Climate ‘geoengineering’ technologies, where particles are sprayed into the stratosphere to deflect more sunlight away from a heating Earth, have a height problem.
Recent studies have suggested spraying aerosols into the atmosphere at huge heights – 15 miles up – to deflect incoming sunlight.
However, a new report warns against this. Costs will riseIt makes the endeavor less practical as spy planes that fly high at 12 miles above the ground are not allowed to fly.
Wake Smith, the study’s lead author, stated that the study “should alter the way climate intervention models are run globally and that practical limits must be weighed against radiative effectiveness in designing solar geoengineering programmes.”
“There is a ceiling above which traditional aircraft can’t operate, and 25km is above it.”
The study was published by Environmental Research Communications.
Recent studies have shown that stratospheric aerosols deployed at 25 km (15 miles) altitude is more effective than those deployed at 20 km (12.4 mi).
Normal planes, military jets, and normal planes typically cruise six miles above the ground. High-flying spy and drone planes can fly 12 miles.
The cost of flying hundreds of thousands of solar geoengineering deployment flights annually to altitudes inaccessible to elite spy planes would be substantial.
It would also pose unacceptable safety risk for pilots, aircraft, and uninvolved citizens on the ground.
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The new report addresses a question that was asked by the US National Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine during a landmark March 2021 study. It recognized the need to further research the viability of aerosols being placed well beyond 12 miles.
The idea of ‘solar geoengineering’ or solar radiation management (SRM) is controversial, mimicking the world-chilling effects of huge volcanic eruptions.
Some scientists have suggested that such technology could be used as a ‘stop gap’ to reduce temperatures while measures to limit CO2 emissions are put in place.
But others have suggested that when the SRM was withdrawn, it could lead to rapid global warming in a phenomenon known as ‘termination shock’.
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Bill Gates, a billionaire Microsoft founder, and top Harvard scientists are part of one project to investigate the idea.
The Stratospheric Controlled Perturbation Experiment will see carbonate dust being released into the atmosphere.
The researchers estimate that jets could accomplish more than 60,000 missions in 15-years, with a fleet of 8 and eventually moving to 100 planes.
Currently, there is no aircraft capable of doing so.
Researchers previously stated that “Dozens upon countries would have both expertise and the money to launch such programs.”
“Around 50 countries have a military budget greater than $3Billion, and 30 more than $6B.”
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