Climate change is getting worse as generations pass. What's more daunting about this, is experts haven't found a solution to reverse its effect to our ozone layer, yet. Therefore groups from different countries propose strategies to decelerate the atmosphere's deterioration. As part of the historical Paris climate agreement, scientists began studying about solar geoengineering, a possible way to heal the Earth's atmosphere.
Researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) says there could be an aerosol that can cool the planet while healing our atmosphere.
say that amount of sulfuric acid in the atmosphere is the leading cause of its depletion. Experts' theories imply that by incorporating alkaline substances in the ozone layer, it may counteract sulfuric acid's effect, eventually slowing down the thinning of the atmosphere, while also providing a cooler climate.
“Anytime you introduce even initially unreactive surfaces into the stratosphere, you get reactions that ultimately result in ozone destruction, as they are coated with sulfuric acid,” said Frank Keutsch, the Stonington Professor of Engineering and Atmospheric Science at SEAS and professor of chemistry and chemical biology, a co-author of the paper, in a post
. “Instead of trying to minimize the reactivity of the aerosol, we wanted a material that is highly reactive but in a way that would avoid ozone destruction.”
The team, through extensive researchers, learned that calcite, a constituent of limestone, can neutralize the acids. Calcite may as well reflect the light from the sun, eventually resulting in cooling of the Earth.
There's still a long way to go for solar geoengineering. Experts see a great potential for the success of the study. However, they also said that stratospheric chemistry is not the solution for climate change.
“Geoengineering is like taking painkillers,” said Keutsch. “When things are really bad, painkillers can help but they don’t address the cause of a disease and they may cause more harm than good. We really don’t know the effects of geoengineering, but that is why we’re doing this research.”