Albedo enhancement by stratospheric sulfur injections: More research needed

A. Robock

Earth's Future (1 December 2016)

DOI: 10.1002/2016EF000407

Research on albedo enhancement by stratospheric sulfur injection inspired by Paul Crutzen's paper a decade ago has made clear that it may present serious risks and concerns as well as benefits if used to address the global warming problem. While volcanic eruptions were suggested as innocuous examples of stratospheric aerosols cooling the planet, the volcano analog also argues against stratospheric geoengineering because of ozone depletion and regional hydrologic responses. Continuous injection of SO2 into the lower stratosphere would reduce global warming and some of its negative impacts, and would increasing the uptake of CO2 by plants, but research in the past decade has pointed out a number of potential negative impacts of stratospheric geoengineering. More research is needed to better quantify the potential benefits and risks so that if society is tempted to implement geoengineering in the future it will be able to make an informed decision.

keywords: Geoengineering; Climate Engineering; SRM; Volcanic Eruptions; Albedo modification; 0370 Volcanic effects; 1605 Abrupt/rapid climate change; 1616 Climate variability; 6309 Decision making under uncertainty; 6620 Science policy

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