Study: Tailored Solar Geoengineering Could Combat Global Warming
October 23, 2012 9:37 AM
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Solar geoengineering involves techniques like creating low-altitude marine clouds or increasing the aerosol concentrations in the stratosphere
Much like tailoring different articles of clothing to match the weather, a new study suggests customizing solar geoengineering to compliment the needs of different regions in an effort to combat global warming.
Solar geoengineering is a method of fighting global warming by reflecting sunlight back into space. Solar geoengineering involves techniques like creating low-altitude marine clouds or increasing the
aerosol concentrations in the stratosphere
A group of researchers from the California Institute of Technology, the Carnegie Institution for Science and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) have created a study that shows how tailored solar geoengineering can help certain regions fight global warming as needed rather than a uniform method of solar geoengineering -- which could negatively affect weather in certain areas.
Some are opposed to solar geoengineering because it can
affect weather around the world
. For instance, greenhouse gases suppress precipitation, and reflecting a certain amount of sunlight back into space would not restore this precipitation. Greenhouse gases and aerosols affect Earth's heat and rain in different areas in different ways. With limited sunlight, everything could change and have dramatic consequences.
But that's where tailored solar geoengineering comes in. Different regions would only receive the amount of reflection needed to keep weather stable, yet reduce causes of global warming. The researchers used a model to predict how this would work, and found that reflecting sunlight away from the Earth based on region and season could help
fight global warming
without seriously affecting weather.
"There has been a lot of loose talk about region-specific climate modification," said the study. "By contrast, our research uses a more systematic approach to understand how geoengineering might be used to limit a specific impact. We found that tailored solar geoengineering might limit Arctic sea ice loss with several times less total solar shading than would be needed in a uniform case."
However, the researchers did add that solar radiation management could produce uncertain outcomes.
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RE: I'm still not convinced
10/23/2012 6:53:50 PM
Lets combine a few points. First, what you point out. Second, what other people were talking about regarding unintended consequences of near-term action. Third, lets look at economic analysis that shows the optimal amount of CO2 abatement is fairly minimal in regards to maximizing long run growth. Fourth, lets also consider that these scientists say that even if CO2 output from humans falls to zero, the cat is already out of the bag for an extremely long time.
I think keeping all that in mind, there's only two logical conclusions for someone who holds humanities best interest at heart:
1) There's little harm that will come from waiting, say, another 20 years until those unintended consequences can be minimized.
2) Just to be on the safe side, we could pursue massive adoption nuclear energy. Expensive up-front, extremely cheap on a continuing basis, operates rain or shine night or day, extremely safe and zero emissions of any sort.
People that advance other views I think are really just coming from a position of wanting to see mankind rolled back in to the African bush in the long run, instead of defiling holy mother Earth or, even worse, spreading our vile existence to other planets.
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