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Can we block the Sun to combat climate change? This is the controversial science.

Can we block the Sun to combat climate change? This is the controversial science.

Beautiful panoramic Icelandic landscape of colorful volcanic Landmannalaugar mountains, at famous La...

A group of60 scientists are needed to help with the development of a MoratoriumOn solar geoengineeringLast month, including technologies like stratospheric aerosol injection (SAI). This involves a Aircraft fleetPublication Aerosol particles — which reflect sunlight back to outer space — into the atmosphere, cooling down the Earth.

SAI could make the sky your oyster Etwas whiter. This is only one of our concerns. SAI could pose grave risks, possibly worse than the warming that it seeks to reduce. To understand the risks, we’ve undertaken a risk assessmentThis is a controversial technology.

Cooler Earth means that less water evaporates from its surfaces into the atmosphere, which will lead to a change in climate. rainfall patterns. This could produce ripple Effects across the world’s ecosystems — but the exact nature of these effectsIt all depends on how SAI was used. Poor coordination could result in extreme rainfall in certain areas and blistering drought at others, further triggering the spread. Diseases.

SAI could also cause natural catastrophes to get worse than they already are. A volcanic eruption, like that of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull2010 volcano could naturally cool Earth with plumes of Ash block sunlight from reaching the planet’s surface. It would be necessary to immediately take action if this happens while SAI is deployed. adjustedIt is not an easy task to avoid one hemisphere being too cool and causing extreme weather patterns.

Similar to the previous, however Nuclear warAlthough it may seem unlikely, global nuclear capability continues to grow and poor political decision-makers are not uncommon. A “Nuclear winter,” during which global temperatures drop for years due to soot clouds from nuclear-triggered fires, could be deepened by SAI.

SAI could lead to far worse consequences than a clear sky.Mystockimages/E+/Getty Images

Termination shock

SAI would likely depend on aerosols being continuously sprayed into atmosphere by a fleet aircraft, since the particles have a half life of approximately Eight months. Satellites are required to coordinate these efforts and monitor any changes in the atmosphere.

Any disaster severe enough to permanently disable these systems could trigger a “Enduring shock”. If an SAI system effectively “hiding” global warming were suddenly removed for an extended period, the Earth could heat up by multiple degrees in a matter of decades.

If we’re already seeing fires, heatwaves, and flash floods All over the globeWith around 1.1 degrees CelsiusImagine a warming of 3-4 degrees Celsius (five- to seven degrees Fahrenheit), and the difference in temperature between 1850-1850.

There are many ways an SAI system could be hacked. A record-breaking explosion in solar matter, related with a solar flare, could knock out the world’s Electrical systems by smashing into the Earth’s magnetic field. This could potentially be called “scraping into the Earth’s magnetic field”. DamageThe aviation and satellite systems required for SAI.

It would be a mistake to assume that disasters will not happen in the next century. One model estimates that nuclear war between Russia or the U.S. is possible. It puts this probability at 0.9 percent per Year. Estimates for large-scale projects Weather in spaceEvents RangeFrom 0.46 percent to 20.3 percentage points per year

Cyberattacks could also make SAI a tempting target. DarkSide hackers took control of the U.S. oil company Colonial Pipeline in 2019. HostageRansomware was used to attack their computer systems. In order to reactivate their systems, operators were forced by fuel shortages to pay DarkSide $5 million.

In 2000, the Maroochy region of Australia’s automated sewage system released hundreds of thousands gallons of sewage into its seaside region. These “leaks” were caused by a single disgruntled ex-employeeThe company that installed the system. An international infrastructure system to mask global warming would be more controversial, require a larger workforce and likely have a higher payoff.

Political chaos?

Of course, it’s possible that SAI will end up being used responsibly. But if one thing goes sufficiently wrong — such as one unpredictable solar storm taking place — the hidden risks of SAI could be unleashed. Predictions of SAI’s average or “most likely” outcomes are generally fine. But although far less likely, SAI’s worst-case scenarios could be calamitous.

SAI should be used sparingly to offset a smaller amountAny negative effects of warming would be minimized. Most SAI modelsTake it as a given Ideal conditions, where a group of countries cooperates to rationally and thoughtfully deploy SAI. Unfortunately, international politics has become a problem. Messy.

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Without international agreement, SAI could be used by a small number of countries that favor a cooler Earth. However, little research has been done on the potential effects of this disorganized SAI use.

In an ideal world, the people who govern SAI would ensure that it’s infrastructure is resilient to disasters, works cooperatively between countries and has extensive backups. They would also closely monitor its deployment for several decades, if not over a century. And to ensure we don’t get trapped into relying on SAI indefinitely, we’ll still have to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net-zeroAlso, Reduce excess emissionsFrom the atmosphere.

Poor governance during the pandemic could leave little hope for SAI governance in future.Wikimedia Commons

However, this type of governance is not realistic. Consider the pandemic. From UnderinvestingCovid-19 testing, vaccine development and misguided trust Herd immunityPolicymakers are not reliable decision-makers. Imagine the conflict over putting a Chemical maskAll over the Earth

SAI could become a highly politicized topic, with changes to SAI driven more by political swings than sound science. The fossil fuel industry and its associated supportersThey may have a vested financial interest in SAI to delay renewables.

Is SAI worse that climate change? We’re still uncertain. What we can say is this: in a world where things don’t go wrong, SAI is a prudent response to the climate crisis. We live in a world full of complexity and chaos. Relying on SAI is a poor decision. SAI would allow us to lift up the planet by tightly linking the climate system with the global economic system and political system. Sword of Damocles.

This article was originally published by The ConversationLuke Kemp at the University of Cambridge. Aaron Tang at Australian National University. Read theOriginal article here.

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