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Could we control our climate?
Could we control our climate?

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4.1 Real world trials in SRM

Actually, we are already substantially engineering our climate.

Humans have been manipulating the environment for hundreds, if not thousands, of years: constructing and painting buildings with white materials to keep them cooler (Figure 7), planting trees to increase shade and moisture and reduce wind, and so on. These methods act to manipulate local climate and reduce the severity of, for example, the impacts of extreme heat.

This photograph shows white houses on a hillside in Santorini, Greece.
Figure 7 White houses in Santorini, Greece.

Local SRM-type geoengineering continues with modern methods such as very reflective new roofing materials (Figure 8), or the use of paler road surfacing materials in Sydney, Australia (Sharples, 2014).

Figure 8a is a photograph that shows Argus Gentle holding new roofing material in his hand. The material is very bright so it looks like the Sun's light is reflecting from it like a mirror. He holds it in front of a white corrugated roof. Figure 8b is a colour coded infrared image that shows the corrugated roof (figure 8a) coloured orange, and the sample of the new material colour coded black, cooler than the roof behind it.
Figure 8 (a) Argus Gentle holds a new roofing material with an albedo of 0.97, made of polymers and a silver film. (b) An infrared photograph shows the much cooler region of the new material (Gentle and Smith, 2015).