Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Livermore researchers determine biosphere unaffected by geoengineering schemes


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:

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht UCI and NASA document accelerated glacier melting in West Antarctica
26.10.2016 | University of California - Irvine

nachricht Ice shelf vibrations cause unusual waves in Antarctic atmosphere
25.10.2016 | American Geophysical Union

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

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

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

How nanoscience will improve our health and lives in the coming years

27.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

OU-led team discovers rare, newborn tri-star system using ALMA

27.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape

27.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>