Scientists will create an artificial volcano that they hope will be capable of cooling down the Earth by pumping sulphate particles into the atmosphere.
The experiment will take place at a former airfield in Norfolk, England. The mission of the experiment is to test whether the geo-engineering technique is useful to control climate change.
For the $2.5 million project, called Stratospheric Particle Injection for Climate Engineering, scientists are preparing a giant balloon that will be filled with helium.
Hosepipes are attached to the balloons. Ordinary pressure pumps will be used to spray water and once water evaporates or falls on the ground as light rain, scientists will take the measurements. On the basis of this measurement, they will decide whether to go ahead with the idea of injecting particles into the stratosphere (20 km and above).
SPICE is the first UK project aimed at providing some much-needed, evidence-based, knowledge about geo-engineering technologies, says project leader Dr Matt Watson from Bristol University.
Although the project has drawn strong criticism, we hope that by carrying out this research, we will start to shed light on some of the uncertainties surrounding this controversial subject, and encourage mature and wide-ranging debate that will help inform any future research and decision-making, said Watson.
This is one of the first times that people have taken geo-engineering out of the lab and into the field, added Watson during a press conference in London.
The project is already under way and will be launched in October.
To avoid hazardous climate change, some scientists have estimated that global CO2 emissions will have to be reduced by a minimum of 80 percent by the end of the century. Though geo-engineering will not help attain such long-term objective, the cooling effects of large sulfate clouds are almost immediate, making geo-engineering possibly precious in the occurrence of acute climate emergency like the melting of Arctic sea ice.
At the same, scientists have made it clear in the press conference that they do not advocate the use of geo-engineering as an excuse for humanity to irresponsibly release carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.