Antarctica is running out of life. According to recent simulations, potentially dangerous actions like reducing the Sun’s brightness are not sufficient to rescue Antarctica at this time. In spite of the fact that it is in the middle of winter in that location, there is already a worrying lack of ice in the region. This includes a decrease in the sea ice that is responsible for damming West Antarctic glaciers and keeping them in place on land. Geoengineering is frequently portrayed as a technical solution of last resort that can yet swoop in and rescue the day in the midst of the ongoing climate catastrophe. What, in the end, is it that will rescue Antarctica? Is there any hope for it?
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The window of opportunity to limit the global temperature increase to below 2 degrees is closing fast, so it is possible that technical measures to influence the climate will be seriously considered in the future, explained Johannes Sutter, a glaciologist from the University of Bern.
The devastating floods, wildfires, and other tragic and extreme weather phenomena that have afflicted the summer in the Northern Hemisphere have sparked a fresh interest in the possibility of geoengineering. As climate-driven disasters become more severe, the temptation to experiment with remedies that might possibly be harmful will only increase. The melting of West Antarctica could result in meters of sea level rise, and all of that, more fresh water in the sea could add to a breakdown of the ocean’s currents, which are already decreasing. The melting of West Antarctica would also lead to an increase in the temperature of the ocean, which would lead to a rise in temperature.
Although the researchers’ simulation suggested that reducing the amount of sunlight reaching Earth by 2050 by reducing the amount of sulfur dioxide sprayed into the stratosphere would be one approach to postpone the melting of the ice sheets, this strategy would only be effective in conjunction with decarbonization and only in the moderately or low emission scenarios. In the event that sun-blocking management measures were suddenly discontinued, we would run the danger of experiencing termination shock, which is characterized by an even more rapid rise in temperature combined with more severe repercussions.
In addition to this, the one and only scenario that suggested a possibility of preventing the collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet entailed reducing the amount of carbon emissions. So, when is that going to happen?!