Scientists have discussed many bizarre geoengineering methods to reverse the effects of climate change, but this is one of the oddest; American geoengineers believe that by dispersing sulphate aerosols in the atmosphere, they can cool vast regions of the planet. How do they aim to do this? By using high-flying balloons to spray thousands of tons of sun-reflecting chemical particles into the atmosphere, which in turn create massive artificial clouds.
The US scientists aim to use sulphate aerosols to bounce sunlight back into space and therefore decrease the temperature of the Earth. Speaking to The Guardian, David Keith, one of the US scientists, said the crazy plan would be an inexpensive method to slow down global warming – however others aren’t so sure and have said that the large levels of sulphates would have a devastating effect on the ozone layer.
Keith’s plan has received a multimillion dollar investment from Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who has expressed his belief in geoengineering in the past. He hopes to implement an experiment within the next year which will see the release of tens or hundreds of kilograms of particles in order to measure the impacts on ozone chemistry.
“The objective is not to alter the climate, but simply to probe the processes at a micro scale,” said Keith. “The direct risk is very small.”
It is not the first time such a scheme has generated controversy. Last year a similar UK test proposed pumping water into the sky, but was cancelled after a row over patents.
“I salute the British government for getting out and trying something,” Keith said. “But I wish they’d had a better process, because those opposed to any such experiments will see it as a victory and try to stop other experiments as well.”
I guess only time will tell if Keith’s plan is successful.
via The Guardian