Could dimming the sun help to cool the Earth? Bill Gates wants to spray millions of tonnes of CHALK into the stratosphere to reflect sunlight and slow global warming - but critics fear it could be disastrous
- The project will see a test balloon launch this summer from the town of Kiruna
- It will send 2kg of chalk into the stratosphere 12 miles above the Earth’s surface
- Scientists will then monitor who the dust particles interact with the atmosphere
- This will be fed into computer models to predict how a larger plume would work
- The idea is to ‘block out’ some of the sun’s energy to cool down the Earth
Published: 06:17 EDT, 23 March 2021 | Updated: 14:47 EDT, 23 March 2021
The first test of a project backed to spray millions of tonnes of chalk into the stratosphere, in an attempt to ‘dim the sun’ and cool the Earth, could happen in June.
Harvard University experts will test the system by sending a large balloon 12 miles above the Swedish town of Kiruna and have it drop 2kg of chalk dust into the stratosphere.
The aim of the estimated $3 million mission, backed by billionaire Bill Gates, is to have the chalk deflect a portion of the sun’s radiation, stop it from hitting the surface, and cool the planet.
The idea has been heavily criticised since its inception, with project director Frank Keutsch even calling the need for this scale of geo-engineering ‘terrifying’.
And experts have warned that the unusual technique could be disastrous for weather systems in ways nobody can predict.
Backed by a range of private donors including Gates, the test mission is launching from Sweden as they could offer a launch by the end of this summer.