Read More: New Scientist
Time for artificial planet coolers? A cooling “sunshade” for the planet could reduce harmful coral bleaching and the number of hurricanes, which damage reefs. With the effects of climate change becoming increasingly apparent, the idea of squirting a cloud of sulphate aerosols into the upper atmosphere is being investigated by several groups of scientists. This would scatter some of the sun’s rays back into space, reducing the rate at which the Earth is warming. Now a study by James Crabbe at the University of Bedfordshire, UK, and his colleagues examines what this form of geoengineering would do to the Caribbean region and its fragile reefs. “Corals are the rainforests of the sea, and if you lose them the impacts on ecosystems and people would be complex and far-reaching,” says Crabbe. The team used computer models to simulate both the changing climate and rising seas between 2020 and 2069. They then modelled what would happen if solar radiation was artificially reduced. “We show very convincingly that, by injecting sulphur dioxide in the atmosphere, sea surface temperatures would decrease significantly by 2069,” says Crabbe.