Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Geoengineering Projects That Could Offset Global Warming

Date:
January 28, 2009
Source:
University of East Anglia
Summary:
The first comprehensive assessment of the climate cooling potential of different geoengineering schemes has been carried out.

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 carbon dioxide 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.
Credit: iStockphoto

The first comprehensive assessment of the climate cooling potential of different geoengineering schemes has been carried out by researchers at the University of East Anglia (UEA).

Related Articles


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 phosphorus 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.

This research was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council.

A new combined heat and power plant at UEA is pioneering this type of technology.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Tim Lenton and Nem Vaughan. The radiative forcing potential of different climate geo-engineering options. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions, January 28, 2009

Cite This Page:

University of East Anglia. "Geoengineering Projects That Could Offset Global Warming." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 January 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090127190338.htm>.
University of East Anglia. (2009, January 28). Geoengineering Projects That Could Offset Global Warming. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090127190338.htm
University of East Anglia. "Geoengineering Projects That Could Offset Global Warming." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090127190338.htm (accessed October 26, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

EU Gets Climate Deal, UK PM Gets Knock

EU Gets Climate Deal, UK PM Gets Knock

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) EU leaders achieve a show of unity by striking a compromise deal on carbon emissions. But David Cameron's bid to push back EU budget contributions gets a slap in the face as the European Commission demands an extra 2bn euros. David Pollard reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Tornado Rips Roofs in Washington State

Raw: Tornado Rips Roofs in Washington State

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) A rare tornado ripped roofs off buildings, uprooted trees and shattered windows Thursday afternoon in the southwest Washington city of Longview, but there were no reports of injuries. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fast-Moving Lava Headed For Town On Hawaii's Big Island

Fast-Moving Lava Headed For Town On Hawaii's Big Island

Newsy (Oct. 24, 2014) Lava from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island has accelerated as it travels toward a town called Pahoa. 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