Models show injecting aerosols into the atmosphere to prevent hurricanes possibly feasible

October 27, 2015 by Bob Yirka report
Hurricane Isabel (2003) as seen from orbit during Expedition 7 of the International Space Station. Credit: NASA

(—An international team of Earth scientists has used eight Earth system model simulations of climate under the Geoengineering Model Intercomparison Project to predict the change in the number of hurricanes and other types of tropical storms that would occur over the next fifty years if sulfate aerosols were injected into the atmosphere to mitigate the impact of global warming. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers describe the models and what they showed and suggest that such injections if done on a massive scale, might prove moderately effective—though they note that a different type of aerosol would have to be used to prevent harm to the ozone layer.

As the planet keeps warming and efforts to reduce enough to make a difference fail, scientist have begun turning to other ways to mitigate problems in the future related to warmer temperatures and higher ocean levels, such as an increase in the number and intensity of hurricanes. One such technique that has been discussed in public forums, is injecting aerosols into the atmosphere in areas where form—the shadowing effect would cool the air above the ocean preventing such storms from forming. In this new effort, the researchers used standard oceanographic models to attempt to learn whether such a technique might be viable.

After inputting data meant to model an injection of sulfate aerosols over the next 50 years, in two different ways, the researchers found that the idea would likely work, but not as well as might be expected. The first modeled the impact of a volcano eruption-sized amount of aerosol injection while the second sought to mimic an increase in injection amounts to match the projected increase of greenhouse gas emissions. Because the second approach appeared to be the more likely outcome in real life, the researchers used that model to make their predictions. They found that if approximately 10 billion tons of such aerosols were pumped into the atmosphere annually, the result would be a halving of Katrina-sized hurricanes over the next half century. They equate it to mimicking a Pinatubo-sized eruption every two years—something they describe as very expensive, but doable.

Of course, they note, there is no chance that such injections will begin anytime soon, because injecting that much sulfate aerosols into the atmosphere would destroy the . But, their findings do suggest that if another, safer aerosol could be found, such a technique might prove viable.

Explore further: Researchers find unintended consequences of geoengineering to slow climate change

More information: John C. Moore et al. Atlantic hurricane surge response to geoengineering, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2015). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1510530112

Devastating floods due to Atlantic hurricanes are relatively rare events. However, the frequency of the most intense storms is likely to increase with rises in sea surface temperatures. Geoengineering by stratospheric sulfate aerosol injection cools the tropics relative to the polar regions, including the hurricane Main Development Region in the Atlantic, suggesting that geoengineering may mitigate hurricanes. We examine this hypothesis using eight earth system model simulations of climate under the Geoengineering Model Intercomparison Project (GeoMIP) G3 and G4 schemes that use stratospheric aerosols to reduce the radiative forcing under the Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 4.5 scenario. Global mean temperature increases are greatly ameliorated by geoengineering, and tropical temperature increases are at most half of those temperature increases in the RCP4.5. However, sulfate injection would have to double (to nearly 10 teragrams of SO2 per year) between 2020 and 2070 to balance the RCP4.5, approximately the equivalent of a 1991 Pinatubo eruption every 2 y, with consequent implications for stratospheric ozone. We project changes in storm frequencies using a temperature-dependent generalized extreme value statistical model calibrated by historical storm surges and observed temperatures since 1923. The number of storm surge events as big as the one caused by the 2005 Katrina hurricane are reduced by about 50% compared with no geoengineering, but this reduction is only marginally statistically significant. Nevertheless, when sea level rise differences in 2070 between the RCP4.5 and geoengineering are factored into coastal flood risk, we find that expected flood levels are reduced by about 40 cm for 5-y events and about halved for 50-y surges.

Related Stories

Aerosols appear to weaken hurricanes

March 11, 2014

Aerosols in the atmosphere produced from human activities do indeed directly affect a hurricane or tropical cyclone, but not in a way many scientists had previously believed – in fact, they tend to weaken such storms, according ...

