It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
Geoengineering research has so far been confined to modelling and laboratory studies. Serious research outside of these limits has been a taboo because of the serious risks this may pose for ecosystems and society. However, two recent publications are breaking the ice and bringing the discussion of field experiments into the limelight of the scientific community.
A group of atmospheric scientists have recently proposed nine field experiments to test solar geoengineering methods . They divided ideas into those that aim at understanding the effectiveness and risks of geoengineering and those aimed at developing technologies needed for the deployment of geoengineering. Furthermore, the scientists made a clear distinction between experiments seeking to understand small-scale atmospheric processes like chemical reactions on the surface of artificially injected particles and those targeting large-scale climate responses, e.g. a decrease in global average temperature. The impact of large-scale experiments cannot be simply extrapolated from small-scale ones. However, large-scale experiments would only be performed in cases where numerous prior small-scale tests proved successful with only negligible environmental risks – which might be too late to avoid some of the negative consequences of global warming.
The proposed experimental design of a small-scale stratospheric sulphur (and water) injection field test (source: )
Of the proposed experiments, a small field test called the stratospheric controlled perturbation experiment (SCoPEx) is at the most advanced planning stage . A Harvard research group designed the experiment to better quantify a side-effect of stratospheric sulphur injections: ozone depletion. A decrease in stratospheric ozone levels can increase the risk of skin cancer, which could be even more disruptive for society than the greenhouse gas-driven warming of the planet. A sudden decrease in ozone concentrations during SCoPEx would probably kill the idea of stratospheric sulphur geoengineering. As illustrated in the figure, the experiment is comprised of a balloon with a module carrying an aerosol generator, observational instruments, and an engine. The module both injects and monitors the aerosol plume. The experiment is expected to emit less sulphur and water than an intercontinental flight between Europe and the US. The researchers estimate the total costs of the field experiment to be around USD 10 million.
The controversy is likely to grow, as the project may have broken two international moratoria on ocean fertilization, the United Nations' convention on biological diversity and the London convention, which found large-scale experiments in ocean fertilization unjustified. [10 Climate Myths Busted]
George has attempted ocean-fertilization projects before, most notably in 2007, when his plan to dump iron near the Galapagos Islands drew fire from researchers and helped trigger the United Nations moratoria against such experiments.
George did not respond directly to queries from LiveScience, but said that the corporation will hold a news conference tomorrow (Oct. 19) to discuss the project.
A controversial experiment in which more than 200,000 pounds of iron sulfate were dumped into the Pacific Ocean west of Canada has scientists calling for more transparency in geoengineering
originally posted by: Aloysius the Gaul
Remember the SPICE experiment that got canned last year -geoeningeering research will certainly go "outdoors" at some point.
One of the major questions at geoengineering conferences these days is whether it will be a lawless free-for-all or will be controlled by some regulation.
Scientists who study ideas to engineer the climate to mitigate global warming say we should be ready to deploy an armada of instrumentation when Earth has its next major volcanic eruption.
Data gathered in the high atmosphere would be invaluable in determining whether so-called "geoengineering" solutions had any merit at all.