fbpx A subpolar-focused stratospheric aerosol injection deployment scenario - Wake Smith | Harvard Kennedy School

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  • Wake Smith


September 15, 2022, Paper: "Stratospheric aerosol injection (SAI) is a prospective climate intervention technology that would seek to abate climate change by deflecting back into space a small fraction of the incoming solar radiation. While most consideration given to SAI assumes a global intervention, this paper considers an alternative scenario whereby SAI might be deployed only in the subpolar regions. Subpolar deployment would quickly envelope the poles as well and could arrest or reverse ice and permafrost melt at high latitudes. This would yield global benefit by retarding sea level rise. Given that effective SAI deployment could be achieved at much lower altitudes in these regions than would be required in the tropics, it is commonly assumed that subpolar deployment would present fewer aeronautical challenges. An SAI deployment intended to reduce average surface temperatures in both the Arctic and Antarctic regions by 2 °C is deemed here to be feasible at relatively low cost with conventional technologies. However, we do not find that such a deployment could be undertaken with a small fleet of pre-existing aircraft, nor that relegating such a program to these sparsely populated regions would obviate the myriad governance challenges that would confront any such deployment. Nevertheless, given its feasibility and potential global benefit, the prospect of subpolar-focused SAI warrants greater attention."

HKS M-RCBG Affiliate - Wake Smith