With the help of computer modeling, American scientists have shown how dangerous artificial climate regulation on the Earth can be with the help of geoengineering technologies. The results of the study, published in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution, suggest that such measures will lead to a significant shift in climatic zones, and the consequences of this may be catastrophic for some species of living organisms and reduce biodiversity on the planet.
Scientists have long considered the use of geoengineering technologies, or artificial climate management, as one of the possible measures to combat negative climate changes on the Earth (including global warming, in particular). With this approach, a change in the chemical composition of the atmosphere and the world ocean is suggested first. In addition, the method of solar geoengineering was also considered, which in theory should help to reduce the amount of sunlight delivered to the planet by spraying special aerosol compounds in the atmosphere. The sad truth is that, in addition to positive changes, such measures can have serious negative consequences, not only for the climate, but also for many living creatures on Earth.
To assess the possible risks from the use of solar geoengineering, American climatologists, led by Professor Maryland University Christopher Trisos, simulated possible shifts in climatic regions during the beginning and the final phase of geoengineering procedures.
In order to determine the level of influence of the changes taking place in the zones of maximum biodiversity, scientists measured the change in climatic velocities – the ratio of the rate of change in climatic parameters (mainly temperature and precipitation) over time to the spatial gradient of the same parameter. This indicator shows how quickly and in what direction these or those climatic zones will shift, and helps to predict where and with what speed it will be necessary to migrate to one or another species of marine and terrestrial creatures.
The researchers considered a scenario in which geoengineering processes for atomization in the atmosphere are gradually launched for 10 years (from 2020 to 2030) and with an initial level of 5 taragrams of sulfur dioxide. The process then continues for the next 40 years, and then, over the next 10 years, the dispersion ceases.
Climate velocities (for temperature and precipitation), scientists estimated for the entire surface of the planet, primarily paying attention to those areas in which the greatest biodiversity of species is now observed (such as the tropical oceans or the Amazon basin). The obtained data climatologists compared with the scenario of moderate natural climate development.
The analysis of the data showed that the start-up and continued spraying of aerosols does indeed lead to a decrease in the climatic velocities relative to the current level and the stabilization of the climate, but the cessation of this spraying can lead to a sharp acceleration of the temperature zones. The speed of these changes will be about 10 kilometers per year. And this is almost twice as much as now, and, according to forecasts for the future, under natural scenarios of climate change, without using geoengineering technologies. In addition, the study showed more than twice the rapid displacement of sedimentary zones.
In this case, the oceans in the tropical zones will be the most sensitive to temperature changes, and the maximum displacement speed of the sedimentary zones, according to the results of the simulation, will be observed in the Amazon basin and in Siberia.
This will look like a map of the displacement of climatic zones at the termination of geoengineering procedures (from above: G4 – geoengineering scenario, RCP4,5 – natural scenario). Below is a map of the zones in which, as a result of the cessation of geoengineering, the sedimentary and temperature zones will shift in different directions (with an angle of divergence of more than 90 degrees)
Simulation data showed that when the spraying of aerosols is abruptly discontinued, approximately 30 percent of the land shifts the temperature and sedimentary zones in different directions (differences by more than 90 degrees).
The overall effect of ceasing spraying aerosols will look like this: the shift in climatic zones and the level of divergence between sedimentary and temperature areas will accelerate, which will lead to a significant change in the currently existing ecosystems and, most likely, will cause the mass extinction of a significant number of animal species and plants.
To quantify the impact, the researchers compared the rate of displacement of climatic zones with data on the displacement of habitats of animals as a result of global warming in the recent past. The comparison showed that for most animals they are about 4-7 times less than the possible speed of displacement of climatic zones during a stop.
Scientists emphasize that the results obtained once again confirm the danger of artificial climate change. If humanity still decides to conduct similar procedures, then it must be done with extreme caution, having previously assessed all possible risks. Risks are not only for the climate, but for as such life on Earth.
More early studies have shown that the danger of negative consequences from the use of geoengineering technologies can increase sharply with uneven use. For example, the use of solar geoengineering only in the Southern Hemisphere can lead to a significant increase in the number of tropical cyclones. If geoengineering is applied only in the Northern Hemisphere, it will reduce the number of cyclones, but it will lead to a drought in Africa.