Geoengineering plan is criticized

August 24, 2007

U.S. scientists criticized a geoengineering proposal that would emulate volcanic eruptions as a means of combating global warming.

Global warning occurs when greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, build up in the atmosphere and alter outgoing longwave radiation. Some scientists have proposed mitigating global warming by emulating a volcanic eruption, since volcanic aerosols scatter incoming sunlight, reducing outgoing radiation.

But Kevin Trenberth and Aiguo Dai of the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research cautioned against the mitigation proposal.

The scientists examined precipitation and streamflow records from 1950 to 2004 to document the effects of volcanic eruptions from Mexico's El Chichon in 1982 and the Philippines' Mount Pinatubo in 1991.

They found that following the Pinatubo eruption there was a substantial global decrease in precipitation over land, a record decrease in runoff and river discharge into the oceans and widespread drying over land during the following year.

Thus, the authors conclude, major adverse effects, including drought, could arise from geoengineering solutions to global warming.

Their study is reported in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: 'Climate hacking' would be easy – that doesn't mean we should do it

Related Stories

Expert: Lift taboo on Earth engineering

September 23, 2009

( -- The effects of climate change are so uncertain and potentially long-lasting that policymakers should begin examining options that include geoengineering, an area that has so far been off-limits, according ...

A volcanic idea to reverse climate change

August 22, 2011

Scientists believe that our warming world may face catastrophic changes to its natural environment, including droughts, rising oceans and fiercer, more frequent hurricanes.

Recommended for you

Amazon deforestation leaps 16 percent in 2015

November 28, 2015

Illegal logging and clearing of Brazil's Amazon rainforest increased 16 percent in the last year, the government said, in a setback to the aim of stopping destruction of the world's greatest forest by 2030.


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.