An illustration of a military jet spraying particles. Depositphotos.

Scientists Want to Spray Sulfur Dioxide Into the Air to Refreeze Earth’s Poles

Scientists have proposed using military jets to spray Sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere, in an attempt to help refreeze Earth's poles.

Arctic temperatures are rising four times faster than the rest of the world and in some areas as much as seven times faster than the rest of the world. That’s the conclusion reached by a group of Norwegian scientists in this study. As a result of this phenomenon, referred to as “Arctic amplification,” the region is warming at an even higher rate than previously believed.

Other parts of the world can be affected adversely by changes in the Arctic. Melting glaciers on Greenland may raise sea levels, while changing ocean currents may impact weather patterns elsewhere on the planet.

And to counter the effects of climate change, scientists have come up with a rather crazy idea.

Researchers are proposing to refreeze the North and South Poles and lower global temperatures, to do this, they have proposed a rather controversial and somewhat contradictory plan. Air-to-air refueling tankers deployed at an altitude of 43,000ft (13km) and a latitude of 60 degrees would release microscopic Sulphur dioxide particles, shading the surface of the Earth. Micro-aerosol particles could be sprayed into the atmosphere by high-flying jets to reflect sunlight and cool melting ice caps. Millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide would be released in the form of 175,000 flights each year, according to a recent study led by Yale University researcher Wake Smith.

The jets themselves would release enormous amounts of carbon dioxide high into the atmosphere, as we just discussed. However, Smith maintains that it would still be worth it despite the harmful emissions. He told Sky News that it was aspirin and not penicillin. “It isn’t a substitute for decarbonization.” As a result, the polar regions would be shielded from the heat of the Sun by these particles. The polar regions could be cooled by 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit by releasing 13 tons of particles at the right time of year, according to Smith’s study.

There has been strong opposition to solar geoengineering, with experts arguing that high-altitude plane emissions of carbon dioxide are a terrible idea. Agricultural systems could also be negatively affected by solar shading, according to Sky News. Researchers at Harvard suggested testing a similar idea last year using weather balloons over northern Sweden in order to gather preliminary data. It was a controversial experiment, even at this early stage, and local adversary groups forced their abandonment.

However, Smith argued that the polar regions are extremely sparsely populated, in contrast to Sweden. Sky News quoted Smith as saying, “If risk-benefit analysis could be proven anywhere, it would be at the poles.” A global thermostat change could be of interest to all humanity, the scientists expressed.


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Written by Ivan Petricevic

I've been writing passionately about ancient civilizations, history, alien life, and various other subjects for more than eight years. You may have seen me appear on Discovery Channel's What On Earth series, History Channel's Ancient Aliens, and Gaia's Ancient Civilizations among others.

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