Early on in my readings of global climate change I remember reading books and article by John Lovelock. A basic them was the desirability of preserving natural mechanisms of the planet's ecological system. He feared a day when those natural mechanisms that currently provide stability break down, and we are left with increasingly desperate solutions to the problems of our day. One of those desperate solutions would be that of geoengineering. As the article below makes clear, that could be highly problematic. There are likely to be many unintended consequences. there is also the issue that some forms of geoengineering might benefit one area of the planet, only to aggravate problems in another region. In the event that discussion of such solutions continues to grow, I though it prudent to start a thread specifically dedicated to this issue as opposed to burying this article in a more general climate news and discussion type of thread.
Success of this thread will depend upon interest expressed and contributions by others, as I don't expect to be citing a large number of articles on this topic in a comparatively short amount of time.
Below, I have included extracts of the linked article. I would really recommend reading the entire article as the topic is complex enough that it does not lend itself to brief summary. The article itself is not all that long and does a good job of being both concise and salient.
SO YOU WANT TO GEOENGINEER THE PLANET? BEWARE THE HURRICANES
(Wired) Scientists could release materials into the stratosphere that reflect sunlight back into space, kind of like slapping giant sunglasses on Earth. You could theoretically do this with giant space mirrors, but that would require a mountain of R&D and money and materials. More likely, scientists might be able to steal a strategy from Earth itself. When volcanoes erupt, they spew sulfur high in the sky, where the gas turns into an aerosol that blocks sunlight. If scientists added sulfur to the stratosphere manually, that could reflect light away from Earth and help humanity reach its climate goals.
It's not that simple, though: The massive Tambora eruption of 1815 cooled the Earth so much that Europe suffered the “year without summer,” leading to extreme food shortages. And in a study published today in the journal Nature, researchers examine a bunch of other ways a blast of sulfur could do more harm than good.
Specifically, the group looked at how sulfur seeding could impact storms in the North Atlantic. They built models showing what would happen if they were to inject sulfur dioxide into the lower stratosphere above either the Northern or Southern Hemisphere, at a rate of 5 million metric tons per year. Sulfur dioxide gas (SO2) is not itself reflective, but up there it reacts with water, picking up oxygen molecules to become sulfate aerosol (SO4)—now that's reflective. Block out some of the sun, and you block out some of the solar energy.
Now, the Earth's hemispheres aren't just divided by a thick line on your globe; they're actually well-divided by what is essentially a giant updraft. That tends to keep materials like, say, sulfate aerosol, stuck in a given hemisphere. “It goes up and it goes more to the one side where you injected it,” says Simone Tilmes, who studies geoengineering at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and was not involved in the study.
This wall of wind gives you some measure of control. If you were to inject SO2 into the Northern Hemisphere, the models show, you would reduce storm activity in the North Atlantic—probably because the injection would put the tropical jet stream on a collision course with the Atlantic hurricane main development region.