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: NASA study shows that common coolants contribute to ozone depletion

Related Stories

The gas (and ice) giant Neptune

September 14, 2015

Neptune is the eight planet from our Sun, one of the four gas giants, and one of the four outer planets in our Solar System. Since the "demotion" of Pluto by the IAU to the status of a dwarf planet – and/or Plutoid and ...

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 ...

Previously unknown atmospheric phenomenon discovered

April 4, 2014

Recent research results show that an atmospheric hole over the tropical West Pacific is reinforcing ozone depletion in the polar regions and could have a significant influence on the climate of the Earth.

Pollution from Asia Circles Globe at Stratospheric Heights

March 25, 2010

( -- The economic growth across much of Asia comes with a troubling side effect: pollutants from the region are being wafted up to the stratosphere during monsoon season. The new finding, in a study led by scientists ...

Recommended for you

Can Paris pledges avert severe climate change?

November 26, 2015

More than 190 countries are meeting in Paris next week to create a durable framework for addressing climate change and to implement a process to reduce greenhouse gases over time. A key part of this agreement would be the ...


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.