Along with the ongoing deadly pandemic, climate change continues to be a relevant issue. 2020 was the hottest year on record, breaking the previous 2016 record. According to scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), the year’s globally averaged temperature was 1.84 degrees Fahrenheit (1.02 degrees Celsius) warmer than the 1951-1980 mean. The national academy has called for a government research program to look further into the solar geoengineering field. As the situation with climate change is getting worse, the United States was encouraged to invest in sun-dimming studies. Let’s find out more about sun-dimming and what it could mean for our future.
Sun-dimming experiments are tests which seek to find methods to regulate the Earth’s temperature. As stated in nature.com, it makes a note that researchers plan to spray sunlight-reflecting particles into the stratosphere, which can help in reducing the temperature of the planet. According to a report released by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM), “The US government should launch a federal research program to explore whether it’s feasible — or even wise — to artificially cool Earth by altering clouds or injecting particles into the atmosphere to reflect sunlight.” It was suggested in a report that was published on March 25, that the US government should invest between $100 million to $200 million over five years in solar geo-engineering research; which includes modeling and possible field experiments, like the determination of how aerosol particles injected into Earth’s stratosphere could potentially react.
Here at MAST, according to a survey taken by some of our students, most did not hear about this sun-dimming experiment. The majority feel neutral on whether or not this experiment will be helpful with the reduction of the climate temperature. A few suggestions made by our students include: reducing fossil fuels, changes in lifestyle (wasting less food, recycle, use of of solar panels), and using local transportation.
In this program research, it should help advance basic environmental science, as well as address the ethics, governance and public viewpoints of solar geo-engineering. The report also recommends the creation of a branch that will oversee and monitor the research. If this important study gets approved and nations come together to advance its progress, it will definitely bring a change in the climate crisis of our planet.