Recent multimodel studies have shown that if one attempts to cancel increasing CO2 concentrations by reducing absorbed solar radiation, the hydrological cycle will weaken if global temperature is kept unchanged. Using a global climate model, we investigate the hydrological cycle response to “cirrus cloud thinning (CCT),” which is a proposed climate engineering technique that seeks to enhance outgoing longwave radiation. Investigations of the “fast response” in experiments with fixed sea surface temperatures reveal that CCT causes a significant enhancement of the latent heat flux and precipitation. This is due to enhanced radiative cooling of the troposphere, which is opposite to the effect of increased CO2 concentrations. By combining CCT with CO2 increase in multidecadal simulations with a slab ocean, we demonstrate a systematic enhancement of the hydrological cycle due to CCT. This leads to enhanced moisture availability in low-latitude land regions and a strengthening of the Indian monsoon.
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