Trying to reflect sunlight artificially could backfire
FRISCO — When it comes to global warming nothing is simple — and that includes proposals to mitigate the effects of heat-trapping greenhouse gases with planetary scale geo-engineering schemes. One of the ideas that’s been floated is to seed the atmosphere with material in order to reflect some of the sun’s incoming heat.
But a recent study by German researchers suggests that it probably won’t work — and could have unexpected consequences for the global water cycle. In their model, based on an energy balance analysis, the researchers showed that the water cycle responds differently to heating by sunlight than it does to warming due to a stronger atmospheric greenhouse effect. Upsetting that balance could shift the Earth’s rainfall patterns, the researchers said. Continue reading