Researchers At Harvard Will Begin To Geoengineer The Atmosphere
Yes, we’ve reached the point where top researcher not only contemplate whether to geoengineer the atmosphere but actually do it. This is at a time, mind you, that many people still don’t believe, or don’t want to believe in climate change.Nevertheless, a team at Harvard is preparing to launch the first field experiment in this regard, in an attempt to better understand and maybe, one day, bring us out of the conundrum we’re now in.
The idea is to pump the atmosphere with aerosols that will reflect the sun’s rays back into space and stop heating the planet so much. But, to geoengineer the entire planet’s atmosphere is a daunting task, to say the least, and we have very little knowledge of the possible outcomes and complications that may come out of meddling with the air.
With this in mind, they will start with water vapour, and all the other substances that will be used, none of them will use more than 1 kilogramme.
“The idea that you could even think about adjusting the temperature of the planet is terrifying,” said Frank Keutsch, the Harvard scientists leading the study. “But the consequences of climate change are also quite terrifying. This is a very serious subject.”
Extensive research on the subject is definitely needed, and the faster the better to say the least.
“The big risk with stratospheric geoengineering is unforeseen consequences,” Keutsch said. Of utmost importance, he said, “is to better understand some of the risks.”
The plan is to send a baloon equipped with all sorts of sensors some 20 kilometers above the planet’s surface. Once there, water vapour will be sprayed into the stratosphere, creating a blanket of ice crystals, one kilometre long and 100 metres wide. The balloon will then glide through this water vapour and take measurements.
“Of course, we understand that solar geoengineering is not the solution — it can’t be. We have to reduce emissions. We have to mitigate. That is step one.”
The experiment could begin as soon as next year. And as the testing progresses and the methodology is refined, the researchers will then begin testing other substances to see their effects on the atmosphere. These other particles may include calcium carbonate, sulphates, or even diamond dust.
The whole concept to geoengineer the atmosphere is risky, to say the least, but it is important to note that these future experiments will not be. And on a grander scale, they are necessary, if we will be forced to ever have to use it. If not, then the whole knowledge could be used in other of our endeavours like to geoengineer the atmosphere of Mars, for instance. In any case, the sooner we will start testing and understanding the whole process and the implications it has, the better.