University
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Douglas G MacMartin
Cornell University
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Daniele Visioni
Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
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Ewa M. Bednarz
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Walker Raymond Lee
Cornell University
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Owing to increasing greenhouse gas emissions, the West Antarctic Ice Sheet as well as a few subglacial basins in East Antarctica are vulnerable to rapid ice loss in the upcoming decades and centuries, respectively. This study examines the effectiveness of using Stratospheric Aerosol Injection (SAI) that minimizes global mean temperature (GMT) change to slow projected 21st century Antarctic ice loss. We use eleven different SAI cases which vary by the latitudinal location(s) and the amount(s) of the injection(s) to examine the climatic response near Antarctica in each case as compared to the reference climate at the turn of the last century. We demonstrate that injecting at a single latitude in the northern hemisphere or at the Equator increases Antarctic shelf ocean temperatures pertinent to ice shelf basal melt, while injecting only in the southern hemisphere minimizes this temperature change. We use these results to analyze the results of more complex multi-latitude injection strategies that maintain GMT at or below 1.5°C above the pre-industrial. All these cases will slow Antarctic ice loss relative to the mid-to-late 21st century SSP2-4.5 emissions pathway. Yet, to avoid a GMT threshold estimated by previous studies pertaining to rapid West Antarctic ice loss (~1.5°C above the pre-industrial), our study suggests SAI would need to cool below this threshold and predominately inject at low southern hemisphere latitudes. These results highlight the complexity of factors impacting the Antarctic response to SAI and the critical role of the injection strategy in preventing future ice loss.
13 Jun 2023Submitted to ESS Open Archive
14 Jun 2023Published in ESS Open Archive