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. Increase costsIt 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 in space above which traditional aircraft cannot fly, and 25 kilometers is it.”
The study was published by Environmental Research Communications.
Recent studies have shown that stratospheric airsols deployed at 25 km (15 mi) above the ground are more effective than at 20km (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 study that took place in March 2021. It recognized the need to further research the viability of aerosols being deposited 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But others have suggested that when the SRM was withdrawn, it could lead to rapid global warming in a phenomenon known as ‘termination shock’.
Bill Gates, billionaire founder of Microsoft, and top scientists at Harvard are two examples of people who have been researching the idea.
The Stratospheric Controlled Perturbation Experiment, (SCoPEx), will see carbonate powder released into the atmosphere.
Researchers suggest that jets could complete more than 60,000. They would start with eight planes and then move up to 100.
At the moment, there are no aircraft that can do this. They would have to be developed.
The researchers wrote previously: “Dozens would have both the expertise as well as the money to launch such an initiative.”
“Around 50 nations have military budgets exceeding $3 billion, with 30 having more than $6 billion.”
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