Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Arable Agriculture

This practical, inexpensive and achievable approach to reducing the amount of sunlight reaching the earth's surface is the recent suggestion of Andy Ridgwell and his colleagues at the University of Bristol in England, who have been researching agriculture as an alternative to building an enormous sunshade infrastructure in space or disseminating sulfate particles into the atmosphere.

Their calculations say that summertime cooling of more than one degree Celsius, about two degrees Fahrenheit, is achievable across central North America and parts of Europe and Asia simply by planting crop varieties with maximum solar reflectivity (albedo), a practice they call Leaf Albedo Bio-geoengineering.

From their findings, published in Current Biology:

Ultimately, genetic modification of plant leaf waxes or canopy structure could achieve greater temperature reductions, although better characterization of existing intraspecies variability is needed first.

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