Could imitating volcanos fix the climate crisis? Science is spilt


At opposite ends of Southeast Asia, researchers Pornampai Narenpitak and Heri Kuswanto are both working on the same problem: Is it possible to mimic the cooling effects of volcanic eruptions to halt global warming?

Using computer modelling and analysis, Narenpitak and Kuswanto are separately studying whether shooting large quantities of sulphur dioxide into the earth’s stratosphere could have a similar effect on global temperatures as the eruption of Indonesia’s Mount Tambora in 1815.

The eruption, the most powerful in recorded history, spewed an estimated 150 cubic kilometres (150,000 gigalitres) of exploded rock and ash into the air, causing global temperatures to fall as much as 3 degrees Celsius (5.4 degrees Fahrenheit) in what became known as the “year without a summer”.

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Stratospheric aerosol injection is among a number of nascent – and controversial – technologies in the field of solar geoengineering (SRM) that have been touted as potential solutions to mitigating the effects of climate change.

Other proposed strategies include brightening marine clouds to reflect the sun or breaking up cirrus clouds that capture heat.


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