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Geoengineering could reduce climate change risks

The artificial modification to the way light penetrates and interacts with particles, can be used to affect climate change in specific areas, the study from University College London suggests.

The scientific test is the stratospheric aerosol geoengineering, which is a method of global dimming in relation to solar radiation management. The principle behind this is the concept of that adding a film of aerosol particles to the upper atmosphere. The intention is to lower the impact of climate changes triggered by greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide.

Some regard the technology as controversial, perhaps making climate conditions worse or not being effective. However, theoretically a one-degree temperature drop would be of great benefit to conditions on earth.

Much of this approach remains theoretical (based on a model called a geoengineering large ensemble), although research indicates that solar geoengineering can be delivered via aircraft technologies, where aircraft would inject into the atmosphere particles to lower global average temperatures.

The new research provides data that suggests even a relatively crude method, such as injecting sulfur dioxide in the stratosphere will reduce climate hazards. With this, important considerations include spatial distribution and magnitude of the radiative forcing.

However, it should be noted that even if successful, solar geoengineering can only treat the symptoms of global heating and not the underlying causes, connected with greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Therefore, other measures still need to be considered with respect to tackling climate change.

The research appears in two publications:

Environmental Research Letters, where the research is titled “Halving warming with stratospheric aerosol geoengineering moderates policy-relevant climate hazards.”


Nature Climate Change, with the research paper: “Halving warming with idealized solar geoengineering moderates key climate hazards.”

Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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