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January 16, 2017

Risks to global water resources from geoengineering the climate with solar radiation management

Risks to global water resources from geoengineering the climate with solar radiation management 400 x 400 px

Global warming poses grave risks for society and ecosystems. To date, mitigation efforts have been insufficient to prevent greenhouse gas emissions from continuing to rise.

Solar radiation management geoengineering has been proposed as a means to slow or reverse global warming by reflecting incoming sunlight back to space. Solar radiation management is receiving growing attention as a potential response to global warming, however its risks are currently unknown.

For example, lowering global temperatures with solar radiation management would significantly reduce rainfall in some regions, potentially pushing them into water stress. A global-scale assessment is urgently needed to quantify the risks and opportunities that solar radiation management poses to global water resources.

You will explore this by applying simulations from the latest geoengineering climate model experiments run in the Geoengineering Model Intercomparison Project (GeoMIP) to a global hydrological model. You will investigate spatial patterns of rainfall, flood risk, drought, and water stress, across the globe, under a set of scenarios of solar radiation management deployment.

You will answer policy-relevant research questions such as: which parts of the globe will benefit/suffer from solar radiation management; which regions would be better off with global warming than with a cooler climate achieved by geoengineering; and how long would it take for such changes to occur; all within the context of global water resources.

You will join an expanding group in climate change impacts research. You will be supervised by Dr Simon Gosling (Associate Professor in Climate Risk) and Dr Nick Mount (Associate Professor in Hydroinformatics) at the School of Geography, and you will work closely with Dr Ben Kravitz (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, USA) and Dr Peter Irvine (Harvard University, USA), with visits to both these institutions.

Applicants should hold a minimum of a UK Honours Degree at 2.1 level (or equivalent) in subjects such as Geography, Natural Sciences, Physics, Engineering, or Mathematics/Statistics. We expect the most competitive applicants will have a Master’s qualification or substantial practical experience.

For further details please contact Dr. Simon Gosling simon.gosling@nottingham.ac.uk