According to a 2018 study, any benefits of solar geoengineering would be cancelled by the harm caused to plants by reduced sunlight.

The Conversation: Geoengineering Plans would Need to Accommodate Volcanoes and Nuclear Wars

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

The show must go on; According to academics, Climate Geoengineers would have to stand ready to recalibrate their efforts if a major volcanic eruption or nuclear exchange affects stratospheric dust levels, or if a repeat of the Carrington Event damages their machines.

Trying to cool the Earth by dimming sunlight could be worse than global warming

February 7, 2022 11.46pm AEDT

Luke Kemp
Postdoctoral Research Associate in Existential Risk, University of Cambridge

Aaron Tang
PhD Scholar in Climate Governance, Australian National University

A group of 60 scientists called for a moratorium on solar geoengineering last month, including technologies such as stratospheric aerosol injection (SAI). This involves a fleet of aeroplanes releasing aerosol particles – which reflect sunlight back to outer space – into the atmosphere, cooling down the Earth. 

A cooler Earth means less water would be evaporating from its surfaces into the atmosphere, changing rainfall patterns. This could produce ripple effects across the world’s ecosystems – but the exact nature of these effects depends on how SAI is used. Poor coordination of aerosol release could lead to extreme rainfall in some places and blistering drought in others, further triggering the spread of diseases.

SAI could also make natural catastrophes worse than they currently are. A volcanic eruption, like that of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano in 2010, could naturally cool the Earth as plumes of ash block sunlight from reaching the planet’s surface. If this happened while SAI was deployed, it would have to be urgently adjusted (not an easy feat) to avoid overcooling one hemisphere and producing extreme weather patterns as a result.

Similarly, although nuclear war may seem unlikely, global nuclear capabilities continue to grow, and bad political decision-makers are in no short supply. A “nuclear winter”, during which global temperatures drop for years due to soot clouds from nuclear-triggered fires, could be deepened by SAI.

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I kind of think of geoengineering as gain of function research on the global climate; zero public value, marginally useful in research terms, potentially catastrophic in impact.

I’m pretty sure in the event of a large regional or global catastrophe, people might have other priorities than maintaining funding for a pointless virtue signalling exercise. But its nice to see that scientists are starting to notice some downsides of their plans.

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February 8, 2022 10:10 pm

They just can’t help themselves.
Creating the WuFlu didn’t teach them any lessons?

Bryan A
Reply to  Mr.
February 9, 2022 5:20 am

I wouldn’t even have thrown in the ” Nuclear Exchange” idea. Nuclear Conflict will, most likely, not be limited to a couple of bombs and a couple of bombs will have no climatic effect. All out Nuclear War will be the end of most of us and geoengineering will be unnecessary

February 8, 2022 10:15 pm

So, basically SNOWPIERCER? Those who do not know the past are condemned to repeat it. And those who do not know the MOVIES are condemned to make them real. So, if any billionaire starts building a mile-long train, watch out!

February 8, 2022 10:28 pm

We could lower global air temperature {though could be not enough to notice} AND cause global warming that would eventually get us out of our icehouse climate, also called an Ice Age.
Or we throw lots pollution in the air, and make our Ice Age colder.

Ron Long
Reply to  gbaikie
February 9, 2022 2:02 am

Wait for it? The next glacial cycle of our current Ice Age is coming, as gbaikie notes, and we need max CO2 in the atmosphere to deal with it.

Alan the Brit
Reply to  Ron Long
February 9, 2022 4:54 am

Way back when, there was over 19 times as much CO2 in the atmosphere than there is today, yet Earth was smack bang in the middle of an Ice-Age, thus destroying Manmade globul warming theory in a trice!!!

Ian Magness
February 8, 2022 11:14 pm

I love those shamelessly self-important titles:
Scholar in Climate Governance
Associate in Existential Risk
These people rule over nature!

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Ian Magness
February 9, 2022 3:47 am

I’m afraid I would bust out laughing if someone were to tell me they were a “Scholar in Climate Governance”, or an “Associate in Existential Risk”.

We need a list of all the titles alarmist give themselves. That ought to be good for a very good laugh. I bet they are very creative, like the two above.

Reply to  Ian Magness
February 9, 2022 4:30 am

PhD candidate, PhD scholar, PhD researcher. Get a grip you’re a student you don’t have a title, stop masturbating over your email signature, get some results and write up.

Alan the Brit
Reply to  Ian Magness
February 9, 2022 5:02 am

What precisely is a “Scholar in Climate Governance” when he/she/it is at home, or has he been trying to read Agenda 21 to glean some incite into how a totalitarian global guvment works? As for ruling over nature, I think that is more wishful thinking (or lack thereof) on their part, for me Mother Nature still has a thing or two to teach Humanity, about humility!!!

