Since the discovery of fire, science has kept on delivering. From Edison’s broken eggs to Neil’s trip to the Moon and now this.
Bill Gates is funding a project run by the Keutsch Research Group at Harvard University. The project is named: The Controlled Stratospheric Disturbance Experiment (ScoPEx).
So, what is this project? As crazy as I may sound but they are trying to block the Sun. Yes! You did read it right.
Global surface temperature has been measured since 1880 at a network of ground-based and ocean-based sites. Over the last century, the average surface temperature of the Earth has increased by about 1.0o F. Earth’s temperature keeps on increasing gradually with time, that as we all know is Global Warming.
The Harvard plan is to release non-toxic dust into the upper atmosphere to block and reflect some of the sunlight that reaches Earth, producing a cooling effect to tackle Global Warming.
To put it in a nut shell, the project would use a balloon to lift a package of scientific equipment 20 km (12 miles) into the atmosphere, thus keeping it 2 km above the clouds to prevent it from getting mixed with rain. There, the package would release 100 grams to 2 kilograms of calcium carbonate to cover an area of around 1 kilometre by 100 meters in diameter. Equipment in the balloon would then measure changes in the surrounding air, satellite network, atmospheric chemistry and so on. The team believes that when the rays coming from the sun would hit the artificial layer, the rays would be reflected and diverted back. So the heat and light reaching the earth would lessen. Thus, the temperature would come down a few degrees and prevent Global Warming.
The place and time for the historic experiment is already decided. It will take place in the Swedish town of Kirona in June of this year. The Swedish Space Corporation has also agreed to help the Harvard Team.
So, where did this idea come from?
A blast from the past: The 1815 volcanic eruption of Mt. Tambora in Indonesia. Back then the gases released by the eruption surrounded the atmosphere and due to the pressure created a blanket of gases including Calcium Carbonate. It was observed that in the year of 1815-16, the summer season did not come but 206 years later an idea came.
Its supporters say that Global warming will be controlled and we would enjoy the weather like the old times, biodiversity and resources would also be saved and the ozone will not be destroyed further. But on the other hand, Its critics argue that it is a challenge to nature, it would give birth to ruthless and cruel winters like it did in Indonesia, stopping the direct sunlight would also leave many plants being fed to dinosaurs, It would end the life-cycle of many migratory birds and animals and we are also going to need more energy as direct solar energy would almost be gone. Are we prepared for this?
Even if people say it is a war against nature and nature will always be more advanced than science and more powerful than men. Whatever the opinion might be let’s not ditch the idea just yet and wait till June and see what happens in Kirona; till then there is still a fight going on against Corona. Wear a mask after reading this article and finishing your tea.
Mohammad Tazeem is a freelancer.