Geoengineering Efforts Against Climate Change Could Turn The Sky White

Regardless of whether or not geoengineering actually does anything positive about climate change, it'll probably have some unintended consequences. Take, for example, this theory that geoengineering will bleach the sky.

Scientists have proposed injecting huge amounts of sulfate aerosols into the sky as a way of reducing the effects of climate change. These scientists also believe the particles could reflect away more sunlight, reducing direct sunlight that reaches the earth by 20 per cent. New Scientist writes:

The blue colour of the clear sky comes from light being scattering by molecules in the air. The scattering is much stronger for short blue wavelengths than for longer red wavelengths. Aerosol particles are much larger than molecules in the air, however, and they scatter red light more strongly, which washes out the blue light scattered by smaller molecules and makes the sky brighter and whiter.

Wow. So in an effort to save our blue planet, we may inadvertently turn it white. [New Scientist]

Image: thebezz/Shutterstock

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    But we do know it was us that scorched the sky...

      Damn, beat me to it!

        ahahaha yep, first thought.

    I suspect that turning the sky white is entirely the point of sulfate aerosol usage - increasing the planet's albedo means absorbing less solar radiation, which slows the greenhouse effect irrespective of the amount of CO2 we will continue to spew into the atmosphere. This is the sort of thing we'll have to do if we don't want to stop polluting so much - it's a rather drastic step, seems much less painful to just curb our emissions. But look how much progress we're making on THAT front...

    Question: Is the blue of the sea related to the blue of the sky? It's the oceans that make us a blue planet.

      I believe the water molecule is naturally blue hued but in some cases the very blueness of water can be related to the reflection of the sky, just not usually.

    How could they possibly know the long term effects of dramatically polluting the upper atmosphere in the way they are proposing. Will 20% less light mean:
    - that some plants will die out
    - it will kick off an ice age
    - more bacteria in the air
    - some other bad unintended repercussion.

    The cause is the burning of fossil fuels and the ravaging of the Earth's forests. A safe attempt at a cure is to burn much less fuel and to reforest the planet.

      Yeah we know what we can do that's potentially hard but the right thing. Nope lets do something radical that's easy but has wildly unknown consequences. Yep.

      That's a huge light reduction and may kill us off :(

    I wonder how this will affect solar pannels currently being installed?

    One day, when hyper advanced aliens fly through our solar system they'll be fascinated with this little white orb and wonder how we managed to totally F up our planet & wipe ourselves out...

    Right, because chucking more stuff in to clean up the previous stuff we chucked in has worked SO well for us in the past... history repeating, lessons never learned.

    God damn a white sky would make life depressing.

    Now we just need to work out how to dye smog blue and our Utopia will be set.

    They use the way that will bring more profits to them. Do I really need to say chemtrails guys? Or shall we live off in our own world and forget the bigger picture?

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