A study estimates that dispersing 450,000 tons of diamond dust and alumina into the atmosphere would lower temperatures. The professors Weisenstein, Keith and Dykema can be three of the candidates this year to the IgNobel awards (the prizes to the scientific proposals more bizarre, strange or directly absurd at the moment) or on the contrary they can open the way to a radically different solution for the problem of climate change.
These three scientists from the University of Harvard (USA) published this week in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (online edition October 26) an article in which they calculate the chances of success to combat climate change -down the temperature of the planet – scattering thousands of tons of diamond dust and alumina particles (aluminum oxide) into the atmosphere.
Researchers recognize that for the time being this new technique is purely hypothetical, since there is still no technology to implement it. Dispersing diamonds and aluminum in the atmosphere may seem like a madness worthy of the inventions of the TBO but the authors of this study remember that during the last years a long list of geoengineering solutions has been proposed to fight against climate change (none of which has overcome the theoretical phase, for now).
The theoretical work of Weisenstein, Keith and Dykema, in particular, tries to calculate the possible impacts and results of the use of particles of diamonds and alumina as opposed to another proposal of geoengineering raised above, the dispersion of sulphates in the atmosphere.
While another group of scientists proposed spraying chemicals in the stratosphere to attenuate the incidence of the Sun on Earth and, thus, combat climate change.
According to a study by researchers at the Harvard and Yale universities, published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, stratospheric aerosol injection (SAI) could slow the rate of global warming by half. The idea would involve spraying large amounts of sulfate particles in the lower stratosphere of the Earth, at altitudes of up to 19 kilometers, by means of specially designed aircraft, balloons or large naval-style cannons. However, the report recognizes that the proposal is purely hypothetical at this time, since there is still no adequate technology or aircraft to implement it.
The scientists point out that for this purpose they are designing a new tanker aircraft, specially designed for substantial payload capabilities, which would not be technologically difficult or very expensive. However, its development will take about 15 years, they admit. The team also recognizes that the hypothetical system could eventually have catastrophic consequences such as drought or extreme weather. In addition, coordination between multiple countries in both hemispheres would be necessary.
In both cases, the dispersion of very small particles in the upper layers of the atmosphere would have the objective of creating a kind of solar radiation barrier and, in theory, achieving a reduction in the temperature of the planet’s surface. In part it would be to imitate a phenomenon that has already occurred on Earth as a result of large eruptions of volcanoes.
In the case of sulfates, such as those that occur in some eruptions, scientists know partially what the effects are on the atmosphere, many of them negative. On the other hand, apart from roughly calculating the economic cost of an operation such as the dispersion of diamond dust and alumina, scientists are unaware of the effects that the dispersion of large quantities of this type of particles could have on the atmosphere and living beings.