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Extreme Science – Solar geoengineering

Extreme Science - Solar geoengineering

Context- Scientists are calling on political institutions to place limits on solar geoengineering research so that it cannot be deployed unilaterally by countries, companies or individuals.

Solar geoengineering

Climate science demands experts to gather observations from high orbit, ocean depths, and various locations, employing models that push the limits of the most powerful supercomputers. Despite having the best data, precision in climate scientists’ predictions remains challenging.

Solar geoengineering encompasses hypothetical technologies aimed at counteracting temperature rise by reflecting more sunlight away from the Earth’s surface—an emerging field referred to as “solar-radiation modification” by the IPCC. The 2021 report acknowledges that research consistently indicates these methods “could offset some effects of increasing greenhouse gases on global and regional climate, including the carbon and water cycles.”

A significant source of optimism:

Numerous climate scientists argue that discussions about solar geoengineering could divert policymakers from crucial greenhouse gas reduction efforts, potentially resulting in ineffective outcomes. Such a diversion may lead to severe consequences for the entire planet.

  • Implementing solar geoengineering, whether through stratospheric particles, enhanced maritime clouds, or alternative methods, wouldn’t merely reverse greenhouse warming but introduce deliberate climate change with potential risks.
  • The resulting impacts on atmospheric chemistry and circulation remain poorly understood, introducing uncertainties and potential dangers.
  • Approaches beneficial for one country might have adverse effects on another, highlighting the complex and interconnected nature of solar geoengineering strategies.

Read Also: The Economics Behind Solar Energy Generation


Solar geoengineering, also termed solar radiation management (SRM), shares the common objective of mitigating the impact of sunlight on Earth, yet it encompasses diverse approaches. Potential methods include diminishing heat-trapping clouds, deploying a large orbital sunshade, or releasing aerosols into the stratosphere. While these technologies could theoretically alleviate global warming, they do not target the reduction of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and, as a result, cannot directly tackle issues like ocean acidification.

A definite advantage:

Studies indicate that the implementation of solar geoengineering could indirectly decrease the atmospheric CO2 levels by mitigating permafrost thaw, lowering emissions from the energy sector, and inducing alterations in the carbon-cycle feedback.

Read Also: The Climate of the world


Consistent findings from climate models suggest that when employed in moderation alongside emissions reductions, solar geoengineering has the capacity to mitigate global climate changes. This includes the potential to alleviate impacts such as extreme temperatures, alterations in water availability, and the intensity of tropical storms.

Read Also: Climate Crisis: Impact on India

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