Weakening of the Extratropical Storm Tracks in Solar Geoengineering Scenarios

Charles G. Gertler, Paul A. O'Gorman, Ben Kravitz, John C. Moore, Steven J. Phipps, Shingo Watanabe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Solar geoengineering that aims to offset global warming could nonetheless alter atmospheric temperature gradients and humidity and thus affect the extratropical storm tracks. Here, we first analyze climate model simulations from experiment G1 of the Geoengineering Model Intercomparison Project, in which a reduction in incoming solar radiation balances a quadrupling of CO2. The Northern Hemisphere extratropical storm track weakens by a comparable amount in G1 as it does for increased CO2 only. The Southern Hemisphere storm track also weakens in G1, in contrast to a strengthening and poleward shift for increased CO2. Using mean available potential energy, we show that the changes in zonal‐mean temperature and humidity are sufficient to explain the different responses of storm‐track intensity. We also demonstrate similar weakening in a more complex geoengineering scenario. Our results offer insight into how geoengineering affects storm tracks, highlighting the potential for geoengineering to induce novel climate changes.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2020GL087348
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jun 2020
MoEC publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Available Potential Energy
  • Climate Change
  • Extratropical Cyclones
  • Geoengineering
  • Storm Tracks

Field of science

  • Geosciences


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