Study shows Cloud engineering as a painkiller, not a solution against global warming

Amid increased interest in cloud engineering, a new study revealed that marine cloud engineering can effectively cool the climate but can only serve as a “painkiller”, not a complete solution. The method primarily increases cloud cover and accounts for a significant cooling effect.

Researchers at the University of Birmingham in the UK explained that marine cloud brightening (MCB) can be more effective as a climate intervention than previously thought. However, lead author Ying Chen emphasized that MCB does not address the root causes of global warming from human-produced greenhouse gases.

Using aerosol injection from the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii, researchers conducted a natural experiment to study the interactions between aerosols, clouds, and climate. Through machine learning and historical data, they created a predictor to analyze cloud behavior during volcanic inactivity.

The study, published in Nature Geoscience, showed that cloud cover increased by up to 50% during volcanic activity, resulting in a cooling effect of up to -10 watts per square metre regionally. The findings highlight the potential of marine cloud engineering as a climate intervention but emphasize the need for further research and efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


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