The Design Space of Solar Geoengineering: Stratospheric Aerosol Injection (SAI) and Marine Cloud Brightening (MCB)

Walker Lee

Nov. 28, 2023

11:10 am – 12:00 pm MST


Main content

Solar geoengineering - varyingly referred to as climate intervention, solar radiation management, or simply "geoengineering" - refers to a number of proposed methods to increase planetary albedo, cool the planet's surface, and reduce the impacts of global warming. Of these, the most prominent are stratospheric aerosol injection (SAI, the artificial introduction of reflective aerosols into the middle atmosphere) and marine cloud brightening (MCB, the artificial brightening of low ocean clouds with sea salt, akin to ship tracks). The impacts of a solar geoengineering intervention would depend on the strategy employed: how large is the intervention, and does it change with time? Where is it being deployed, and in what season(s)? As such, fully understanding the span of possible strategies - the "design space" - is necessary to inform future decisions. The seminar will outline a brief history of solar geoengineering research, past efforts to quantify the SAI design space, and current and future efforts to explore and map the MCB design space.

Walker Lee