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Keywords:

  • aerosol direct effect;
  • aerosol indirect effect;
  • cloud modification;
  • geoengineering;
  • sea spray

Anthropogenic climate warming is leading to consideration of options for geoengineering to offset rising carbon dioxide levels. One potential technique involves injecting artificial sea spray into the atmosphere. The sea salt particles would affect Earth's radiation budget directly, by scattering incoming solar radiation, and indirectly, by acting as cloud condensation nuclei, which could lead to whiter clouds that reflect more radiation. However, the potential effects of this method, especially the direct effects, are not fully known. Partanen et al. studied the effects of artificial sea spray using climate model simulations. They found that outside of the most heavily clouded regions the direct effect of scattering of radiation was an important part of the total effect. They also examined the effect of particle size and found that decreasing the size of injected particles could improve the efficiency of the geoengineering technique.