Man-made volcanoes may cool Earth by reflecting sunlight back into space

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London, August 30 (ANI): The Royal Society in London seems to be convinced that man-made volcanoes can help stave off climate change, as it is backing research into simulated volcanic eruptions that will spray millions of tons of dust into the air to cool the Earth.

This week, the society will call for a global programme of studies into geo-engineering, which can help devise new ways to manipulate the planet's climate to counteract global warming.

It believes that pouring sulphur-based particles into the upper atmosphere may help keep the planet cool.

Ken Caldeira, an earth scientist at Stanford University, California, and a member of a Royal Society working group on geo-engineering, said that dust sprayed into the stratosphere in volcanic eruptions could cool the Earth by reflecting light back into space.

"If I had a dollar for geo-engineering research I would put 90 cents of it into stratospheric aerosols and 10 cents into everything else," Times Online quoted Caldeira as saying.

The intervention by the Royal Society comes amid tension ahead of the United Nations-sponsored climate talks in Copenhagen in December to agree global cuts in carbon dioxide emissions.

The Royal Society's decision to take geo-engineering seriously is a measure of the desperation felt by scientists about climate change.

Brian Launder, a professor at Manchester University, who is also on the working group, recently said that without CO2 reductions or geo-engineering "civilisation as we know it will end within our grandchildren's lifetime".

"The only rational scheme is to reduce the sunlight reaching Earth and to reflect back more of it," he said.

The society's report is expected to draw partly on research by Tim Lenton, professor of earth sciences at the University of East Anglia, who has just completed the first big comparison of different forms of geo-engineering.

"We estimate that 1.5-5m tons of sulphate particles could be released (artificially) into the stratosphere each year on a recurring basis. This is quite a small amount, which makes it potentially economically viable, but it could reduce global temperature rise by up to 2C," said Lenton. (ANI)

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