Sulfuric acid deposition from stratospheric geoengineering with sulfate aerosols

Ben Kravitz, Alan Robock, Luke Oman, Georgiy L. Stenchikov, Allison B. Marquardt

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58 Scopus citations

Abstract

We used a general circulation model of Earth's climate to conduct geoengineering experiments involving stratospheric injection of sulfur dioxide and analyzed the resulting deposition of sulfate. When sulfur dioxide is injected into the tropical or Arctic stratosphere, the main additional surface deposition of sulfate occurs in midlatitude bands, because of strong cross-tropopause flux in the jet stream regions. We used critical load studies to determine the effects of this increase in sulfate deposition on terrestrial ecosystems by assuming the upper limit of hydration of all sulfate aerosols into sulfuric acid. For annual injection of 5 Tg of SO2 into the tropical stratosphere or 3 Tg of SO2 into the Arctic stratosphere, neither the maximum point value of sulfate deposition of approximately 1.5 mEq m−2 a−1 nor the largest additional deposition that would result from geoengineering of approximately 0.05 mEq m−2 a−1 is enough to negatively impact most ecosystems.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Volume114
Issue numberD14
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 28 2009

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