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     Under the dome: spray aerosols will cool the planet, but will not help to save the crops
    on Friday 10 August 2018
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    Young branch of science – geo-engineering – is looking for measures to save our planet from global warming. The most promising plan on spraying in the atmosphere aerosols reflecting sunlight back to space. But it seems that the researchers did not consider one important detail.

    The Earth is running out of time: global warming increases, and measures to stop or at least slow down is not working.

    But scientists do not give up. Young branch of science – geo-engineering – is looking for ways to change the prevailing climatic conditions.

    For example, the specialists suggested to cool the planet spraying in the atmosphere of diamond dust. However, the fit of any other particles, which will reflect and dissipate solar energy into the upper layers "veils of the Earth". For example, for this purpose you can use aluminum oxide.

    Such a plan seems quite promising, but the researchers from the University of California at Berkeley found one flaw: their work showed that due to the so-called black effect hit agriculture.

    Recall that the idea of cooling the Earth, therefore appeared after studying the volcanic activity. Geologists and ecologists have noticed that after big eruptions, there is a slight temperature decline. This is due to the release into the atmosphere huge amounts of sulfur dioxide: it reacts with water vapor, forming small droplets (aerosol). They scatter sunlight.

    For example, the Philippine volcano Pinatubo during the eruption in 1991 was thrown into the atmosphere 20 million tons of sulfur dioxide. The number emitted into the atmosphere in sunlight decreased by 2.5%, and average global temperatures dropped by about half a degree Celsius.

    The researchers suggested that the "spray dome" can increase the yield of agricultural crops, because the sun's light, even absent-minded, still too early to reach the foliage, but the temperature readings will crawl down. However, the validation of this theory has shown the opposite.

    Geoingenieria analyzed global agricultural indices from 1979 to 2009, paying special attention to periods of climatic changes that led to two major eruptions. The first was the eruption of Pinatubo in 1991, the second – the eruption of the Mexican volcano El Chichon in 1982.

    In addition, the team created a special model to calculate how much of the cooling spray need to spray above Ground with the increase in carbon dioxide emissions after 2020.

    According to experts, by 2050 2069 year with geoengineering methods can reduce the average temperature of the planet by about 0.88 degrees Celsius. And it would increase maize yields by 6.3%.

    But when the model added the data on sunlight, it became clear that due to its scattering effect will be the opposite: the yields will decrease by 5.3%. But if to take into account changes in precipitation and cloud cover, to this figure we can add another 0.2 percent.

    Similar results were and other crops – rice, wheat, soy.

    "It's kind of like experimental surgery: side effects of treatment cause the same damage as the disease itself," explains lead author Jonathan Proctor (Jonathan Proctor).

    Perhaps the reason for this effect is that crops, unlike trees, most of their life cycle grow "sparse": in the margins of each plant almost no contact with the neighbor, it is not a shadow falls, which is not true of the forests, where the neighboring trees more dense, and the lower part of leaves do not receive sunlight. The trees were used to such conditions, but other plants – no.


    According to experts, this work serves as a reminder of that relationship, which are all components of our world. By acting on the temperature, it is impossible not to change and other settings, and this should be considered in future work.

    Scientific article on the results of a recent study was published in the journal Nature.

    Recall that in April 2018 ecologists have recorded a new deplorable record: the concentration of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere have updated the maximum. But scientists have interesting ideas how to recycle greenhouse gases. So, in Iceland their "pack" under the earth, and in Switzerland has created an installation that "eats" carbon dioxide. Other engineers suggest not to store CO2, and recycled into fuel and alcohols.

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