SPRAYING chemicals into the sky is a perfectly safe way to stop global warming, according to one group of mad scientists.
The hare-brained scheme promises to halve temperature rises caused by climate change by “dimming” the Sun.
Dubbed solar geoengineering, the idea was cooked up by a team at Harvard University several years ago.
Scientists have since warned it could have catastrophic effects on our planet, sparking a wave of deadly droughts and hurricanes.
Now the Harvard group have doubled down on their claims with a new study that they say shows the technique is safe.
Despite concerns raised by other climate boffins, the team say that if used carefully – with a goal of only halving global temperature increases – their technique could work after all.
“Some of the problems identified in earlier studies where solar geoengineering offset all warming are examples of the old adage that the dose makes the poison,” physicist Professor David Keith said.
“Big uncertainties remain, but climate models suggest that geoengineering could enable surprisingly uniform benefits.”
The team’s system would mimic the natural cooling effect of volcanic eruptions using sunlight-reflecting particles.
They would be sprayed into the atmosphere by a machine strapped to an enormous helium balloon the length of Wembley Stadium.
Tethered to a boat via a reinforced hosepipe, the floating contraption would combine up to a million tons of water each year with clay, salt or other chemicals.
Millions of tiny chemical particles sprayed out by the machine would act like a mirror to reflect the Sun’s rays back into space.
Placing ten of these balloons around the globe could cut global temperatures by 2°C in just two years, according to some estimates.
But many scientists believe the sudden temperature drops could trigger droughts, extreme rainfall, or hurricanes in some regions.
Researchers recently proved that climate change is to blame for rising sea levels[/caption]
In their new study, Harvard scientists tested this theory using state-of-the-art computer models.
They explored how the world would fare if CO2 emissions were doubled while solar geoengineering was used to reduce half the temperature increase caused by this buildup.
According to the results, the technique would reduce global warming without triggering catastrophic weather events.
“Previous work had assumed that solar geo-engineering would inevitably lead to winners and losers with some regions suffering greater harms; our work challenges this assumption,” said researcher Dr Peter Irvine.
“We find a large reduction in climate risk overall without significantly greater risks to any region.”
The researchers admit that there’s still a lot we don’t understand about solar geoengineering, and that we shouldn’t use the technology until we know more.
“I am not saying we know it works and we should do it now,” Professor Keith told The Guardian.
“Indeed, I would absolutely oppose deployment now… there’s lots of uncertainty.”
The research was published in the journal Nature Climate Change.
TOP STORIES IN SCIENCE
Scientists sparked hopes for a “climate rewind” last month after they unveiled a way to turn carbon dioxide into coal.
Researchers recently proved that climate change is to blame for rising sea levels – as the risk of “megatsunamis” grows.
Scientists say Earth’s oceans will turn “deep green” by the end of the century – and climate change is to blame.
Are you worried about climate change? Let us know in the comments!
We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online news team? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0207 782 4368 . We pay for videos too. Click here to upload yours.