February 8, 2022 11:27 pm

As I recall, engineers were the ones who designed and built all carbon free nuclear reactors that everyone assumes now they were not qualified to do. The risks of accidents are too great we are told.

So why would adding the term “Geo” to the front of an engineering title change this situation when the task is geoengineering the climate of the earth? Are the risks of accidents suddenly acceptable?

Alan the Brit
Reply to  Doonman
February 9, 2022 5:04 am

I have said it before, they want to pump all kinds of chemicals & substances into the atmosphere, to counteract what Humans have allegedly pumped into the atmosphere, makes sense not!!!

February 8, 2022 11:42 pm

Interesting, they mention war as something to watch out for.

Do some really cool geoengineering which happens to cause widespread crop failures in Russia. Russia takes it as a deliberate attack and retaliates. And we are off to the races.

Various countries around the world have warned of this type of eventuality, how they would view it, and what they might do about it.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  TonyL
February 9, 2022 3:52 am

Good points, TonyL. Unintended consequences may be coming down the track.

Richard Page
Reply to  TonyL
February 9, 2022 5:37 am

That’s not the most scary of the possible scenarios. Some years ago (Obama as president, I think) some eager beaver wrote a paper showing that, in theory, the USA could ‘win’ a nuclear war with Russia by firing a massive, overwhelming first strike and wiping out the Russian capability to strike back. Any individual Russian missiles that did launch could be dealt with by missile defences. The paper was widely circulated and hawks like Hillary Clinton were apparently all in favour of doing it. The flaws were that they ignored or underestimated Russian anti-missile defences, the automated ‘Dead Hand’ missile launch system in Russia and overestimated the American anti-missile defences. The scariest scenario of all would be someone in Washington buying into the idea and actually doing it.

Reply to  Richard Page
February 9, 2022 6:55 am

I remember that. Absolutely insane.
My take is that it would go like this:
1) We attack their nuclear arsenal. Strikes are pinpoint against hardened military assets. They are crippled miltarily.
2) Their response targets our cities and infrastructure for maximum damage. Their submarine force provides them with enough capability to collapse the US ability to sustain it’s population. They use that capability to it’s maximum effect.
Just for fun, Imagine that the Hoover Dam is destroyed. Lake Mead dumps into the Colorado river. Now consider the later effects on the region without the Hoover Dam power station and the Lake Mead water supply.
The scariest scenario of all would be someone in Washington buying into the idea and actually doing it.

How about a senile old fool who does not have a clue as to where he is or what he is doing. He just does whatever his handlers direct.

{Shhh…. Ukraine Shhh… quiet.}

And people here think the Climate Wars are insane.

Reply to  Richard Page
February 9, 2022 9:09 am

That’s the equivalent of killing your next door neighbor to prevent the possibility he might drive on your lawn….

February 8, 2022 11:49 pm

A cazy solution to a crazy non-problem.

Ed Zuiderwijk
February 9, 2022 2:22 am

Research Associate in Existential Risk. You couldn’t make it up. Oh, wait! Climate Governance.

Why are there no comedians who take aim at these clowns?

Richard Page
Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
February 9, 2022 5:45 am

I was interested so had a look at a list of academic job titles – nothing quite so outlandish as above but what the hell does a “Genetic Counsellor” do? And just how in the world can you have a “Scientific Artist?” These people have no adult supervision at all.

Last edited 7 months ago by Richard Page
Reply to  Richard Page
February 9, 2022 5:56 am

As near as I can tell, a Genetic Counsellor’s job is to tell everyone they shouldn’t have kids.

Reply to  MarkW
February 9, 2022 7:02 am

As near as I can tell, they may be on to something there.

February 9, 2022 2:23 am

Given that the last four decades have seen no warming even though CO2 has steadily (linearly) increased over those same four decades, the theory that anthropogenic global warming due to CO2 is happening has been seriously questioned.

In case of nuclear war the climate will be the least of our problems.

In case of a larger-than-Carrington event the loss of civilization will trump “climate change.” The survivors might be few and far between. Instant stone age.

Barring either of the above, nuclear (fission or fusion) energy generation could provide the energy for civilization to continue no matter which way the climate naturally changes.

Civilization requires energy.

Reply to  Old.George
February 9, 2022 3:50 pm

“a larger-than-Carrington event” could be a rather good thing. Sure, there would be massive of entertainment and communication gear but there would also be massive loss of all the infrastructure being built to surveile and control us. Maybe, just maybe, the rebuilding would be forced by reason to leave out much of that stuff.

