Artificially Cooling The Planet May Create New Natural Disasters


A new research finds artificially cooling the Earth's atmosphere in order to counteract the effects of global warming would bring about new catastrophic disasters in other regions around the globe.

Artificially Cooling The Earth

Some scientists believe that releasing aerosols artificially into the sky, as volcanic eruptions do, to cool the Earth can potentially decrease the effects of global warming.

However, a new study published in the scientific journal Nature Communications on Nov. 14 suggests that such methods, known as "geoengineering," could cause droughts and storms to occur in other parts of the world.

Geoengineering, also known as climate engineering, takes place when humans deliberately intervene in the Earth's natural climate system in order to counter the effects of climate change.

Scientists have proposed several ways to do this and one of them is to reflect the sun's rays away from the Earth, a technique known as "stratospheric aerosol injection." This solar engineering technique imitates the effects of volcanoes when they release large amounts of sulfur into the air.

According to scientists, the 1991 Mount Pinatubo eruption in the Philippines managed to cool the planet by 0.9 degrees Fahrenheit.

Researchers Use Simulations To Investigate

Researchers from the University of Exeter in England tried to use simulations along with a "coupled atmosphere-ocean" model in order to study how aerosol injections would affect the frequency of North Atlantic tropical cyclones.

They found that injecting aerosols into the northern hemisphere may bring down the number of tropical cyclones in the area, but it would simultaneously cause droughts in the Sahel region of sub-Saharan Africa.

In other words, it may be possible to suppress tropical cyclones in one region, but this could potentially induce droughts and other natural disasters in another region of the globe. Researchers warn that these results suggest that solar engineering could cause uncertain and possibly devastating effects on Earth.

Dr. Anthony Jones, lead author of the study and a climate expert at the university, said the results confirm that "regional solar geoengineering is a highly risky strategy" that could benefit one area and at the same time, harm another.

Researchers Warn About Uncertainty Of Solar Engineering

Researchers are urging policymakers to implement strict regulations against future geoengineering programs and take into consideration the uncertain consequences of solar engineering.

"This research shows how a global temperature target such as 1.5 or 2C needs to be combined with information on a more regional scale to properly assess the full range of climate impacts," adds Jim Haywood, co-author of the study and professor at the University of Exeter Mathematics department.

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