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 Predicting unpredictability: Information theory offers new way to read ice cores
07.12.2016 | Santa Fe Institute

nachricht Sea ice hit record lows in November
07.12.2016 | University of Colorado at Boulder

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>