By: Alexander Paul |

Whether you want to call it chemtrailing or the scientific term Geoengineering, scientists are legitimately weighing the pros and cons of injecting large amounts of aerosols into the earth’s atmosphere to combat what they believe will be a detrimental scenario in the future where rising global temperatures have changed the human condition.

An ongoing study by Simone Tilmes, an atmospheric chemist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, explores the possible side effects of geoengineering and admits the idea is far from perfect.


The ideas of injecting aerosols such as sulfate particles into the stratosphere to shade the Earth, or developing machines such as “man-made trees” that more efficiently ingest CO2 from the atmosphere, have been discussed for decades. The ongoing Tilmes-Richter study doesn’t pick potential winners among the technologies, which remain undeveloped, but explores their likely side effects.

Their studies show that if geoengineering works, it will be imperfect. Some dangers, such as the increasing acidification of the oceans, which threatens seafood industries, and others, like rising global temperatures — which also threaten food supplies — may not be stopped until after 2100, when sufficient CO2 has been removed from the atmosphere.

Meanwhile, aerosols, or tiny particles that can reflect the rays of the sun, and other man-made attempts to drop temperatures will affect the weather — and they might be blamed for helping to cause extreme events or creating imbalances in nature.

One scholarly paper has already examined the risks involved. One example is the possibility of delaying or preventing the monsoon that annually waters Pakistan’s crops. The result could be famine. Another impact could be nuclear war if Pakistan suspects that its traditional enemy, India, had some hand in manipulating the weather.

Geoengineering is defined as the deliberate large-scale manipulation of an environmental process that affects the earth’s climate, in an attempt to counteract the effects of global warming or as it is more commonly called today, climate change.

The most notable form of geoengineering is deflecting the sun’s energy in a process called Solar Radiation Management (SRM). SRM involves the redirection of solar radiation back toward the sun and away from the Earth’s surface by injecting sulfates and other microscopic particles into the atmosphere.

Proponents of Geoengineering turn to mother nature as an example of how combatting climate change through the use of sulfate injections in the atmosphere can be effective. As points out, some point to big volcanic eruptions such as Mount Pinatubo, the Philippine volcano that exploded in June 1991, that put a cubic mile of ash and other debris into the sky.

Pinatubo’s annual emissions after that outburst launched over 10 million tons of sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere, where it circled the Earth and dimmed the sun. It is estimated to have dropped global average temperatures by almost a degree Fahrenheit (0.5 C) between 1991 and 1993.

Scientists like Tilmes and others estimate that it would take at least 1 ½ times that much sulfur each year to effectively cool the Earth by injecting it into the stratosphere on a daily basis. One possibility is launching it by aircraft, but scientists differ on the necessary amounts. Estimates of the number of aircraft flights needed for the 11-mile journey into the stratosphere vary from 6,700 per day to four times that many, depending on which climate models are being used.

According to Tilmes, the strategy of having thousands of planes geoengineering the skys on the daily basis will be very costly but could potentially be worth it in her opinion as some computer models are showing that by 2040 current carbon emissions threaten to drive temperatures “off the rails” to the point at which parts of the Earth will be less able to support large populations.

“When we start too late (to combat climate change), it is likely that only with geoengineering can we stabilize the climate,” Tilmes told eenews

“But it’s a huge risk if we don’t know what we’re doing,” she added, noting that much more research is needed to understand the side effects of using aerosols like sulfur dioxide to dim the sun.

More from eenews:

Some scientists worry that other chemicals caused by human activities to be placed in the stratosphere could complicate matters. They include freon and other gases used as refrigerants or propellants for hair spray that contain chlorine and have produced a reoccurring ozone hole over Antarctica every year. These gases may react with sulfur or other materials injected for solar dimming and possibly delay the recovery of the ozone hole.

The idea of using geoengineering to combat the hotly debated topic of climate change is making headlines more and more as time goes on. It also turns out that openly-admitted geoengineering experiments are becoming more common.

Scientists from Harvard are set to send aerosol injections 20km up into the earth’s stratosphere in the world’s biggest solar geoengineering program to date, reported the Guardian in March. The experiment aims to establish whether the technology can safely simulate the atmospheric cooling effects of a volcanic eruption and will cost $20m

Also, NASA was set to do its own geoengineering experiment in June, but it ended up being canceled.

I mean, what could go wrong? Injecting a ton of tiny particulates of sulfites and … god knows what … into the atmosphere sound super safe, right?

Well, what goes up must come down.

Something you might want to ask yourself: Is it possible that geoengineering experiments are going on in the sky above our heads right at this moment?


Alexander Paul is a contributor for Planet Free Will. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.