Climate and Environmental Modelling

Work Package 3:  Impact Modelling - Impacts of Putting Particles into the Stratosphere

This section of the SPICE project attempts to determine what could happen to the world if we were to use the perfect particles chosen by work package 1 and put theminto the stratosphere using the delivery method suggested by work package 2. The scientists will utilise knowledge of past volcanic eruptions (like Mt Pinatubo) to create or improve their computer models, to help predict what might happen if particles were put up into the air at the present time. There are many scenarios of what could happen to the climate in the next few years, depending on what we, the human race do in that time: cut our carbon emissions, burn more fossils fuels than ever, create new cleaner, greener technologies or carry on exactly as we are now. So our computer models may also have to predict the possible impacts for the Earth for each of these possible futures as well, as the one we think is most likely to happen. There are many parameters we still don’t fully understand about Earth’s climate so although the SPICE scientists will make their computer models as accurate as they can, there will always be questions about predictions of the future.

Our work should lead to:

  • Improved modelling of observed responses to natural volcanic particle injections 
  • A set of tools to evaluate the impact of geo-engineered particle injection
  • Radiative / chemical input towards selecting the “perfect particle” 
  • Radiative / dynamical / chemical input towards the delivery method study 
  • Full impact assessment for the suggested “perfect particle” and method
  • Assessment of climate impacts associated with sulphate aerosol injection 
  • Assessment of climate impacts of the “perfect particle” compared with sulphate aerosol
  • Assessment of stratospheric particle injection impacts on ozone chemistry
  • Assessment of stratospheric particle injection on the biosphere

Natural Injection

Volcanic eruptions naturally emit particles into the Stratosphere. In order to have confidence in our models and what they tell us, we must be able to accurately model past volcanic injections. Up until now this has been difficult and models have not always agreed with observations. Work to improve model accuracy is being done in conjunction with NCAS-Climate.

Climate Futures

There are many ideas of what could happen to the climate in the next few years, depending on what we humansdo in that time e.g.:

  • Cut our carbon emissions
  • Burn more fossils fuels than ever
  • Create new cleaner, greener technologies
  • Carry on exactly as we are now

Each possible future is called a climate scenario. Models which simulatestratospheric particle injection are set within various climate scenarios to evaluate likely impacts.