Risky technology can save Earth from global warming
Humanity is unlikely to achieve its climate goals in the near future as a 1.26°C temperature increase is already recorded in 2022, and a 1.5°C transition is expected in the 2030s. Therefore, a somewhat risky technology that involves eclipsing the Sun is probably more reliable.
Peter Irvine, a lecturer in Earth sciences at University College London, wrote about this in an article for The Conversation. By the end of the century, the Earth's temperature could rise by 2.5°C, which threatens to devastate vulnerable communities and ecosystems around the world.
Scientists know that after powerful volcanic eruptions, global temperatures drop for several years. This happens because powerful eruptions create a foggy layer of microscopic particles in the upper atmosphere that temporarily obscure the Sun.
Thus, Irvine, like many other scientists, is inclined to believe that humanity could copy this effect to fight climate change. Moreover, the study showed that a 1% eclipse of the Sun would help cool the planet by 1°C.
To do this, humanity could use a fleet of jet aircraft that would release reflective particles into the upper atmosphere and thus prevent some of the sunlight from reaching the Earth's surface.
Irwin is convinced that cooling the planet can work in the fight against global warming, although it will not stop climate change completely.
After all, the problem of overheating of the Earth is not only sunlight but also greenhouse gases, which trap the heat accumulated by the planet, preventing it from escaping into space.
And warming the planet is not just a problem for humans. Since climate change is happening too fast, eventually, migratory species will simply not have time to find new places to survive, leading to an increase in the number of endangered species.
Extreme heat is also pushing the human body to the limit, which may eventually no longer be able to stay outdoors for long periods of time.
As Irvine explains, the warming of the planet causes warmer air to pull more moisture out of the soil during dry times and release it immediately when it rains. As a result, dry regions are becoming even drier and wet regions are becoming wetter. And droughts and floods are getting worse all over the world.
An eclipse of the Sun would offset this effect, although it would not change the situation with global wind and precipitation patterns.
It would also help save the glaciers of Antarctica and Greenland from accelerated melting, which leads to rising sea levels, and stop the melting of permafrost, which emits large amounts of methane and CO₂.
At the same time, Irvine reminds us that a solar eclipse will not solve the problem that is the primary source of global warming: the accumulation of CO₂ and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
"CO₂ not only heats up the planet but also acidifies the ocean, making it difficult for corals and other creatures to form shells. An eclipse of the Sun will not change this," the scientist explained.
However, the idea of eclipsing the Sun has some disadvantages. The foggy layer of particles would make the sky a little whiter, and the simulation of volcanic eruptions would create the problem of acid rain.
Studies have also shown that these particles would delay the recovery of ozone holes, so protection from harmful ultraviolet radiation would be reduced.
"These side effects are worrisome. But they pale in comparison to the effects of climate change. A recent study showed that the benefits of reducing extreme heat for human health can outweigh the health impacts of these side effects by more than 50 times," Irvine emphasized.
Earlier, OBOZ.UA reported that the greenhouse effect could turn the Earth into a hellish planet.