Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Can we fix climate with geoengineering?

Since world leaders still cannot agree on how will new climate deal look like there is increased number of scientists who believe that we should give geoengineering a shot. The simplest geoengineering definition would be injecting sunlight-reflecting gases (aerosols) into the upper atmosphere to counteract the effects of global warming from greenhouse gas emissions.

Can geoengineering really turn out to be a right solution for climate change? Well, if are to believe the latest study from Kate Ricke, a climate physicist at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and her colleagues then the answer is no it can't.

This group of scientists has concluded that using geoengineering to counteract climate change effect isn't connected with certain outcomes because not only could solar-radiation management lead to declines in rainfall in the long term, but geoengineering effects would also very likely vary by region, meaning that some places would likely be over-cooled by atmospheric changes that are on the other hand too small to be effective for their neighbors.

Scientists believe that geoengineering supporters do not take regional effects into consideration when discussing this topic. According to Ricke's modelling, levels of sulphate that kept China closest to its original climate were so high that they made India cold and wet. Those that were best for India caused China to overheat. In other words what's good enough for my neighbor doesn't have to be also good enough for me.

The scientists have also concluded that these effects tend to worsen even further over long-time periods, and as Ricke concluded "the longer you do it, the more imperfect it becomes".

Thus, Ricke and her colleagues concluded that geoengineering is at best temporary solution against climate change, even more temporary than some scientists had expected.

No comments:

Post a Comment