Research has cast new doubt on the wisdom of using Sun-blocking sulphate particles to cool the planet.
Sulphate injections are one of several “geo-engineering” solutions to climate change being discussed by scientists. But data published in Science journal suggests the strategy would lead to drastic thinning of the ozone layer.
This would delay the recovery of the Antarctic ozone hole by decades, and cause significant ozone loss over the Arctic, say US researchers.
The idea of pumping sulphur into the upper atmosphere to counteract global warming comes from volcanic eruptions that emit vast quantities of sulphur particles that can cool the planet significantly.
But one potential drawback is that sulphates provide a surface on which chlorine gases in polar clouds can become activated, causing chemical reactions that lead to the destruction of ozone molecules.
Dr Simone Tilmes of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCar) in Boulder, Colorado, said “Politicians have to decide what is most important – if you have climate change you might have catastrophic conditions – they might decide to do this anyway.
Cool the climate, fry your skin….