, Volume 41, Issue 4, pp 350–369 | Cite as

Ecosystem Impacts of Geoengineering: A Review for Developing a Science Plan

  • Lynn M. RussellEmail author
  • Philip J. Rasch
  • Georgina M. Mace
  • Robert B. Jackson
  • John Shepherd
  • Peter Liss
  • Margaret Leinen
  • David Schimel
  • Naomi E. Vaughan
  • Anthony C. Janetos
  • Philip W. Boyd
  • Richard J. Norby
  • Ken Caldeira
  • Joonas Merikanto
  • Paulo Artaxo
  • Jerry Melillo
  • M. Granger Morgan
Review Paper


Geoengineering methods are intended to reduce climate change, which is already having demonstrable effects on ecosystem structure and functioning in some regions. Two types of geoengineering activities that have been proposed are: carbon dioxide (CO2) removal (CDR), which removes CO2 from the atmosphere, and solar radiation management (SRM, or sunlight reflection methods), which reflects a small percentage of sunlight back into space to offset warming from greenhouse gases (GHGs). Current research suggests that SRM or CDR might diminish the impacts of climate change on ecosystems by reducing changes in temperature and precipitation. However, sudden cessation of SRM would exacerbate the climate effects on ecosystems, and some CDR might interfere with oceanic and terrestrial ecosystem processes. The many risks and uncertainties associated with these new kinds of purposeful perturbations to the Earth system are not well understood and require cautious and comprehensive research.


Geoengineering Ecosystems Climate change Carbon dioxide removal Solar radiation management 



The authors gratefully acknowledge financial support from the U.S. National Science Foundation grant AGS1111205 and the U.K. Natural Environment Research Council, as well as seed funding and outreach support from the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program. We also gratefully acknowledge workshop participation from Richard Norris, Richard Somerville, Susan Hassol, Kathy Barbeau, Luis Gylvan, Phil Ineson, Ninad Bondre, Ben Kravitz, Spencer Hill, Lili Xia, Robin Stevens, and Anita Johnson.


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Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lynn M. Russell
    • 1
    Email author
  • Philip J. Rasch
    • 2
  • Georgina M. Mace
    • 3
  • Robert B. Jackson
    • 4
  • John Shepherd
    • 5
  • Peter Liss
    • 6
  • Margaret Leinen
    • 7
  • David Schimel
    • 8
  • Naomi E. Vaughan
    • 9
  • Anthony C. Janetos
    • 10
  • Philip W. Boyd
    • 11
  • Richard J. Norby
    • 12
  • Ken Caldeira
    • 13
  • Joonas Merikanto
    • 14
  • Paulo Artaxo
    • 15
  • Jerry Melillo
    • 16
  • M. Granger Morgan
    • 17
  1. 1.Scripps Institution of OceanographyUniversity of California, San DiegoLa JollaUSA
  2. 2.Pacific Northwest National LaboratoryRichlandUSA
  3. 3.Centre for Population BiologyImperial College LondonAscotUK
  4. 4.Nicholas School of the EnvironmentDuke UniversityDurhamUSA
  5. 5.Earth System Science, School of Ocean and Earth Sciences, National Oceanography CentreUniversity of Southampton, European WaySouthamptonUK
  6. 6.School of Environmental SciencesUniversity of East AngliaNorwichUK
  7. 7.Harbor Branch Oceanographic InstituteFort PierceUSA
  8. 8.NEON IncBoulderUSA
  9. 9.Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, School of Environmental SciencesUniversity of East AngliaNorwichUK
  10. 10.Joint Global Change Research Institute Pacific Northwest National Laboratory/University of MarylandCollege ParkUSA
  11. 11.NIWA Centre of Chemical & Physical Oceanography, Department of ChemistryUniversity of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand
  12. 12.Environmental Sciences DivisionOak Ridge National LaboratoryOak RidgeUSA
  13. 13.Department of Global EcologyCarnegie InstitutionStanfordUSA
  14. 14.Division of Atmospheric Sciences, Department of PhysicsUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  15. 15.Institute of PhysicsUniversity of São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  16. 16.The Ecosystems CenterMarine Biological LaboratoryWoods HoleUSA
  17. 17.Department of Engineering and Public PolicyCarnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburghUSA

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