Scientists Plan To Refreeze the Poles by Spraying Sulfur Dioxide into the Atmosphere

By: | September 23rd, 2022

Photo by Unsplash

Climate change is causing polar ice to melt in both Antarctica and the Arctic Circle. These glaciers act like a protective cover over the Earth and our oceans, reflecting excess heat into space to keep our planet cool. Melting of polar ice will result in raising sea levels.

Moreover, the fast glacial melt will also influence ocean currents

Now scientists have suggested a controversial plan to refreeze the Arctic and Antarctic. According to scientists, high-flying jets can be used to spray microscopic aerosol particles in the upper layers of the atmosphere. Scientists foresee that this would reflect the sunlight and will cool and refreeze melting ice sheets. 

What are their plans?

This plan called stratospheric aerosol injection (SAI) would target only subpolar regions. According to their plan, the release of 13 tonnes of particles in summer and spring would cool the Earth’s poles by 2 degrees Celsius.

But the plan proposed by the scientists is very controversial!

For releasing a microscopic cloud of sulfur dioxide, about 125 military jets with air-to-air fuelling tankers would be required. Moreover roughly 175,000 flights a year would be needed.

This task will result in emitting millions of tons of carbon dioxide. As a result, there will be a push of greenhouse gases into the upper atmosphere. Consequently, this plan can do more damage.

Some scientists fear that creating a cover to reflect sunlight can result in some unwanted consequences like reducing the yield of agricultural products.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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