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Artificial volcanos and dissolving of carbon dioxide in the oceans?


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Artificial volcanos are proposed as a strategy for short-term mitigation of climate change. Artificial volcanos put aerosols in the atmosphere which alters the atmospheric albedo and causes the atmosphere to cool, at least for the short term. One of the problems with artificial volcanos is that while the temperature is lowered the CO2 still remains there, and that CO2 can still dissolve in the oceans leading to carbonic acid, destroying several species. However, it seems to me that if the temperature is cooled the rate at which CO2 dissolves should also go down. Any opinion on this?

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I’m not sure what sort of artificial volcano you are referring to here. If, by artificial volcano, you mean actually injecting millions of tons of toxic sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere, as Mount Pinatubo did, then that is an absolutely terrible idea. Also, I am very sure nobody is even thinking of injecting huge amounts of any form of carbon into the atmosphere to initiate cooling; not after all the efforts being made to reduce such emissions. In order to form an informed opinion on this, especially with regard to the oceans, I think it would be helpful if you can first describe just what sort of aerosols these artificial volcanos would put into the atmosphere, in order to alter the atmospheric albedo.

We have already been seeding clouds with silver iodide smoke, in hopes of making rain, with only mixed success, and then there are jet airplane contrails, industrial and city smog, and smoke from fields set on fire by the slash-and-burn farmers, which can all be considered as aerosols; but not all of them are considered to be desirable. All of these do have local effects on climate due to cloud creation and blocking of the sun’s rays. But to have a global effect the amount of aerosols released would need to be astronomical. For comparison, Mount Pinatubo ejected roughly some 10 billion tons of material and caused a 0.5 °C drop in global temperature, but the effect only lasted about 2 years. How can we artificially mimic that sort of ejection of particulate into the atmosphere and what sort of aerosol material could we use that would be safe?

For an interesting, but rather long, read on the subject of atmospheric aerosols, see this link. One of the most controversial ideas presented is that air pollution may actually be preventing runaway global warming and if we continue to reduce air pollution while greenhouse gases inexorably accumulated, “few doubted that a dangerous global warming would be unmasked, surging past any possible aerosol cooling effects”

I think this is an idea worthy of study but we first need to understand the risks associated with such purposeful alterations of our planet’s climate system and only proceed with extreme caution, if we proceed at all.

 

 

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9 hours ago, OceanBreeze said:

I’m not sure what sort of artificial volcano you are referring to here. If, by artificial volcano, you mean actually injecting millions of tons of toxic sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere, as Mount Pinatubo did, then that is an absolutely terrible idea. Also, I am very sure nobody is even thinking of injecting huge amounts of any form of carbon into the atmosphere to initiate cooling; not after all the efforts being made to reduce such emissions. In order to form an informed opinion on this, especially with regard to the oceans, I think it would be helpful if you can first describe just what sort of aerosols these artificial volcanos would put into the atmosphere, in order to alter the atmospheric albedo.

We have already been seeding clouds with silver iodide smoke, in hopes of making rain, with only mixed success, and then there are jet airplane contrails, industrial and city smog, and smoke from fields set on fire by the slash-and-burn farmers, which can all be considered as aerosols; but not all of them are considered to be desirable. All of these do have local effects on climate due to cloud creation and blocking of the sun’s rays. But to have a global effect the amount of aerosols released would need to be astronomical. For comparison, Mount Pinatubo ejected roughly some 10 billion tons of material and caused a 0.5 °C drop in global temperature, but the effect only lasted about 2 years. How can we artificially mimic that sort of ejection of particulate into the atmosphere and what sort of aerosol material could we use that would be safe?

For an interesting, but rather long, read on the subject of atmospheric aerosols, see this link. One of the most controversial ideas presented is that air pollution may actually be preventing runaway global warming and if we continue to reduce air pollution while greenhouse gases inexorably accumulated, “few doubted that a dangerous global warming would be unmasked, surging past any possible aerosol cooling effects”

I think this is an idea worthy of study but we first need to understand the risks associated with such purposeful alterations of our planet’s climate system and only proceed with extreme caution, if we proceed at all.

 

 

Yes I mean an artificial volcano that emits sulfates like natural volcanos for solar radiation managment. I'm not sure what aerosol would be best, and I think a lot of people are looking into that. I think with sulfate aerosols one wouldn't produce too much acid rain, but still it would probably be better to use another aerosol if possible. The biggest problems are acid rain and ozone depletion, but other strategies, including the reduction of greenhouse gases have their own problem too including the amount of time and money it will take to change all the infrastructure. A short-term solution that could produce global cooling could make it easier for a lot of economies, particularly struggling economies. 

I think you make a good point about the quantity of aerosol required but again this is a problem that may be possible to solve with a particular engineering solution. I don't know how, and I think artificial volcanos are still being researched. But again, other solutions also have their own problems.

The reason I was bringing up this question though was because I was wondering if lowering the temperature through artificial volcanos could lower the rates of carbon dioxide dissolving in the oceans sufficiently. This may do away with the need for something like carbon capture which could make things more expensive. 

 

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