Scientists' crazy idea.  It can help with climate change

Scientists’ crazy idea. It can help with climate change

Instead of drastically reducing CO emissions2, we can try to get rid of other greenhouse gases. Scientists have a crazy idea that may prove effective in the fight against rapid climate change.

Fighting climate change we most often associate it with reducing carbon dioxide emissions. It is indeed one of the greenhouse gases that, if produced in too large quantities, can have an impact on our planet, but it is not the only one. Water is equally harmful, of course in the form of water vapor, which is also a greenhouse gas. Scientists came up with the idea to get some of it out of the stratosphereto save the climate from drastic changes.

Draining the stratosphere as a cure for climate change?

A scientific paper titled “Considering intentional stratospheric dehydration for climate benefits” has recently appeared in the prestigious journal Science Advances, which includes considerations on the benefits that could be brought by intentional drying of the tropopause and stratosphere regions.

Data for the study were taken from ATTREX mission (Airborne Tropical TRopopause EXperiment) organized by NASA, the aim of which was to measure water vapor concentration in the tropopause areas. Based on this information, scientists began a series of computer simulations analyzing effects of water vapor removal before it reaches the stratosphere, from where it would be much more difficult to implement.

Fig. 1. Schematic of the intentional stratospheric dehydration (ISD) concept to reduce water vapor transport across the tropical tropopause and into the stratosphere. Photo Science Advances

It is worth noting that the idea is not to get rid of all water vapor from the stratosphere, but only to limit its penetration into this layer of the atmosphere. This can be effectively done by locating places where the bursts of water vapor are particularly abundant. One such area is located in the northern part of Australia. The whole process would consist in spreading mineral dust in the higher regions of the upper troposphere. Thanks to this water vapor will crystallizenew clouds will form, and water vapor will return to Earth in condensed form.

The scientists who conducted the study themselves believe that this strategy would not be able to stop climate change on its own, because its impact would be too small. However, they note that it could be a valuable element of a larger portfolio of climate intervention strategies.

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