Comment on “An approach to sulfate geoengineering with surface emissions of carbonyl sulfide” by Quaglia et al. (2022)
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Comment on “An approach to sulfate geoengineering with surface emissions of carbonyl sulfide” by Quaglia et al. (2022)

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  • Journal Title:
    Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
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    Solar radiation management through artificially increasing the amount of stratospheric sulfate aerosol is being considered as a possible climate engineering method. To overcome the challenge of transporting the necessary amount of sulfur to the stratosphere, Quaglia and co-workers suggest deliberate emissions of carbonyl sulfide (OCS), a long-lived precursor of atmospheric sulfate. In their paper, published in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics in 2022, they outline two scenarios with OCS emissions either at the Earth's surface or in the tropical upper troposphere and calculate the expected radiative forcing using a climate model. In our opinion, the study (i) neglects a significantly higher surface uptake that will inevitably be induced by the elevated atmospheric OCS concentrations and (ii) overestimates the net cooling effect of this OCS geoengineering approach due to some questionable parameterizations and assumptions in the radiative forcing calculations. In this commentary, we use state-of-the-art models to show that at the mean atmospheric OCS mixing ratios of the two emissions scenarios, the terrestrial biosphere and the oceans are expected to take up more OCS than is being released to reach these levels. Using chemistry climate models with a long-standing record for estimating the climate forcing of OCS and stratospheric aerosols, we also show that the net radiative forcing of the emission scenarios suggested by Quaglia and co-workers is smaller than suggested and insufficient to offset any significant portion of anthropogenically induced climate change. Our conclusion is that a geoengineering approach using OCS will not work under any circumstances and should not be considered further.
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    Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 23(11), 6591-6598
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    CC BY
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