Funded by the Natural Environment Research Council and published today in the journal ‘Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions’, the key findings include:
•Enhancing carbon sinks could bring CO2 back to its pre-industrial level, but not before 2100 – and only when combined with strong mitigation of CO2 emissions
•Stratospheric aerosol injections and sunshades in space have by far the greatest potential to cool the climate by 2050 - but also carry the greatest risk
•Surprisingly, existing activities that add phosphorous to the ocean may have greater long-term carbon sequestration potential than deliberately adding iron or nitrogen
•On land, sequestering carbon in new forests and as ‘bio-char’ (charcoal added back to the soil) have greater short-term cooling potential than ocean fertilisation
•Increasing the reflectivity of urban areas could reduce urban heat islands but will have minimal global effect
•Other globally ineffective schemes include ocean pipes and stimulating biologically-driven increases in cloud reflectivity
•The beneficial effects of some geo-engineering schemes have been exaggerated in the past and significant errors made in previous calculations
“The realisation that existing efforts to mitigate the effects of human-induced climate change are proving wholly ineffectual has fuelled a resurgence of interest in geo-engineering,” said lead author Prof Tim Lenton of UEA’s School of Environmental Sciences.
“This paper provides the first extensive evaluation of their relative merits in terms of their climate cooling potential and should help inform the prioritisation of future research.”
Geo-engineering is the large-scale engineering of the environment to combat the effects of climate change – in particular to counteract the effects of increased CO2 in the atmosphere.
A number of schemes have been suggested including nutrient fertilisation of the oceans, cloud seeding, sunshades in space, stratospheric aerosol injections, and ocean pipes.
“We found that some geoengineering options could usefully complement mitigation, and together they could cool the climate, but geoengineering alone cannot solve the climate problem,” said Prof Lenton.
Injections into the stratosphere of sulphate or other manufactured particles have the greatest potential to cool the climate back to pre-industrial temperatures by 2050.
However, they also carry the most risk because they would have to be continually replenished and if deployment was suddenly stopped, extremely rapid warming could ensue.
Using biomass waste and new forestry plantations for energy, and combusting them in a way that captures carbon as charcoal, which is added back to the soil as ‘bio-char’, could have win-win benefits for soil fertility as well as the climate.
A new combined heat and power plant at UEA is pioneering this type of technology.
UEA’s School of Environmental Sciences leads the world in climate change research and is creating a new GeoEngineering Assessment & Research initiative (GEAR) to take this groundbreaking work forward.
It will be funded partly by a donation from the Norfolk Charitable Trust.
‘The radiative forcing potential of different climate geo-engineering options’ by Tim Lenton and Nem Vaughan is published on January 28 by Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions.
Press Office | alfa
Further reports about: > CO2 > CO2 emissions > Carbon > Environmental Sciences > Geoengineering > Stratospheric aerosol injections > UEA > bio-char > climate cooling potential > cloud seeding > environmental risk > mitigation to cool the climate > ocean fertilisation > ocean pipes > phosphorous to the ocean > sunshades in space
Climate change weakens Walker circulation
20.10.2017 | MARUM - Zentrum für Marine Umweltwissenschaften an der Universität Bremen
Shallow soils promote savannas in South America
20.10.2017 | Senckenberg Forschungsinstitut und Naturmuseen
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
20.10.2017 | Information Technology
20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research