Posted on | december 21, 2011 | No Comments
Ozone Layer Geoengineering (or OLG for short) can be defined as an experiment that replaces lost ozone molecules at depleted parts of stratospheric ozone layer by injecting oxygen gas using aircrafts. Injected oxygen joins naturally existing ones in similar reaction to become ozone; this reaction is responsible to protect the earth from penetration of harmful Ultra Violet (UV) radiations.
The stratosphere is a layer of the earth’s upper atmosphere around 9 – 21 miles above sea level, it houses the ozone layer responsible to protect man and the environment from harmful UV rays. A large depleted part of the ozone layer mostly observed over Antarctica is known as the ozone hole.
Ozone Layer Geoengineering is a developing research work and has the chunk of potency required to save the ozone layer from depletion ̶ if we artificially need to. OLG is very simple, very achievable, largely sustainable and less risky. Aircraft to convey the oxygen tank will be unmanned, oxygen will be systematically discharged to avoid Ozone Depleting Substances (ODSs) from eating it up on becoming ozone and the procedure will not result in excesses at the ozone layer because lost molecules are ‘replaced’.
Geoengineering or purposeful altering of the earth climate system is sought as band aid for excesses of global warming to prevent or reduce their effects; its major types are Carbon Dioxide Removal, CDR and Solar Radiation Management, SRM. Weather modification procedures and Ozone Layer Geoengineering are closely aligning with geoengineering for now.
CDR is seen as the surest aspect of geoengineering since carbon is captured from entering the atmosphere and sunk deep by storing at sea depths or geological formations. There have been several experiments, some are ongoing and will be continuously deployed this decade and beyond.
SRM is controversial since most of its major experiment is space based and has the potential to degenerate to some unforeseen challenges when deployed. Aerosol-injecting SRM, roof whitening and cloud seeding may however not be ripe for deployment until early next decade if the hope placed on enacting a binding deal to curb greenhouse emissions for all nations fail.
Ozone Layer Geoengineering use within this decade has a minute chance but looks like something that might be needed within the first half of this century. Geoengineering many admit is risky but risks lie someway with every option to manage and sustain the earth climate system. Geoengineering is an option not solution to the earth’s climate problems; on deployment it will go within a safe range.
The points below present five reasons Ozone Layer Geoengineering is a valid solution to the problem of ozone depletion in most parts of the earth’s atmosphere over any region:
- Ozone Layer Geoengineering is coming because of the shifts observed in ozone depletion perennially in Antarctica and in Arctic of late. These shifts as a major depletion may also come over a region with human inhabitants. The OLG will help to replace lost ozone molecules by providing oxygen needed to become ozone in the ozone layer.
- OLG submits that oxygen is discharged to the ozone hole. Oxygen is a major component of reactions in the ozone layer; it is part of a process that forms ozone molecules. An artificial input of oxygen will have it join that process and become ozone that protects. Injecting ozone is not possible as technical difficulties exist with it, and may not protect since it is not from that process or may be eaten up by ODSs.
- OLG involves oxygen that will be carried as liquid from planet earth and discharged as gas in the stratosphere. More volume of the same mass of oxygen can be carried as liquid than as gas, this presents a comparative advantage and also similar to the use of oxygen in rocket engines. The tank will have a vaporization chamber where the liquid oxygen will vaporize and pass through a hull to the outside.
- Aircrafts will respectively convey an oxygen tank to the stratosphere. An airship or an unmanned aircraft will do. These fly-objects have been used previously for related objective and have the potential to be used for the OLG experiment desirably and will return safely.
- The OLG research is not urgent for execution but review is necessary to correct all of its section to prepare it for future use. The research is also not risky as replacement to lost gas molecules is sought. Ethical and political fears for this research is less since there will be a governance initiative for the research to oversee use over regions. Tests and models for it can come in Arctic and Antarctica.
Ozone Layer Geoengineering research is one that holds much opportunity for man to see ozone layer depletion as less of a threat. Some geoengineering solutions depend on the ozone layer and ozone layer recovery also depends on greenhouse emissions.
Tomorrow is here and today is an opportunity, as knowledge magnifies the OLG procedure closely, ways to flagellate it towards solutions should be sought to prepare us and get us ready for the unseen.
AUTHOR: David Stephen
E-MAIL: Stephen [at] trpns.com