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Antacids Could Cure The Atmosphere, Scientists Believe

First Posted: Dec 14, 2016 03:36 AM EST
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Global temperatures have been steadily rising during the last few decades, and international efforts to get the climate back to a "safe" zone has fallen short, which is why scientists and engineers are trying to find a way to cure the symptoms of climate change. Geoengineering tactics try to mimic the natural atmospheric cooling by giving the Earth an antacid that follows that would disperse sulfur dioxide into the air during a volcanic eruption.

However, as Goshen News pointed out, there are several problems with this plan. For instance, it is unclear what the government or international body would authorize to release sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere -- even though it can help cool down temperatures, the chemical is also a pollutant that can cause acid rain. Taking this into account, the sulfur dioxide could eat away the layer of ozone that protects the Earth from ultraviolet light and could warm the lower part of the stratosphere above the tropic region.

Metro UK did note that scientists are also thinking of pumping an aerosol of calcium carbonate, which could reflect light back into space so that it could cool the planet, and at the same time, it neutralizes acid from carbon emissions. Frank Keutsch at Harvard shared, "Instead of trying to minimize the reactivity of the aerosol, we wanted a material that is highly reactive but in a way that would avoid ozone destruction." As explained, the aerosol could block incoming solar energy and neutralize airborne acid particles as well.

In short, they came up with an antacid for the stratosphere to save the Earth, which is a better solution than introducing sulfuric acid. "This research is a turning point and an important step in analyzing and reducing certain risks of solar geoengineering."

Still, there are ethical, political and environmental consequences for such actions, and what people know in theory does not always mean that things will turn out as planned.

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