Fighting sea rise with mirrors and mock volcanoes

To fight sea level rise it might take pumping suphur dioxide emissions into the atmosphere equivalent to 1991's Mount Pinatubo eruption (shown here) every 18 months. Credit: USGS/Cascades Volcano Observatory

To fight sea level rise it might take pumping suphur dioxide emissions into the atmosphere equivalent to 1991's Mount Pinatubo eruption (shown here) every 18 months. Credit: USGS/Cascades Volcano Observatory

If CO2 emissions can’t be cut, simulating volcanoes could help the 150 million people across the world threatened by rising sea levels, scientists said this week. But the UK, Denmark and China-based researchers who reach these conclusions also warn such ‘geo-engineering’ measures could be dangerous in other ways. “Substituting geo-engineering for greenhouse gas emission control would be to burden future generations with enormous risk,” said Svetlana Jevrejeva of the UK’s National Oceanography Centre.

150 million people worldwide are thought to live within 1 metre of high tide, Jevrejeva’s team notes. In 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimated that by 2100 the sea level would rise by 0.18–0.59 metres. However, since then several researchers have suggested a rise of 1-1.5 metres would be more likely. Read the rest of this entry »

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