Geoengineering cure for global warming could cause problems
Proposed cure for global warming could cause problems
August 14, 2007
Proposed geoengineering schemes to reduce global warming may do more harm than good, warns a new study published in Geophysical Research Letters.
Based on observations of the global temperature effects from aerosols released during volcanic eruptions, some scientists have proposed scattering light-reflecting sulfate particles in the atmosphere as a way to mitigate climate change. Paul J. Crutzen, winner of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on the hole in the ozone layer, has said that injecting sulfur into the atmosphere could slow global warming by reflecting solar radiation back into space.
Now a new paper by Kevin E. Trenberth and Aiguo Dai of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, in Boulder Colorado, cautions that volcanic eruptions have other climate effects. Examining precipitation and streamflow records from 1950 to 2004 to measure the effects of volcanic eruptions from Mexico’s El Chichón (1982) and the Philippines’ Pinatubo (1991), the authors show that the eruption of Pinatubo caused “substantial global decrease in precipitation over land, a record decrease in runoff and river discharge into the oceans, and widespread drying over land during the following year”
Volcano outside Yogjakarta on the island of Java, Indonesia
Trenberth and Dai conclude that “major adverse effects, including drought, could arise from geoengineering solutions to global warming,” according to Geophysical Research Letters.
CITATION: Kevin E. Trenberth and Aiguo Dai (2007). Climate change and geoengineering: Is the cure worse than the sickness?. Geophysical Research Letters August 14, 2007
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