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Stratospheric Aerosol Intervention (SAI)

Why is it in the news?

  • Researchers recently investigated the efficacy of stratospheric aerosol intervention (SAI) to mitigate global warming effects in the studied region.

 More about the news

  • SAI, also referred to as Stratospheric Aerosol Injection, is a proposed geoengineering technique designed to counteract the effects of global warming by altering the Earth’s radiative balance.
  • This method involves the deliberate release of large quantities of reflective particles, such as sulphur dioxides, finely powdered salt, or calcium carbonate, into the stratosphere. These particles serve to scatter incoming sunlight, thereby reducing the amount of solar radiation reaching the Earth’s surface.
  • Reflective particles can be dispersed into the stratosphere via various means, including aircraft-based spraying, deployment from artillery guns, or using large hoses to inject particles directly into the atmosphere.
  • The primary objective of SAI is to mimic the cooling effect observed after major volcanic eruptions, where sulphur dioxide (SO2) emitted during eruptions forms sulfate aerosols in the stratosphere, reflecting sunlight and lowering surface temperatures.
  • By increasing the scattering of solar radiation in the stratosphere, SAI aims to decrease the amount of solar energy absorbed by the Earth’s lower atmosphere (troposphere), thereby mitigating the warming effects associated with greenhouse gas emissions.

·       Aerosols are minute solid or liquid particles suspended in the atmosphere or a gas.

·       Aerosols can occur naturally, such as fog or emissions from volcanic eruptions, or they can be anthropogenic, originating from human activities like burning fossil fuels, industrial processes, or agricultural activities.

·       Aerosols play a significant role in the Earth’s water cycle by acting as cloud condensation nuclei (CCN). They attract water vapor in the atmosphere, leading to the condensation of water molecules around the aerosol particles. This process contributes to the formation and growth of clouds, affecting precipitation patterns and regional climate dynamics.


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