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Artificial climate intervention could completely destroy the planet, so we probably shouldn’t do that

November 14th, 2017 at 3:16 PM

That terrible Hollywood disaster movie Geostorm fell flat on its face at the box office and got so many things wrong when it comes to science that it’s really not even worth remembering, but it did manage to predict something vaguely accurately: manipulation of the climate is bad news. In a new study published in the journal Nature Communications, a team of researchers led by climate gurus at the University of Exeter reveal that dabbling in artificial cooling of the planet as a countermeasure to manmade global warming is a recipe for disaster.

The research utilized advanced climate models to simulate the effects of the proposed climate intervention techniques — including the intentional injection of aerosols into the atmosphere to lessen the sun’s ability to fuel devastating storms — and the results are not exactly encouraging.

Injecting material into the atmosphere artificially is intended to mimic the effects of volcanic eruptions, which do the same thing naturally. The particles act like a barrier to the sun’s warming rays, blocking them from reaching the surface and resulting in a cooling effect on a short-term basis. This type of geoengineering is still a half-baked idea, and has only been proposed as an absolute last-ditch effort to curb some of the more devastating effects of global warming.

The scientists simulated what would happen if the aerosol injection technique was used in the northern hemisphere, which has been casually proposed as a potential method of reducing the severity of tropical storms. The climate models reveal that the large-scale action would indeed calm things down a bit and potentially reduce the number of North Atlantic cyclones, but it would also have dire effects on other parts of the Earth.

The drop off of tropical storms in one area would actually lead to a spike in drought in parts of Africa, according to the data. If you have even a casual interesting in weather or nature in general, that won’t be much of a surprise, as nature has taught us that messing with one thing inevitably leads to unexpected changes elsewhere. Thusly, the researchers are now calling for strict regulation on geoengineering as a “solution” to climate change. That seems like a good idea.

Mike Wehner has reported on technology and video games for the past decade, covering breaking news and trends in VR, wearables, smartphones, and future tech.

Most recently, Mike served as Tech Editor at The Daily Dot, and has been featured in USA Today, Time.com, and countless other web and print outlets. His love of reporting is second only to his gaming addiction.




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