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Hazards of Geoengineering

Introducing large amounts of sulphates into the atmosphere at an altitude of 10–25 km could, according to Nobel laureate Paul Crutzen, slow down global warming. Scientists from IEK-7 and American colleagues have cautioned against the effects of such “climate engineering”, because the sulphates would seriously damage the ozone layer at the poles, which protects against UV radiation. These results were published in Science [1]. Sulphate particles chemically change stratospheric chlorine in such a way that ozone is rapidly depleted. This could destroy between a third and half of the ozone layer above the Arctic. The approach would be especially hazardous if, after the artificial injection of sulphur, a major natural volcanic eruption were to take place. In such a case, an even greater, extremely serious depletion of ozone in the stratosphere is likely to occur.


  1. Tilmes, S., Müller, R.; Salawitch, R.: The Sensitivity of Polar Ozone Depletion to Proposed Geoengineering Schemes, SCIENCE, 320, 1201 – 1204, 2008.