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Treatment of climate change surprisingly cheap, study film

NEW YORK &#821 1; A 100-plane fleet that makes 4000 global missions a year can help save the world from…

NEW YORK &#821

1; A 100-plane fleet that makes 4000 global missions a year can help save the world from climate change . It can also be relatively inexpensive. It is the conclusion of a new peer-reviewed study in Environmental Research Letters.

There are stuff of science fiction. Plans spray small sulphate particles into the lower stratosphere, about 60,000 feet upwards. The idea is to help protect the soil from enough sunlight to keep the temperature low.

The researchers examined how practical and expensive a hypothetical solar engineering project would start 15 years from now. The goal is that half of the temperature rise is caused by greenhouse gases with heat dissipation.

This method would emulate what major volcanoes do. In 1991, Mount Pinatubo hit the Philippines. It was the second largest outbreak of the 20th century, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS).

 mount pinatubo-philippines-vulcanic-eruption.jpg [19659007] The second largest volcanic eruption of this century, and by far the biggest outbreak to affect a densely populated area, occurred at Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines the June 15, 1991.


The total outbreak injected 20 million tons of sulfur dioxide aerosols into the stratosphere. USGS said that the earth’s lower atmospheric temperature fell by about 1 degree Fahrenheit. The effect lasted only a couple of years because the sulfates eventually fell to the ground.

Although controversial, some think that attempting to imitate the effects of a volcanic eruption is a viab mode to control global warming. This proposed type of climate gene engineering is called stratospheric aerosol injection (SAI). Theoretically, if done in scale – and sustained – the effect can be large. The 1-degree temperature drop that followed Mount Pinatuba’s outbreak equals about half of the human-induced warming the earth has experienced since the industrial revolution began.

In this handout photo from Climate Central, they say researchers are looking at a variety of technologies – from smashing carbon dioxide out of the air like trees, to launch giant mirrors in space – to artificially slow global warming.

Handout via Climate Central

Dr. Gernot Wagner from Harvard University is an author of the paper. He said that their study shows this kind of geoengineering “… would be technically possible strictly from a technical perspective. It would also be remarkably cheap, on average about 2 to 2.5 billion a year in the first 15 years.” [19659003] But to reach that, the study said that a whole new aircraft needs to be developed. Partly because missions would have to be carried out on almost twice as much as commercial aircraft. The co-author of the study, Wake Smith explained, “No existing aircraft have the combination of height and payload capacity required.”

Then the team investigated what it would cost to develop an airplane that they dubbed SAI Lofter (SAIL). They say that its fuselage would have a stub design and the wing area – like the shock force – would have to be twice as big. Overall, the team estimates the development cost of the aircraft to be $ 2 billion and $ 350 million to change existing engines.

In its hypothetical plan, the fleet would start with eight planes in the first year and rise to almost 100 within 15 years. During year one there will be 4000 missions that increase to over 60,000 per year before year 15. As you can see, it needs to be a lasting and escalating effort.

As you can imagine, a concept like this comes with much controversy. Like treatment with fever with aspirin, this kind of technique only treats the symptoms, but it does not solve the cause of the warming: escalating levels of heat-absorbing greenhouse gases produced by combustion of fossil fuels.

The American Meteorological Society (AMS) expressed concern that the possibility of seemingly fast and cheap solutions will distract public and policy makers from addressing the underlying problems and developing adaptation strategies. And if for some reason aerosol missions ceased, within a few years the temperatures would postpone at breakneck rate. A pace that would probably be too fast for mankind to adjust.

AMS official policy opinion on this kind of geoengineering begins with a warning: “Reflective sunlight would likely reduce the Earth’s average temperature but could also change global circulation patterns with potentially serious consequences such as changing storms and precipitation patterns.”

With others words are the atmosphere complex. Any help for bandwidth is bound to have unintended consequences and possibly cause a new set of problems. AMS continues to say results of reflective sunlight “would almost not be the same for all nations and people, giving rise to legal, ethical, diplomatic and national security concerns.” A region can become a desert while others are flooded.

And if we learn to control SAI to tailor a beneficial result, there is the concern that can be used for the disproportionate benefit of one nation over another. In a study from 2017 in the publication Nature Communications, the authors warn their work “… reemphasizes the dangers of unilateral geoengineering, which may be attractive to individual actors due to greater controllability of local climate responses, but with inherent additional risk elsewhere.” [19659003] But perhaps the biggest reason for being skeptical about the sun’s solar radiation is that it’s not a silver ball. As the carbon dioxide continues to increase, the oceans become increasingly acidic. According to NOAA, marine contamination can cascade through the marine food chain, reducing the ability of shellfish and reef corals to produce their skeletons. Injection of aerosols into the stratosphere simply limits sunshine, it does not cope with the underlying carbon dioxide build-up. The sea would continue to acidify.

Despite the potential disadvantages, AMS – even with aggressive limitation – acknowledges that we can not avoid any dangerous consequences of climate change already baked in the system. In addition, the extent of human adaptation is limited. Therefore, they call for caution and continued research.

The statement of the AMS policy ends with: “Geoengineering will not replace either aggressive limitation or proactive adaptation, but it can contribute to a comprehensive risk management strategy to reduce climate change and alleviate some of its negative effects. The potential to help society deal with climate change and the risks of negative consequences imply the need for adequate research, appropriate regulation and transparent deliberation. “

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