Joao Martins
February 9, 2022 3:20 am

A “nuclear winter”, during which global temperatures drop for years

So, next step is nuclear bombing the climate to prevent “global warming”?

Or creating a new concept, “gain-of-function of nuclear weapons”, to finance new reseach departments in universities?

Reply to  Joao Martins
February 9, 2022 5:57 am

Even Carl Sagan abandoned the notion of a nuclear winter. Are they really trying to resurrect that fantasy?

Joao Martins
Reply to  MarkW
February 9, 2022 6:10 am

The climate crowd does not even read (does nor even know of?) Carl Sagan…

Peta of Newark
February 9, 2022 3:39 am

They’re behaving like modern medicine does, applying ever more sticky plasters to ‘problems’ without going anywhere near the root cause of the issue.
Sweeping stuff under the carpet – so-to-speak

I do love this video, The Very Last Thing going on here is carpet sweeping.
Fill that thing with volcano dust and The Climate Is Fixed.

Maybe we should take a hint from Ma Nature (sometimes called: Gaia) – maybe clouds of stuff from dust-bowls, volcanoes and forest fires are actually Forces For Good or a real attempt at damage control.
Instead of shooting Sulphur into the sky and inflicting more damage
Oh dear” says the doctor in the emergency room “You have a splinter in your little finger. Wait here a minute## while I amputate your arm, but give me your credit card first”

## In the UK, that ‘minute’ would be some number of years. and counting
And the ‘credit card’ would be your house, all your savings and your kid’s inheritance

Kuxmann-Large Area Fertilizer Spreader.jpg
Last edited 7 months ago by Peta of Newark
Reply to  Peta of Newark
February 9, 2022 3:53 pm

applying ever more sticky plasters is the desired solution. It requires that you keep coming back to buy more.

Bryan A
Reply to  Peta of Newark
February 9, 2022 7:57 pm

I knew they could spread it thick but that’s spreading it efficiently as well

Ulric Lyons
February 9, 2022 4:15 am

Stratospheric solar dimming in the tropics should promote El Nino conditions like large tropical volcanic eruptions do.

George T
February 9, 2022 4:29 am

These people are nuts! Tinkering with nature when we need additional CO2 to green the planet for the good of all. These climate change advocates have too much time on their hands. Nuclear is the bridge in providing clean and economical electricity until better technologies come along, hence fusion.

Richard Page
Reply to  George T
February 9, 2022 5:50 am

Also given their track record on being totally and completely wrong, I have zero confidence in their ability to do anything but make it much worse.

February 9, 2022 4:41 am

The idea of a nuclear winter was debunked 30 years ago after the first Gulf War. When Saddam Hussein set the oil wells on fire, models that had been used to predict a nuclear winter were re-used to predict the effect these fires would have.

They were out by huge factors and the oil well fires did not affect anything more than the local areas. The models were wrong.

Why does it not surprise me that these 60 scientists don’t know this?

February 9, 2022 5:44 am

C’mon man, that’s just BS to make the grants bigger.

Tom Halla
February 9, 2022 6:15 am

As if they understand climate well enough to do engineering, when the models still have a major variable with a three hundred percent range of plausible effects?

February 9, 2022 6:48 am

Words which give me pause. Well, there are a few which fire up my BS detector right away. “Scientists” and “academics” are real close to the top of the list. Those clowns just don’t seem to know when to shut up and leave the control of the climate to mother nature. Man is not in control, nor can we even come close to controlling the natural processes of this planet. Example: volcanos, earthquakes, tornadoes, et al.

alastair gray
February 9, 2022 7:24 am

These idiots could be dangerous and may at some stage need extreme sanctioning when it goes beyond idiot waffle. Gain of function indeed as someone else remarked. These Faustian morons can make as many pacts with the devil as they like but don’t bring my planet into it

February 9, 2022 7:46 am

Luddite claptrap. Tools are tools. You can use a hammer to build a house, to attack your neighbor, or to accidentally hit your fingers.

That doesn’t make the hammer a bad tool.

Geoengineering is a set of tools. There will be productive ways to use them, they will likely have military applications, and there will be ways to accidentally screw things up.

So pick tools and design reasonable work practices.

Reply to  vboring
February 9, 2022 3:56 pm

It isn’t the tools, it is what they propose doing with them.

John in Oz
February 9, 2022 1:52 pm

All prognosticators of doom and those with grand plans to change the world as we know it need to have some skin in the game if/when they are wrong or cause unintended harm.

Their livelihoods are not at risk if their schemes are implimented but fail – make it so they are.

Would their certainty of ideas change if their heads were in the guillotine or their nuts were on the block in preparation for failure?

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