Geoengineering plans will be needed to accommodate volcanoes and nuclear wars – Is it up to that?

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

The show must go on; Climate geoengineers will have to be ready to recalibrate their efforts if a major volcanic eruption or nuclear exchange affects stratospheric dust levels, say the scientists. or if the repetition of The Carrington event damage their machines.

Trying to cool the Earth by dimming sunlight could be worse than global warming

February 7, 2022 11.46pm AEDT

Luke Kemp
Associate Doctorate in Current Risk Research, University of Cambridge

Aaron Tang
Doctoral Scholar in Climate Governance, Australian National University

A group of 60 scientists called for a adjournment order above solar geoengineering last month, including technologies such as stratospheric aerosol injection (WRONG). This involves a fleet of planes that release aerosol particles – which reflect sunlight back into space – into the atmosphere, cooling the Earth.

A cooler Earth means less water is evaporating from its surface into the atmosphere, varying rain pattern. This can create ripple effects across the world’s ecosystems – but the exact nature of these effect depends on how SAI is used. Poor coordination in aerosol release can lead to extreme rainfall in some places and outbreaks of drought in others, further fueling the spread of the virus. diseases.

WRONG can also make natural disasters worse than they already are. A volcanic eruption, like in Iceland Eyjafjallajökull volcano in 2010, could cool the Earth naturally like ash block sunlight from approaching the planet’s surface. If this happens while SAI is deployed, it will have to be urgently adjusted (not an easy feat) to avoid overcooling one hemisphere and resulting in extreme weather patterns.

Similarly, although nuclear war As unlikely as it seems, global nuclear capabilities continue to grow, and bad political decision-makers have no shortage of supplies. ONE “nuclear winterwhere global temperature drops over many years due to soot clouds from nuclear-triggered fires, could be further WRONG.

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I think of geoengineering as the benefit of functional research on global climate; zero fair value, a little useful under research conditions, potentially catastrophic effects.

I’m pretty sure in the event of a major regional or global disaster, people may have other priorities than maintaining funding for a meaningless virtue signaling exercise. But it’s nice to see that scientists are starting to see some upside to their plans.

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