Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Geoengineering: Solution For Global Warming?

While global warming is being accepted globally by the scientific community, multiple solutions are also emerging to solve it. Geoengineering is one such techniques that can be used to manipulate earth’s climate to balance the effects of global warming caused due to greenhouse gases. The earth's atmosphere compromises of various gases including CO2 and is filled with heat. Because earth receives sunlight constantly, if its heat retention capacity is increased (adding greenhouses gases, GHGs), then its temperature will keep rising. To balance this, we should reduce the amount of sunlight reaching the planet or diminish its absorbing capacity.

Aerosol in stratosphere
Sulphur based compounds can be sprayed to create a global dimming effect; a giant radiation management cloud: a screen. In theory, it would show instant results. However there are many side effects that are feared to originate from this measure like droughts, ozone depletion, stratosphere's humidification, effect on cloud patterns & ecosystems etc.

Giant reflectors in orbit
This concept involves a sun shield that would stop some sunlight to reach the earth. Few suggestions also include a photovoltaic solar power system.
Grow Trees
Plants grow by converting CO2 in organic compounds via photosynthesis. They've long lifespans and their wood stores carbon permanently when used as building material. This is one of the simplest and yet most feasible solutions that we have. So convert deforestation into forestation.
Pump liquid CO2 into rocks & into deep sea
Another method of removing CO2 is to absorb it from the atmosphere compress into liquid form and put in oceans or under the ground. But this requires a big deal of energy. Furthermore, there is a fear that earthquakes etc can re-release these GHGs.

Ocean nourishment (Iron fertilization)
Just like carbon capturing that trees do by turning it into into wood, the ocean algae also turns CO2 into organic compounds that eventually falls into the ocean bed as sediment. Iron is an essential nutrient for phytoplankton, by increasing its availability we can stimulates the process.

Multiple other concepts could be applied to fight the climate change but they all have one thing in common; they deal with climate change’s symptoms, not the causes of it. Whats important then any of these things is to change the way we live. As Einstein said we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them…Carbon based fuels are the reason that created this issue and if we want to heal our mother planet then first step should be saying goodbye to them, its just that simple.

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