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Planet cooling idea could cause climate chaos

Posted on Wednesday, 8 January, 2014 | Comment icon 27 comments

Is geo-engineering the answer to climate change ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Brian Kerry
A proposal to reduce global warming using tiny reflective particles has been condemned by scientists.
Climate researchers looking for methods to help curb the effects of global warming have proposed injecting large numbers of tiny reflective particles in to the atmosphere to block out the sun, but scientists looking in to the idea have warned that it could cause more problems than it solves by creating droughts and climate chaos in some of the world's poorest countries.

Another high-profile geo-engineering method, one that involves injecting massive amounts of sulphate particles in to the atmosphere to mimic the cooling effects of a volcanic eruption, has also been criticized on similar grounds.

"We have shown that one of the leading candidates for geo-engineering could cause a new unintended side-effect over a large part of the planet," said study co-author Andrew Charlton-Perez.

"The risks from this kind of geo-engineering are huge. A reduction in tropical rainfall of 30 per cent would, for example, quickly dry out Indonesia so much that even the wettest years after a man-made intervention would be equal to drought conditions now."

While cutting carbon emissions is still the single most effective way to reduce the effects of man-made global warming, it is thought that some geo-engineering methods could still be viable in the future as long as they don't introduce their own unintended environmental consequences.

Source: Independent | Comments (27)

Tags: Climate Change, Global Warming

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #18 Posted by Doug1o29 on 9 January, 2014, 14:48
You might want to double check that information. The 2013 calendar year data isn't available yet. What your source is looking at is the meteorological year (December through November). He is also using the HadCrut3v dataset, which is only one of the eight that are available. It shows 1998 to have been the warmest year ever, with 2010 in second place. The NOAA (Hansen) dataset shows 2010 to have been the warmest. The Crutem4 dataset shows 2007 to have been the warmest with 2010 in second place and 1998 in third place. Crutem4v dataset shows 2007 to have been the warmest, followed by 2007,... [More]
Comment icon #19 Posted by Br Cornelius on 9 January, 2014, 16:56
People are misunderstanding what this article is saying, it is pointing out the dangers of trying to cool the planet through geo-engineering whilst leaving the climate change drivers (CO2 and land use change) unaddressed. It is not saying that the planet is naturally cooling and there is absolutely no evidence to support a belief that the planet is currently in a cooling stage. The evidence over the last 17 years clearly shows that the planet is rising in temperature - but at a slower rate than previously. The energy balance of the planet has not flipped into net loss of energy and is still ac... [More]
Comment icon #20 Posted by Doug1o29 on 9 January, 2014, 17:13
Long time, no sea. Welcome back. Isn't that last sentence a little blunt? I don't think anybody is deliberately misrepresenting things here. Maybe a little confused, that's all. Doug
Comment icon #21 Posted by Br Cornelius on 9 January, 2014, 17:51
I don't intend to be back as such, I realized something profound some time back - there is no reaching those in deep denial. As such the effort only hurts me. The mis-characterization of this article by some here is a perfect example of what I am talking about. No need to be gentle at this stage of the debate since we are only dealing with the deeply delusional who will never be reached. The work of convincing the general public has now been realized and its time for the public to start demanding appropriate action from their representatives. Time to move on. Br Cornelius
Comment icon #22 Posted by Doug1o29 on 9 January, 2014, 18:00
That is probably true of a couple of folks on here, but I don't think Subsonic should be included on that list and that's who I was talking to. Doug
Comment icon #23 Posted by Setton on 9 January, 2014, 18:12
So scientists 40 years ago had an idea and it was revised/scrapped when new data disproved it... That's what science is all about. In essence, it is that simple What most people don't understand is, it doesn't matter how much CO2 we produce. What matters is the net change (i.e. amount produced - amount used). If that's more than zero, the overall amount in the atmosphere (the stuff that affects global temperature) gradually increases year on year. So, if we take your idea, we keep CO2 production the same and increase usage of it (we call these sources and sinks), decreasing... [More]
Comment icon #24 Posted by Doug1o29 on 10 January, 2014, 13:58
There was an article in one of the journals that miscalculated the Milankovic cycles. It was nothing more than an arithmetic mistake, but it got past the reviewers. In the early-to-mid 60s there was a minor downturn in temps; it lasted less than eight years. The popular press put 2 and 2 together and got 22. And the rest, as they say, is history. There's an article in the current issue of "Science" that describes an Arctic carbon sink that may be enough to offset melting permafrost. Doug
Comment icon #25 Posted by Bildr on 10 January, 2014, 14:53
Seems like planting more Trees and vegetation on our cities and limiting our carbon emission to what the planet can recycle on itself is to hard to do!!!
Comment icon #26 Posted by Doug1o29 on 10 January, 2014, 15:27
Tree planting will help. It will buy time. But there are limits to how many acres we can plant and how much carbon those acres can sequester. There are farming methods that sequester carbon in the soil. The US could convert completely to better farming methods in less than ten years and already has the legal/administrative machinery to do it, but lacks the political courage. We could do it without raising taxes, but we'd have to quit subsidizing corporate farms for not growing crops. And that is another thing we lack the political courage to do. The only permanent solution is to cut back... [More]
Comment icon #27 Posted by Setton on 10 January, 2014, 16:44
As they are wont to do Thanks, I'll take a look. Got a bit behind on current research since I started teaching.

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