Impact of solar geoengineering on agriculture

Under this article we will have the experts discussion on Impact of solar geoengineering on agriculture

Solar geoengineering – putting aerosols into the atmosphere to reflect sunlight and mitigating global warming – isn’t a fix-all for climate change, but it could be one of many tools for managing climate risks. A growing body of research has explored the potential of solar geoengineering to mitigate physical climate change. But little is known about how solar geoengineering can affect ecosystems, and especially agriculture.

Now, research from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) has found that solar geoengineering can be surprisingly effective in mitigating some of the worst effects of global warming on crops.

The research is published in collaboration with the Norwegian Research Center and Bergernes Center for Climate Research, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Seoul National University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. nature food.

Solar Energy

“Research on solar geoengineering needs to address whether it is effective in mitigating the human impacts of climate change,” said David Keith, professor of applied physics at SEAS and professor of public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. “Our paper helps fill that gap by using the best crop model yet embedded in a climate model to investigate the potential impact of solar geoengineering on agricultural yield.”

The team looked at three types of solar geoengineering – stratospheric aerosol injection, marine sky brightening, and cirrus cloud thinning – and their impact on global yields of corn, sugarcane, wheat, rice, soy, and cotton in one business. Normal future where emissions continue at their current levels.


In such a future, reducing surface temperatures is the most effective way to protect crops from the worst effects of global climate change. The researchers found that all three potential solar geoengineering methods have a strong cooling effect that would benefit crop yields.

Previous research suggested that even cooler temperatures brought about by stratospheric aerosol injection could lead to less rainfall, resulting in loss of yield for rainfed crops. But these studies did not look at one of the most important ecological factors in crop transpiration and productivity – humidity.

“Lack of relative humidity or vapor pressure has more control over plant water use and crop productivity than precipitation,” said Yuanchao Fan, a Harvard Solar Geoengineering Research Program fellow and first author of the paper. “We found that a cold world under many scenarios, except for cirrus cloud thinning, would have higher relative humidity, which would reduce water stress for rainfed crops. Our model shows that all three solar geoengineering methods result from Changes in rainfall will, in fact, have little effect on crops.”


The researchers compared how agricultural productivity is affected by solar geoengineering and emissions reduction. The researchers found that emissions reductions result in strong cooling and humidity benefits, but they may have less benefits for crop yields than solar geoengineering because of the reduction of CO2 Fertilization reduces the productivity of most crops compared to solar geoengineering which achieves similar temperature reduction. The finding highlights the need to combine emissions reduction with other tools, including increased use of nitrogen fertilizers and changes in land use.

“Climate risks cannot be solved with a single tool, so even if emissions are eliminated tomorrow, the world’s most vulnerable people will still suffer from climate change,” Keith said. “Policy makers need to consider how emissions reductions by global actions such as carbon removal and solar geoengineering can be complemented by specific local adaptations to help farmers mitigate climate impacts on agriculture. could.”

Research co-authored by Jerry Tjiputra, Helen Murry, Danica Lombardozzi, Chang-Ei Park and Shengjun Wu.

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