Cooling Down Sunlight
This solar geo-engineering field experiment is aimed ultimately at creating a volcano-replicating technology, putting lots of sulphates into the stratosphere bounce sunlight back to space and decrease world temperature.
Cooling Down Sunlight
In an ingenious attempt to combat the threat of global warming, Two Harvard engineers plan use a balloon - flying 80,000 feet over Fort Sumner, New Mexico - to spray into the atmosphere thousands of tons of chemical particles to reflect sunlight back into space and thus artificially cool the planet down.
This solar geo-engineering field experiment is aimed ultimately at creating a volcano-replicating technology, putting lots of sulphates into the stratosphere bounce sunlight back to space and decrease world temperature. This is seen as an inexpensive method of slowing down global warming by some, but other scientists fear unpredictable, and even disastrous consequences for food supplies and weather systems.
Increasing sulphate levels may detract from the need to reduce carbon emissions, though microsoft founder Bill Gates is fully behind this venture, having previously commissioned a US aerospace company to make the case for large-scale deployment of solar geo-engineering technology- based solutions.
Thus it is that the Gates funded US experiment - with American James Anderson - should take off in 2013, involving the releasing of large particle clouds, in order to test sulphate particle sizes for effectiveness and also measure the impacts on ozone chemistry. This experiment will help improve models of how much larger-scale sulphate spraying could affect the ozone layer.
Whilst the experiments are not meant to harm the climate, the study of the impacts of sulphuric dust emitted by volcanoes gives environmental groups pause for thought, as the potential for further damage to the ozone layer - disruption of rainfall and potential threat to food supplies of billions of people.
A very recent study showed that solar radiation management could decrease rainfall in areas of North America and northern Eurasia by 15% and in central South America by more than 20%. Nonetheless, this project is definitely a step in the right direction, if we are ever to get global warming under control again.