Attempts to manipulate climate to counteract current trends of global warming could cause more problems than they solve, a study of weather data suggests.
Major volcanic eruptions spew large amounts of tiny particles, or aerosols, high into the atmosphere, where they scatter light back to space and significantly cool Earth for months to years (SN: 2/18/06, p. 110). Some researchers have proposed deliberately lofting tons of tiny particles into the stratosphere to achieve the same effect. That's probably not a good idea, says Kevin E. Trenberth, a climatologist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo.
Trenberth's team studied data gathered by weather stations and river gauges worldwide from 1950 to 2004. For the 16 months following the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines—an event that temporarily cooled Earth as much as 0.3°C—daily precipitation over landmasses worldwide dro