Some researchers around the world want to use geoengineering techniques, such as dimming the sun, in order to fight climate change and reduce the warming temperatures. However, there has been a lot of hesitation ever since the plans were announced. A new study, however, sheds light on why we should do it, and how our planet could benefit from slightly blocking the sun’s rays that reach us.
The plans for sun dimming techniques were announced last year, but no further plans have emerged since. The reason for that is the concern that geoengineering and sun dimming could do more harm than good, for example, it could cause precipitation shifts, as well as massive changes in the hurricane season on the American continents.
A new paper published in the journal Nature, suggests that blocking the sun just a tiny bit could be quite beneficial to humanity in our attempt to combat rising temperatures and climate change. The study suggests that sun-blocking wouldn’t cause catastrophic consequences to other climate aspects.
Researchers who participated in the study used high resolution climate models to double the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Afterwards, they added the sunlight-reducing models and observed the effects. In that way, the researchers could reduce half of the global warming effects connected to the carbon pollution.
After that, they took a look at what consequences geoengineering would have on the rest of the climate system, including evaporation, precipitation and tropical cyclones. It’s worth noting that climate change is already affecting the previously mentioned factors. Hurricanes are becoming more intense, the rainy seasons are longer with much more precipitation. The bad news is that if we don’t take the necessary actions, it’s just going to get worse.
The study shows that slight geoengineering use could reduce temperatures and moderate the impacts on the hydrological cycle that the rest of the climate model could cause. The study showed that the impacts of cyclone intensity would also be moderated.
“Surprisingly we find only a very small fraction of places see the effects of climate change exacerbated,” Peter Irvine, a postdoctoral researcher who led the new study, told Gizmodo Earther. “If you kept cooling, you’d keep getting benefits of temperature but diminishing returns on hydrological variables. Offsetting all warming, and you’re beginning to introduce problems that are new.”
“[T]he study would have been more policy-relevant if it concentrated on a realistic (transient) global warming scenario and represented solar geoengineering using stratospheric aerosols,” Anthony Jones, an aerosols researcher told Gizmodo Earther.
Even though sun-dimming and geoengineering could potentially yield good results, that doesn’t mean that it will come any time soon. Moreover, it doesn’t replace the necessary measures humanity needs to take to fight climate change, and that is to reduce the use of plastics and greenhouse gas emissions.