London, January 28 (ANI): Scientists have suggested that simulating a volcanic eruption and man-made 'sun blocks' can save the planet from global warming.
Simulating a volcanic eruption by putting man-made aerosol particles into the atmosphere to reflect the Sun's heat would rapidly lower global temperatures and could provide a vital respite from global warming until cuts in carbon dioxide emissions begin to have the desired effect, according to scientists.
It is important to start tests in "geoengineering" now rather than leave it until a full-blown emergency, according to three environmental scientists who argue that governments should establish a multimillion-pound fund to pay for research into solar-radiation management - techniques for shielding the Earth against sunlight.
"The idea of deliberately manipulating Earth's energy balance to offset human-driven climate change strikes many as dangerous hubris," David Keith of the University of Calgary in Canada, Edward Parson of the University of Michigan and Granger Morgan of Carnegie Mellon University, told The Independent.
"Many scientists have argued against research on solar radiation management, saying that developing the capability to perform such tasks will reduce the political will to lower greenhouse gas emissions. We think that the risks of not doing research outweigh the risks of doing it," they said.
An international research effort into such a project could begin with an annual budget of about 10 million dollars, rising to about 1 billion dollars by 2020.
It could investigate the risks, such as altering weather patterns, as well as known drawbacks, such as it doing nothing to combat the increasing acidity of the oceans.
Scientists have suggested that generating sulphate aerosols in the upper atmosphere, which are naturally emitted during a volcanic eruption, could quickly lower global temperatures, which happened after the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines in 1991.
Another possibility is to spray fine droplets of seawater into the air to create low-level clouds that would lower daytime temperatures over the oceans.
"Opinions about solar radiation management are changing rapidly. Only a few years ago, many scientists opposed open discussion of the topic. Many now support model-based research, but field testing of the sort we advocate here is contentious and will probably grow more so," said the three scientists.
"The main argument against solar radiation management research is that it would undermine the already-inadequate resolve to cut emissions. We are keenly aware of this 'moral hazard'; but sceptical that suppressing research would in fact raise commitment to mitigation," they added. (ANI)