Charles Q. Choi, Live Science Contributor, Live Science
Current schemes to minimize the havoc caused by global warming by
purposefully manipulating Earth's climate are likely to either be
relatively useless or actually make things worse, researchers say in a
The dramatic increase in carbon dioxide levels
in the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution is expected to cause
rising global sea levels, more-extreme weather and other disruptions to
regional and local climates. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that traps heat, so as levels of the gas rise, the planet overall warms.
In addition to efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, some have
suggested artificially manipulating the world's climate in a last-ditch
effort to prevent catastrophic climate change. These strategies,
considered radical in some circles, are known as geoengineering or climate engineering.
Many scientists have investigated and questioned how effective
individual geoengineering methods could be. However, there have been few
attempts to compare and contrast the various methods, which range from
fertilizing the ocean so that marine organisms suck up excess carbon
dioxide to shooting aerosols into the atmosphere to reflect some of the
sun's incoming rays back into space. [8 Ways Global Warming is Already Changing the World]
Now, researchers using a 3D model of the Earth have tested the potential benefits and drawbacks of five different geoengineering .
Will it work?
The scientists found that even when several technologies were combined,
geoengineering would be unable to prevent average surface temperatures
from rising more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius)
above current temperatures by the year 2100. This is, the current limit
that international negotiations are focused on. They were unable to do
so even when each was deployed continuously and at scales as large as currently deemed possible. Read More