Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Livermore researchers determine biosphere unaffected by geoengineering schemes

20.12.2002


Using models that simulate the interaction between global climate and land ecosystems, atmospheric scientists from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have shown that compensating for the carbon dioxide "greenhouse effect" by decreasing the amount of sunlight reaching the planet (geoengineering) could create a more vigorous ecosystem while helping to curb global warming.



The study suggests that planetary-scale engineering projects to lessen the amount of solar radiation reaching the Earth’s surface will likely do little to prevent the effects of increased greenhouse gases on the terrestrial biosphere. In fact, plants could experience growth spurts.

In a paper entitled: "Impact of Geoengineering Schemes on the Terrestrial Biosphere," Livermore researchers Bala Govindasamy, Starley Thompson, Philip Duffy, Ken Caldeira and University of Wisconsin collaborator Christine Delire, modeled the impact on Earth’s land biosphere due to various schemes that would reduce the amount of sunlight reaching the planet’s surface. The research appears in the Nov. 26 online edition of Geophysical Research Letters.


"Our models show plant life getting a big boost from the carbon dioxide fertilization when atmospheric CO2 levels are doubled due to anthropogenic fossil fuel emissions," Govindasamy said. "We noticed that in a CO2-enriched world, the terrestrial biosphere was largely unaffected by decreases in surface solar radiation by a couple of percentage points through various geoengineering schemes."

In earlier research, scientists have maintained that greenhouse gases emitted from the burning of fossil fuels are one of the largest sources of global warming because they cause an increase in the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Methods to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide vary from storing it in the deep ocean to reducing the amount of sunlight reaching the planet (geoengineering) that could largely counteract the warming influence of more greenhouse gases.

"Critics suggested that ’turning down the sun’ could harm terrestrial ecosystems that depend on light for photosynthesis, but this new work shows that a change in solar flux to stabilize climate would have little effect on the terrestrial biosphere," Caldeira said. "In fact, turning down the sun a bit reduces evaporation and therefore gives the plants more water for photosynthesis so that they may actually grow better in a geoengineered world than they do today."

The researchers, however, strongly caution against adopting any geoengineering scheme because "there are many reasons why geoengineering is not a preferred option for climate stabilization." Among these are the risks of system failure and unpredictable responses of Earth’s climate system to large-scale human intervention ecosystems.

"First, geoengineering schemes impose a variety of technical, political and economic challenges. International consensus to develop and maintain the schemes would be difficult. Failure of a scheme could be catastrophic," said Govindasamy said. "CO2 fertilization could impact ecosystem goods and services not represented by our land biosphere model, such as plant species abundance and competition, habitat loss, biodiversity and other disturbances."

The LLNL-led group used a general circulation model coupled to a model of land vegetation to conclude that the change in solar flux needed to stabilize climate would have little effect on net primary productivity in land.


Founded in 1952, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is a national security laboratory, with a mission to ensure national security and apply science and technology to the important issues of our time. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is managed by the University of California for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.


Anne Stark | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.llnl.gov/

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht New Study Will Help Find the Best Locations for Thermal Power Stations in Iceland
19.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg

nachricht Water - as the underlying driver of the Earth’s carbon cycle
17.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biogeochemie

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>