CLIMATE CHANGE: GEO-ENGINEERING A COOLER EARTH?

This Dec. 1968 image taken during the Apollo VIII mission and released by NASA shows the planet Earth.(Photo: AP)

"Every hour the sun beams onto Earth more than enough energy to satisfy global energy needs for an entire year," said James Fenton, director of the Florida Solar Energy Center. That's the equivalent of more than 8 million Hiroshima atomic bombs...

Rising seas that clobber coastal homes. Island nations going under. More extreme drought, storms and emerging diseases.

All are predicted symptoms of a warmer world. Scientists expect a jump in average global temperatures from 2° to 11.5° Fahrenheit by the year 2100.

Could technology provide some hope?

Solar energy and electric cars will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Scientists also are exploring bold ideas about how to geo-engineer a cooler world.

Ideas include fertilizing the ocean surface with iron to grow more plankton that would take up carbon dioxide from the air or launching a Greenland-sized mirror or billions of small mirrors into space to reflect sunlight. Steerable mirrors in orbit could lower Earth's temperature by a few degrees.

Other methods include artificial trees that absorb CO2 from the air and store it underground; spreading particles in the atmosphere to reflect sunlight; or planting reflective crops.

But innovators and governments will have to weigh the risks of unintended consequences. Not to mention other drawbacks such as huge costs and large land requirements.

, FLORIDA TODAY 7:44 p.m. EDT June 30, 2016

Contact Waymer at 321-242-3663 or jwaymer@floridatoday.com. Follow him on Twitter @JWayEnviro

source: http://www.floridatoday.com/

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David Pike, Editor