Originally published February 27 2014
Geoengineering could cause real global warming
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) Climate-change researchers at the University of Washington (UW), in considering a range of mitigation scenarios, say that the injection of sulfate particles into the earth's atmosphere to reflect sunlight away from the planet's surface to curb warming might pose a further threat if it is not maintained indefinitely and additionally supported with strict restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions.
The results of the study, published Feb. 18 in IOP Publishing's journal Environmental Research Letters, "has highlighted the risks of large and spatially expansive temperature increases if solar radiation management (SRM) is abruptly stopped once it has been implemented," said a press release from the university.
The scientists said SRM is one proposed method of geoengineering that is being floated as a potential technique to control warming. It involves injecting tiny sulfate-based aerosols into the upper atmosphere to reflect sunlight and cool the planet -- theoretically, anyway.
"The technique has been shown to be economically and technically feasible; however, its efficacy depends on its continued maintenance, without interruption from technical faults, global cooperation breakdown or funding running dry," said the press release.
Temps could rise if the technique is stopped?
According to the UW study, global temperature increases could eventually double if SRM is implemented for a period of decades and then stopped suddenly -- in relation to expected temperature increases if the technique is not implemented at all.
The scientists utilized a global climate model to demonstrate that if an extreme emissions pathway -- RCP8.5 -- is followed up until the year 2035, which would allow for temperatures to rise 1°C above the 1970-1999 mean, and the technique is implemented for 25 years and then ended suddenly, global temperatures could rise by 4°C in the following decades.
Such a rate of increase, which would be caused by the resultant buildup of background greenhouse gas emissions, could grow beyond boundaries experienced in the 20th century, the scientists said.
"According to our simulations, tropical regions like South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa are hit particularly hard, the very same regions that are home to many of the world's most food insecure populations," said lead author of the research, Kelly McCusker, from the University of Washington. "The potential temperature changes also pose a severe threat to biodiversity."
"The primary control over the magnitude of the large temperature increases after an SRM shutoff is the background greenhouse gas concentrations. Thus, the greater the future emissions of greenhouse gases, the larger the temperature increases would be, and, similarly, the later the termination occurs while GHG emissions continue, the larger the temperature increases," continued McCusker. "The only way to avoid creating the risk of substantial temperature increases through SRM, therefore, is concurrent strong reductions of GHG emissions."
Not everyone is convinced that geoengineering is the right approach in the first place, however.
Need for perspective
"Although not necessarily a negative impact, measuring any potential of solar radiation management (including the use of stratospheric aerosol injection) is nearly impossible - the climate is too complex an entity in order to do so effectively," David Baake, an expert with Money Crashers, told me. "There's also the possibility that the use of such aerosols may actually decrease precipitation and rainfall on a global level. And since the possibility exists that such aerosols can transform into sulphuric acid, acid rain levels may rise.
"It may further deplete the ozone as well. And finally, the use of solar radiation management has its benefits," Baake continued, "but it does nothing to solve the underlying causes of global warming - it only serves as a stopgap solution."
Indeed, longtime environmental activist Pablo Solomon argues, the entire issue of global warming and climate change needs some perspective.
"The debate over 'climate change' should not be censored and the opposition bullied into submission," Solomon said in an email to Natural News. "The Left continues to literally threaten those who oppose the global warming view. It is nearly impossible to get a grant or even a university job if you openly oppose the global warming theory. I was appalled when President Obama basically said the debate was over so shut up and get in line. In science, the debate is never over and never should be."
Solomon added that, if anything, slight warming of the planet would be advantageous.
"We are over populated and what resources we have are poorly distributed," he said. "A slight climate change over several centuries--and that is what is really possible not a sudden sea level rise of Biblical proportions--would create vast new areas of farmland in Canada, Poland, Russia," and other cold regions of the planet.
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