Computer model looks at cooling the Earth

September 14, 2006

A U.S. computer model study suggests two unusual methods, including injecting sulfates into the atmosphere, might be used to stabilize the Earth's climate.

The National Center for Atmospheric Research model involves using reductions in greenhouse gas emissions as well as injections of climate-cooling sulfates into the stratosphere. Researcher Tom Wigley says that might prove more effective than either approach used separately.

Wigley's model calculates the impact of injecting sulfate particles, or aerosols, every one to four years into the stratosphere in amounts equal to those lofted by the volcanic eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991. It found that, if environmentally and technologically viable, such injections could provide a "grace period" of up to 20 years before major cutbacks in greenhouse gas emissions would be required, he concludes.

He said his study doesn't endorse any particular approach to reducing climate change, nor is it intended to address any technical and political challenges involved in potential geoengineering efforts.

Instead, it analyzes whether the much-discussed idea of injecting sulfates into the stratosphere could, in fact, slow global warming and therefore provide more time for society to reduce the emissions of carbon dioxide.

The study appears in the journal Science.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Nothing escapes The Global Ear: Nuclear tests, volcanoes, earthquakes or meteors

Related Stories

A human-caused climate change signal emerges from the noise

November 29, 2012

By comparing simulations from 20 different computer models to satellite observations, Lawrence Livermore climate scientists and colleagues from 16 other organizations have found that tropospheric and stratospheric temperature ...

Recommended for you

A cataclysmic event of a certain age

July 27, 2015

At the end of the Pleistocene period, approximately 12,800 years ago—give or take a few centuries—a cosmic impact triggered an abrupt cooling episode that earth scientists refer to as the Younger Dryas.

'Carbon sink' detected underneath world's deserts

July 28, 2015

The world's deserts may be storing some of the climate-changing carbon dioxide emitted by human activities, a new study suggests. Massive aquifers underneath deserts could hold more carbon than all the plants on land, according ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.