Climate Geoengineering Oops: Injecting Sulphates Into the Stratosphere To Reflect Sunlight Would Starve Crops of Sunlight
Guest essay by Eric Worrall
I guess we should be grateful that this time someone noticed the problems BEFORE creating another climate policy driven global food shortage.
Dimming sunlight to slow global warming may harm crop yields: study
Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent
OSLO (Reuters) – Spraying a veil of sun-dimming chemicals high above the Earth to slow global warming could harm crop yields in an unintended side-effect of turning down the heat, U.S. scientists said on Wednesday.
Some researchers say a man-made sunshade, perhaps sulfur dioxide released high in the atmosphere, could limit rising temperatures and the after-effects like the wildfires that have ravaged California and Greece this summer.
But a U.S. scientific team found that big volcanic eruptions, such as Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines in 1991 and El Chichon in Mexico in 1982, cut yields of wheat, soy and rice after spewing sun-blocking ash that blew around the world.
The abstract of the study;
Estimating global agricultural effects of geoengineering using volcanic eruptions
Published: 08 August 2018
Jonathan Proctor, Solomon Hsiang, Jennifer Burney, Marshall Burke & Wolfram Schlenker
Solar radiation management is increasingly considered to be an option for managing global temperatures, yet the economic effects of ameliorating climatic changes by scattering sunlight back to space remain largely unknown. Although solar radiation management may increase crop yields by reducing heat stress, the effects of concomitant changes in available sunlight have never been empirically estimated. Here we use the volcanic eruptions that inspired modern solar radiation management proposals as natural experiments to provide the first estimates, to our knowledge, of how the stratospheric sulfate aerosols created by the eruptions of El Chichón and Mount Pinatubo altered the quantity and quality of global sunlight, and how these changes in sunlight affected global crop yields. We find that the sunlight-mediated effect of stratospheric sulfate aerosols on yields is negative for both C4 (maize) and C3 (soy, rice and wheat) crops. Applying our yield model to a solar radiation management scenario based on stratospheric sulfate aerosols, we find that projected mid-twenty-first century damages due to scattering sunlight caused by solar radiation management are roughly equal in magnitude to benefits from cooling. This suggests that solar radiation management—if deployed using stratospheric sulfate aerosols similar to those emitted by the volcanic eruptions it seeks to mimic—would, on net, attenuate little of the global agricultural damage from climate change. Our approach could be extended to study the effects of solar radiation management on other global systems, such as human health or ecosystem function.
Read more (paywalled): https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-018-0417-3
Noticing the problems before causing great harm a bit of a first for climate activism.
Back in 2008 lavish biofuel incentives caused worldwide food shortages; prices in poor countries spike up to 75%, which led to mass hunger and civil unrest.
via Watts Up With That? https://ift.tt/1Viafi3