31 May 2012:
Geoengineering Scheme Could
Make Sky Brighter and Whiter, Study Says
Spraying aerosols into the atmosphere, one of the so-called geoengineering schemes often proposed as a way to counteract global warming, would also make the daytime sky significantly brighter and whiter
, according to a new study. Using sophisticated models, researchers estimated that a 2-percent
reduction in the sun’s light — which would be approximately enough to offset warming in the case of a doubling of atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide — would have the side-effect of making the sky three to five times brighter. Depending on the size of the sulfate-based aerosol particles, the sky would become whiter during the day and trigger the types of vivid sunsets often seen following large volcanic eruptions. While the sky would still be blue, the researchers say, it would be a lighter shade than most people are used to — and more similar to the sky colors seen over urban areas. “These results give people one more thing to consider before deciding whether we really want to go down that road,” said Ben Kravitz, a researcher at the Carnegie Institution for Science and co-author of the study, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters
Yale Environment 360 is
a publication of the
Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
Yale Environment 360
articles are now available in Spanish and Portuguese on Universia
, the online educational network. Visit the site.
Business & Innovation
Policy & Politics
Pollution & Health
Science & Technology
Antarctica and the Arctic
Central & South America
A three-part series Tainted Harvest
looks at the soil pollution crisis in China, the threat it poses to the food supply, and the complexity of any cleanup. Read the series.
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile
The Warriors of Qiugang
, a Yale Environment 360
video, chronicles a Chinese village’s fight against a polluting chemical plant. It was nominated for a 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.
Watch the video.
Top Image: aerial view of Iceland
. © Google & TerraMetrics.
, winner of the Yale Environment 360 Video Contest, documents the work of African researchers monitoring wildlife in Uganda's remote Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Watch the video.