Sunday, January 26, 2014

Planet cooling idea could cause climate chaos


 

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.