Two German researchers have determined that the climate geoengineering effort to reduce the amount of sunlight reaching the Earth's surface may not stop global warming after all and may have negative effects on the planet's rainfall patterns.
The research team showed how the Earth's water cycle responds differently to heating by sunlight than it does to warming due to a stronger greenhouse effect.
Excerpt from the European Geosciences Union article.........
"These different responses to surface heating are easy to explain," says Axel Kleidon of the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry who uses a pot on the kitchen stove as an analogy. "The temperature in the pot is increased by putting on a lid or by turning up the heat - but these two cases differ by how much energy flows through the pot," he says. A stronger greenhouse effect puts a thicker ‘lid' over the Earth's surface but, if there is no additional sunlight (if we don't turn up the heat on the stove), extra evaporation takes place solely due to the increase in temperature. Turning up the heat by increasing solar radiation, on the other hand, enhances the energy flow through the Earth's surface because of the need to balance the greater energy input with stronger cooling fluxes from the surface. As a result, there is more evaporation and a stronger effect on the water cycle.
When Kleidon and Maik Renner applied their results this particular geoengineering scenario, they found out that simultaneous changes in the water cycle and the atmosphere cannot be compensated for at the same time. Therefore, reflecting sunlight by geoengineering is unlikely to restore the planet's original climate.
This report is published in the journal Earth System Dynamics.
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