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A balloon the size of Wembley, can this stop global warming?

[ 2011-09-16 13:02]     字号 [] [] []  
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 Floating 12 miles above our heads, this Wembley Stadium-sized helium balloon tethered to a ship may one day help save the planet from global warming.

Floating 12 miles above our heads, this Wembley Stadium-sized helium balloon tethered to a ship may one day help save the planet from global warming.

British scientists are investigating whether an ordinary hosepipe can be used to shoot particles into the atmosphere – like an erupting volcano – and cool down Earth.

A prototype balloon has been built and will be hoisted into the air next month from a disused airfield in Norfolk in a £200,000 experiment.

The idea is that millions of tiny chemical particles will act as a mirror and reflect the Sun’s rays to stop the planet heating up.

Produced by scientists at Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol and Edinburgh Universities, the 660ft-long balloons would be positioned far out to sea if the plan is approved.

They say just ten balloons – pouring ten million tons of material into the stratosphere every year – could achieve a 2c drop in global temperature in two years.

Next month’s test will use a smaller, 62ft balloon, suspended about half a mile above the ground and using a hose to pump out harmless water droplets to see if the technology works.

Details of the £1.6million three-year project, funded by a Government grant, were presented at the British Science Festival at the University of Bradford.

Dr Matt Watson of Bristol University, who is leading the Stratospheric Particle Injection for Climate Engineering project, said: ‘We are doing a feasibility study only to see if it will work, we are not advocating it as a good idea.’

Volcanoes, which pump clouds of sulphate droplets into the sky when they erupt, have been shown to cool the climate.

Environmental groups warn geo-engineering may prevent global efforts to reduce carbon emissions and may affect the ozone layer and rainfall.






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