Geoengineering The Atmosphere For Climate Change

A team of Harvard researchers is going to try solar geoengineering, combating climate change by pumping aerosols into the sky to reflect the sun’s rays back into space.

The study will be the first to actually shoot tiny amounts of material into the stratosphere to study solar geoengineering — although researchers caution they will start with water vapor and won’t exceed volumes over 1 kilogram of any substance.

Yet the concept of intentionally modifying the earth’s atmosphere as a corrective for global warming is highly contentious, even among those who believe it could one day be used responsibly.

“The idea that you could even think about adjusting the temperature of the planet is terrifying,” said Frank Keutsch, one of the Harvard scientists leading the study. “But the consequences of climate change are also quite terrifying. This is a very serious subject.”

SF writers Niven and Pournelle had pretty much the same idea in their 1974 classic The Mote in God's Eye. To mitigate climate problems on a recently settled planet, natural vulanism was harnessed to achieve atmosphere control.

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."

The earliest sfnal proposal that I know about for radically altering our climate for the better comes from the 1894 story A Journey in Other Worlds by John Jacob Astor IV.

"GENTLEMEN: You know that the objects of this company are, to straighten the axis of the earth, to combine the extreme heat of summer with the intense cold of winter and produce a uniform temperature for each degree of latitude the year round.
(Read more about Global Climate Control)

Via seeker.

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