Abstract

Satellite measurements over the last three decades show a gradual decrease in solar output, which can be indicative as a precursor to a modern grand solar minimum (GSM). Using a chemistry–climate model, this study investigates the potential of two GSM scenarios with different magnitude to counteract the climate change by projected anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through the twenty-first century. To identify regions showing enhanced vulnerability to climate change (hot spots) and to estimate their response to a possible modern GSM, a multidimensional metric is applied that accounts for—in addition to changes in mean quantities—seasonal changes in the variability and occurrence of extreme events. We find that a future GSM in the middle of the twenty-first century would temporarily mitigate the global mean impact of anthropogenic climate change by 10%–23% depending on the GSM scenario. A future GSM would, however, not be able to stop anthropogenic global warming. For the GHG-only scenario, our hot-spot analysis suggests that the midlatitudes show a response to rising GHGs below global average, while in the tropics, climate change hot spots with more frequent extreme hot seasons will develop during the twenty-first century. A GSM would reduce the climate change warming in all regions. The GHG-induced warming in Arctic winter would be dampened in a GSM due to the impact of reduced solar irradiance on Arctic sea ice. However, even an extreme GSM could only mitigate a fraction of the tropical hot-spot pattern (up to 24%) in the long term.

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