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Reduce Hurricanes By Altering The Atmosphere

Geoengineers have been thinking of ways to cut down on warming climate change; one idea is to cool the earth down in a way that mimics the effects of volcanic eruptions.

Today a multinational team of scientists has published the first compressive breakdown of how sulfates that are dispersed into the Earth's stratosphere could dampen hurricanes over the next 50 years. Led by John Moore, the head of China's geoengineering research program, the research group reports that the idea is physically and economically conceivable, and it'd probably work. In multiple climate models, they found that shading sulfates could cool the ocean's surface by enough to effectively halve the number of large, Katrina-level hurricanes we'd otherwise see in our warming waters.

The new study focused on modeling two scenarios in which sulfate aerosols are dumped into the stratosphere. In the first, "we're basically mimicking a volcano and saying we're going to put 5 billion tons of sulfates a year into the atmosphere 20 kilometers high, and we'll do that for 50 years," Moore says. These sulfates don't stay suspended forever. Bit by bit they fall out of the air.

In the second model, the amount of sulfates gradually increases to around 10 billion tons per year after 50 years, to match the global economy's steadily-growing production of CO2. Both scenarios are based on a widely-used future projection of climate change in which only modest attempts at curtailing CO2 take place.

SF fans may recall that a similar climate-tailoring effort was brought to our attention in The Mote in God's Eye, the 1974 novel by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, which used an actual volcano for the dispersal process.

Potter was doing most of the talking and all the pointing. "Those twin volcanoes; d'ye see them, Mr. Renner? D'ye see yon boxlike structures near the peak of each one? They're atmosphere control. When yon volcanoes belch gas, the maintenance posts fire jets of tailored algae into the air stream. Without them our atmosphere would soon be foul again."
(Read more about Atmosphere Control)

Via Popular Mechanics.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 10/21/2015)

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