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Geoengineering Clouds Sounds Scary. And it is

Making clouds is a lot more frightening than it sounds.

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To combat the warming of Earth’s atmosphere, U.S. scientists are considering stratospheric climate geoengineering, or in other words, spraying sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere to form clouds.

Crafted clouds could be the cooling cure to slow planetary warming. They could also create some very serious problems in the atmosphere.

Much of this is speculative science proposed in study published yesterday in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution.

“The idea behind this type of geoengineering would be to create a sulfuric acid cloud in the upper atmosphere,” climatologist Alan Robock told USA Today, “The clouds formed after airplanes spray sulfur dioxide, would reflect solar radiation and thereby cool the planet.”

It seems that because man was largely the cause of our planet’s warming, man should be the solution, as per the manners, “clean up after yourself.” However, this proposed solution may do more harm than good.

Unless airplanes are continuously maintaining the cloud, warming may exacerbate. In the study, the effects of creating clouds for 50 years and then suddenly stopping were alarming: the earth would warm up too quickly, likely causing a huge loss of animal and plant life.

The bottom line seems to be that there must be a way for stratospheric climate geoengineering to be sustained if it is deployed. If not, the damage it causes would be much worse than the positive effects it would create.

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Anjalie Tandon is a senior at the University of California, Santa Barbara where she is double majoring in Political Science and Philosophy. Anjalie has written for various campus, city, county, and national media outlets. She loves words because they compose and dictate the entirety of our reality and she writes with the hope of using words to get closer to truth.

Catilyn is a student at St. Bonaventure University in New York. She's a writer and Digital Producer for CMN.

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