Geoengineering to Help Slow Down Arctic Melting

Scientists are scrambling to come up with a real solution to the problem of global warming and climate change. Since climate change is in full swing and lessening the amount of carbon emissions in the planet will not be able to get rid of the carbon that is already in the atmosphere, scientists are turning to geoengineering in the hopes of restoring stability to the Earth’s climate.

Geoengineering is extremely risky and is downright dangerous if not done properly, so many of these methods are very controversial and debated upon by scientists everywhere.

However some are pushing for less risky and more intelligently managed geoengineering strategies. One of the latest such techniques is localised sun shade to help prevent the further melting of the polar ice caps. This way, some of the problems that concern localised sun shade would be mitigated, by cooling off specific areas only instead the entire planet.

Right now, scientists are working on a rough modelling study that will allow them to allocate shade in important areas. This will help cool down high risk areas that are prone to melting because of the shift in climate. Unfortunately, many scientists are still unsure on deciding which areas are considered at risk.

Sunshades is a relatively risky procedure because it involves injecting aerosols into the atmosphere, which will help block some of the incoming light from the sun. They are considered a cheap and affordable option, but it is far from perfect because the aerosols may travel through the stratosphere and cool down areas that do not need any sunshade at all.

Another problem is the fact that the damage done on the climate is downright irreversible though aerosol sunshades. No matter how much aerosol is pumped into the atmosphere, our carbon levels will never go back down to the pre-industrial levels, meaning that climate change will continue regardless of the geoengineering efforts.

In response to these concerns, Douglas MacMartin of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena and a team of scientists have decided to go with a more localised geoengineering strategy that will be more effective and beneficial to the world at large.

They set up several models in which the carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have doubled. They then set up several scenarios to simulate the geoengineering process. There were three set ups: a uniform sun shade that covered the globe, a sunshade over the two poles, and a full sun shade that thickened over the poles and thinned out towards the equator.

The models gave them a better idea on what will happen if these sunshades went up. A uniform sunshade would leave some regions arid and other regions extremely cold, while the localised sunshades mitigated these problems. The experiment also suggested that “switching on” the sun shades over the poles during the summer only would help the ice to restore themselves to their pre-industrial levels. It will also help bring average global temperatures back to normal


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