Recommended for you


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

2.6 / 5 (10) Oct 27, 2015
Leave the atmosphere alone!
Oct 27, 2015
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
1.6 / 5 (7) Oct 27, 2015
Another "genius" idea from the AGW Cult. After all, the fuel from food plan was so fantastic [], why not step things up and totally f**k up the planet.
4.2 / 5 (5) Oct 27, 2015
Hurricanes and tropical storms are one way that excess energy from the tropic moves to higher latitudes. If we inhibit this transfer, the implications for massive global scale disruption of atmospheric and ocean flows are tremendous. We interfere with the transfer of excess energy at our own peril.
1.7 / 5 (6) Oct 27, 2015
I'm sure you can just make up some majick particle which will work exactly the same way without having any adverse effects whatsoever.

The more expensive, the better. Gotta have those ridiculously over-budget government programs.

Make it out of something absurd, like Platinum or Gold Dust.
1.8 / 5 (5) Oct 27, 2015
Yeah this sounds like a grand idea. None of our prior efforts to engineer climates/ecosystems have had unintended consequences...
1 / 5 (4) Oct 28, 2015
Humans should stop playing around with forces they do not completely understand.
4.2 / 5 (5) Oct 28, 2015
Not too long ago there was an article how using aerosols/other particles will very likely not only worsen "climate change" but, also the day we stop doing it there will be a massive whiplash effect.
So the idea of spraying something that should do something sounds fairly insane.
Very insane if you consider how in couple months there will be another article that proves this idea wouldnt work.
3.7 / 5 (3) Oct 28, 2015
Wow it's true then the US has gone completely cabbage. None of the comment writers are able to read.
2.3 / 5 (6) Oct 28, 2015
Hmmm, many probably aren't yet up to speed on how pervasive weather control is albeit on local regional scale, especially so in China which, along with the content of this link

Use weather control routinely to ensure their Chinese national day is always fine & has been for years, granted its not cheap but, the chemicals are almost benign at their often used concentrations, one hopes its not done on a larger scale but, there could well be some merit in reducing the strength of major storms depending upon several inter-related factors eg. Rate of change, probabilistic path affecting population centers etc.

Rather than silver iodide, curious how graphite dust (larger than nano of course) could be effective for near emergency events, good thing about it is it embeds in the soil assisting the take up of minerals for plants & provided particulate size is above a certain minimum is quite benign...
Oct 28, 2015
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
1 / 5 (5) Oct 28, 2015
"Injecting" particulates into the atmosphere via "contrails" has been on-going for close to 20 years. Hurricane frequency in the US has fallen off a cliff. The models are validated.
3.4 / 5 (5) Oct 31, 2015
I'd use "anonym" too if I was stupid enough to be a chemtrail stooge for AFOSI.

Well played, moderator. Send docile/zephir to the bit bucket!

Now, if you could notice that antigoracle is nothing but a troll... I mean, if I can write code to generate his posts, it's not bona fide conversation. I can't write a 'bot to do that, but I can write one for that turd that you couldn't tell from the actually pile of steaming dung.

1 / 5 (3) Oct 31, 2015
An international team of Earth scientists has used eight Earth system model simulations of climate

A garbage team using garbage models to produce a grand exercise in waste management.
3 / 5 (2) Oct 31, 2015
hee..hawww..hee...hawww... if I can write code ...bray....bray...

Really!!! You are disappointed that you can't write code, when you're incapable of English.
Here, let me show you -https://www.googl...Ov5ba4Bw

Here are just a few of your gems -
"Isn't Tuxford urban slang for someone that buggers his own arsehole"
"I can't wait until you get an intelligent butt plug that I can hack!"
"Wow! ryggesongn2 stopped whacking off for this one. Eat shit, while you're at it. Got an email from Pandora Hagadakis the other day. Sez she's doxxed you. I can't wait. You know, fucking cowards get real interesting when they're outed."
2.3 / 5 (6) Nov 02, 2015
I'm sure you can just make up some majick particle which will work exactly the same way without having any adverse effects whatsoever.

The more expensive, the better. Gotta have those ridiculously over-budget government programs.
Make it out of something absurd, like Platinum or Gold Dust.

Better yet, make it out of Dark Matter fairy dust. If you do it this way & as it negatively screws up efficient weather patterns, there won't be a provable link to AGW.

Something which can't be proven to exist can be used by the AGW cult as proof the adverse effects of changing the weather patterns cannot be attributed to Cosmic Fairy Dust everyone of them believes exist.

Muttering Mike would love this kind of "physics".

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.