EGU24-15763, updated on 09 Mar 2024
EGU General Assembly 2024
© Author(s) 2024. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Could planetary scale solar radiation management prevent a West Antarctic Ice Sheet collapse? 

Johannes Sutter1,3, Thomas Frölicher1,3, Anthony Jones2, Christian Wirths1,3, and Thomas Stocker1,3
Johannes Sutter et al.
  • 1University of Bern, Physics Institute, Climate and Environmental Physics, Bern, Switzerland (
  • 2Met Office, Exeter, UK
  • 3Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland

Solar radiation modification (SRM) is increasingly discussed as a tool to reduce or avert global warming and concomitantly the risk of ice-sheet collapse, as is considered possible for the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS). While there is a growing body of literature on the climate impacts of various hypothetical SRM employment schemes, the concomitant effects on ice sheet dynamics are much less studied let alone understood. We present the first study explicitly modelling the Antarctic Ice Sheet response to global SRM-interventions with a continental scale ice sheet model. Intuitively, the question whether a WAIS collapse can be prevented depends on a manifold of factors such as ice sheet sensitivity, timing and design of the SRM-intervention and underlying climate scenarios. Our study suggests that safeguarding the WAIS from long-term collapse would either require rapid decarbonization efforts or quasi-immediate SRM-interventions. Both cases are either politically unrealistic or imprudent considering the precautionary principle. We discuss the response of the Antarctic Ice Sheet under various climate and SRM scenarios and the associated uncertainties which need to be resolved to get a more conclusive understanding on the impact of SRM-geoengineering strategies on earth’s two remaining large ice sheets. 

How to cite: Sutter, J., Frölicher, T., Jones, A., Wirths, C., and Stocker, T.: Could planetary scale solar radiation management prevent a West Antarctic Ice Sheet collapse? , EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-15763,, 2024.