Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Shoot Up And Cool Down: Fighting Global Warming By Injecting Sulfur Into The Atmosphere

Date:
July 28, 2006
Source:
Springer
Summary:
Injecting sulfur into the atmosphere to slow down global warming is worthy of serious consideration, according to Nobel laureate Paul Crutzen from the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Germany and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California at San Diego. His thought-provoking paper is published in the August issue of the Springer journal, Climatic Change, devoted this month to the controversial field of geoengineering.

Injecting sulfur into the atmosphere to slow down global warming is worthy of serious consideration, according to Nobel laureate Paul Crutzen from the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Germany and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California at San Diego. His thought-provoking paper1 is published in the August issue of the Springer journal Climatic Change, devoted this month to the controversial field of geoengineering.

Related Articles


Fossil fuel burning releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which contributes significantly to global warming. Burning of fossil fuel also releases sulfur into the earth’s atmosphere, in the form of sulfate particles. Ironically, these sulfate particles help to cool down the planet by reflecting solar radiation back into space. Crutzen’s proposed planet-saving scheme, which artificially injects sulfur into the earth’s stratosphere (the second atmospheric layer closest to earth) to offset greenhouse gas warming, is based on this phenomenon.

His “albedo2 enhancement method”, or, in other words, his proposed way of increasing the earth’s reflective powers so that a significant proportion of solar radiation is reflected back into space, aims to replicate the cooling effect these man-made sulfate particles achieve.

This phenomenon is also observed during volcanic eruptions. Crutzen uses the Mount Pinatubo eruption in 1991 as a model for his idea . The volcanic eruption injected sulfur into the stratosphere. The enhanced reflection of solar radiation to space by the particles cooled the earth’s surface by an average of 0.5OC in the year following the eruption.

In Crutzen’s experiment, artificially enhancing earth’s reflective powers would be achieved by carrying sulfur into the stratosphere on balloons, using artillery guns to release it. In contrast to the slowly developing effects of global warming associated with man-made carbon dioxide emissions, the climatic response of the albedo enhancement method could theoretically start taking effect within six months. The reflective particles could remain in the stratosphere for up to two years.

“Given the grossly disappointing international political response to the required greenhouse gas emissions,…research on the feasibility and environmental consequences of climate engineering of the kind presented in this paper, which might need to be deployed in future, should not be tabooed,” says Crutzen. He adds that his experiment should only be used as an emergency measure: “the possibility of the albedo enhancement scheme should not be used to justify inadequate climate policies but merely to create a possibility to combat potentially drastic climate heating.”

1. Crutzen P (2006). Albedo enhancement by stratospheric sulfur injections: a contribution to resolve a policy dilemma? Climatic Change; DOI 10.1007/s10584-006-9101-y

2. Albedo: whiteness; the ratio which the light reflected from an unpolished surface bears to the total light falling upon that surface.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Springer. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Springer. "Shoot Up And Cool Down: Fighting Global Warming By Injecting Sulfur Into The Atmosphere." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 July 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/07/060727180326.htm>.
Springer. (2006, July 28). Shoot Up And Cool Down: Fighting Global Warming By Injecting Sulfur Into The Atmosphere. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/07/060727180326.htm
Springer. "Shoot Up And Cool Down: Fighting Global Warming By Injecting Sulfur Into The Atmosphere." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/07/060727180326.htm (accessed December 17, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ivory Trade Boom Swamps Law Efforts

Ivory Trade Boom Swamps Law Efforts

Reuters - Business Video Online (Dec. 17, 2014) Demand for ivory has claimed the lives of tens of thousands of African elephants and now a conservation report says the illegal trade is overwhelming efforts to enforce the law. Amy Pollock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Uphill Battle to Tackle Indonesian Shark Fishing

Uphill Battle to Tackle Indonesian Shark Fishing

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) Sharks are hauled ashore every day at a busy market on the central Indonesian island of Lombok, the hub of a booming trade that provides a livelihood for local fishermen but is increasingly alarming environmentalists. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
France's Sauternes Wine Threatened by New Train Line

France's Sauternes Wine Threatened by New Train Line

AFP (Dec. 16, 2014) Winemakers in southwestern France's Bordeaux are concerned about a proposed high speed train line that could affect the microclimate required for the region's sweet wine. Duration: 01:06 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
2016 Olympic Waters Feature 'Super Bacteria' Researchers Say

2016 Olympic Waters Feature 'Super Bacteria' Researchers Say

Newsy (Dec. 16, 2014) Researchers found the bacteria Klebsiella pneumoniae Carbapenemase in the water where the 2016 Olympics is supposed to take place. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins