Portal:Global warming/Selected article/13
albedo of several types of roofs.
Solar radiation management projects are a type of geoengineering which seek to reflect sunlight and thus reduce global warming. Examples include the creation of stratospheric sulfur aerosols. They do not reduce greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, and thus do not address problems such as ocean acidification caused by these gases. Their principal advantages as an approach to geoengineering is the speed with which they can be deployed and become fully active, as well as their low financial cost. By comparison, other geoengineering techniques based on greenhouse gas remediation, such as ocean iron fertilization, need to sequester the anthropogenic carbon excess before they can arrest global warming. Solar radiation management projects can therefore be used as a geoengineering 'quick fix' while levels of greenhouse gases can be brought under control by greenhouse gas remediation techniques.
A study by Lenton and Vaughan suggest that marine cloud brightening and stratospheric sulfur aerosols are each capable of reversing the warming effect of a doubling of the level of CO2 in the atmosphere (when compared to pre-industrial levels).
The phenomenon of global dimming is widely known, and is not necessarily a geoengineering technique. It occurs in normal conditions, due to aerosols caused by pollution, or caused naturally as a result of volcanoes and major forest fires. However, its deliberate manipulation is a tool of the geoengineer. The majority of recent global dimming has been in the troposphere, except that resulting from volcanos, which affect mainly the stratosphere. By intentionally changing the Earth's albedo, or reflectivity, scientists propose that we could reflect more heat back out into space, or intercept sunlight before it reaches the Earth through a literal shade built in space. A 0.5% albedo increase would roughly halve the effect of CO2 doubling.