The Great Paradox: Reduced air pollution has increased global warming because clean air lacks the aerosol particles that reflect sunlight and cool the Earth.
- Current pollution rates are 30 percent lower than in 2000
- But this has led to increased warming from carbon emissions
- Scientists have found that there is less fog in the atmosphere to block the sun’s rays
- They propose using solar engineering to release aerosol particles into the atmosphere to combat climate change
Scientists have found a great paradox in nature – fresh air strengthens Global Warmingand pollution keeps our planet cool.
An international team of researchers found that current pollution rates are 30 percent lower than in 2000, but warming from carbon dioxide emissions has increased by up to 50 percent.
Contaminant particles such as sulfate or nitrate are known for their reflective properties and are usually found when depleted.
In a desperate move, the team is proposing to turn to aerosols once again, but using a controversial form of geoengineering to do so.
This method, called solar engineering, involves releasing sulfate particles into the stratosphere, which in turn creates a haze that reflects the Earth. Science.org reports.
The research, led by the University of Leipzig, brings good news for human health – these particles are linked to millions of deaths every year – but the future is grim for humanity.
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Although pollution has decreased by 20% since 2000, warming from carbon emissions has increased.
Ocean temperatures have risen since 2000, the team said, due to the adoption of policies that reduce the use of aerosols.
Johannes Quaas, a climate scientist at the University of Leipzig and lead author of the study, told Science.org that the study was conducted using instruments on NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites, both of which collect data on Earth’s atmosphere.
The instrument also collects intelligence on radiation entering and leaving Earth, allowing research to understand the increase in infrared heat trapped by greenhouse gases.
Another instrument on the satellites showed a decrease in reflected light from Earth.
Scientists used NASA’s Terra and Aqua (pictured) satellites to study the atmosphere and found that because the air was cleaner, there was less smog. Less haze means more radiation
Venkatachalam Ramaswamy, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, told Science.org that there can only be one explanation for this – the air is cleaner. A dynamic laboratory. “It’s very difficult to find alternative reasons for this,” he said.
All this data allowed the team to analyze the haze in the atmosphere, which led them to identify a dramatic clearing of haze over North America, Europe and East Asia from 2000 to 2019.
The results fueled the idea of returning polluting particles to the atmosphere, which would in turn reflect solar radiation back into space, ultimately limiting or reversing human-caused climate change.
In a desperate move, the team suggests turning to aerosols once again, but using controversial geoengineering to do so. This method was proposed by the Stratospheric Controlled Threat Experiment, funded by Microsoft founder Bill Gates.
This method was proposed by the Stratospheric Controlled Threat Experiment, funded by Microsoft founder Bill Gates.
This initial $3 million test will use a high-altitude scientific balloon to lift about 4 pounds of calcium carbonate powder — the size of a bag of flour — into the atmosphere 12 miles above the New Mexico desert.
This would plant a tubular sky field half a mile long and 100 yards in diameter.
For the next 24 hours, the balloon will be steered by propellers through this artificial cloud, its onboard sensors monitoring both the dust’s ability to reflect the sun and its effect on the surrounding thin air.
However, SCoPEx stands amid fears that it could trigger a series of catastrophic chain reactions, wreaking climate havoc in the form of severe droughts and hurricanes, and killing millions of people around the world.
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