Physical Processes & Engineering Science Theme

This science theme focuses on the understanding of relevant physical processes to ultimately allow accurate representation of climate intervention strategies in Earth System models.

Currently many existing projects mostly focus on single intervention strategies. However, there is a need to explore a portfolio of combined climate intervention strategies including mitigation, solar radiation management (SRM) and carbon dioxide removal (CDR). Many model improvements are needed to more accurately represent today’s climate as well as proposed climate intervention approaches. Current model shortcomings include the representation of the carbon and nitrogen cycle, albedo, aerosol and cloud microphysical processes, permafrost, and representation of tipping points across different scales. A multi-model approach is needed to identify a possible range of outcomes. Accurately estimating uncertainties requires comparison to observations as well as laboratory studies.

There is a need to understand the natural environment across multiple scales, ranging from fundamental microphysical and chemical processes to global scale interactions. New convergence is further needed between physical science and engineering. The engineering community is indispensable to assess feasibility and uncertainties related to implementation, strategy development and deployment needs. The engineering community needs to be engaged and connected with global modelers to identify reasonable options to develop the different climate intervention technologies.