White House is pushing ahead research to cool Earth by reflecting back sunlight

The White is coordinating half-a-decade research plan to explore ways of modifying the amount of sunlight that reaches the earth to alter the effects of the global warming, which is being termed as geoengineering or sunlight reflection. 

Researchers will be investigating the possible effects of several solar geoengineering theories, such as aerosol injection, marine cloud brightening, and cirrus cloud thinning.

The classic greenhouse model of earth suggests multiple absorption and reflection of sunlight at different atmospheric layers. Around 20% of light being scattered and reflected by clouds, and 19% being absorbed by them. About half of energy is absorbed by surface while 4% is reflected by it.

The research plan will assess climate interventions by adding an artificial layer to reflect sunlight back into space to a greater extend.

Techniques such as spraying Sulphur Dioxide into the atmosphere are known to have harmful effects on the environment and human health. The classical smog is cause of excess Sulphur Dioxide in the cool-humid climate.

Goals for research are also to analyze the impacts these kinds of climate interventions may have on Earth and human health.

Spraying aerosol is not the only way, and some says it’s not the best option. Marine cloud brightening involves enhancing reflectivity that are close to oceans with techniques like spraying sea salt crystals into the air. This way remains unpopular due to lesser range and effects lasting for only hours to days. 

Cirrus clouds, floating between 3.7 to 8.1 miles high can be thinned to allow heat to escape efficiently after reflecting from earth’s surface. It’s not technically part of “solar geoengineering” category as it focuses more on release of thermal energy.




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