Atmospheric aerosols can significantly cool down climate

It is possible to significantly slow down and even temporarily stop the progression of global warming by increasing the atmospheric aerosol concentration, shows a new study from the University of Eastern Finland. However, climate engineering does not remove the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The study used global climate models to analyse the ability of atmospheric aerosols to cool down the climate, as well as the consequences of their use. The study focused on methods of climate engineering, which intentionally and artificially increase the atmospheric aerosol concentration in order to cool down the climate.

Furthermore, the cooling effects of current atmospheric aerosol emissions were analysed. The study found that aerosol particles injected into the stratosphere proved extremely efficient in cooling down the climate. The method mimics massive volcanic eruptions which release aerosol particles into the stratosphere that reflect solar radiation back into space, thus cooling down the climate even up to years. Atmospheric aerosols injected into the troposphere, on the other hand, can effectively impact the climate through cloud formation. Atmospheric aerosols increase the number of cloud droplets in clouds and make them whiter, which means that they can more effectively reflect solar radiation back into space.

The study also showed that current traffic and industry induced aerosol emissions cool down the climate. However, their cooling effect on the global temperature is significantly smaller than the warming effect of current greenhouse gas emissions. Nevertheless, it would be possible to harness, for example, global airline traffic and ship traffic for the purposes of atmospheric temperature regulation by increasing the sulphuric concentrations of fuels. This would make it possible to significantly increase stratospheric aerosol concentrations and cloud reflectivity in open sea. However, sulphuric concentrations of fuels would have to be increased beyond the levels defined in international agreements. In addition, the cooling effect would mainly be targeted at the northern hemisphere, which is responsible for a far greater share of global traffic than the southern hemisphere...


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