Climate engineering by mimicking natural dust climate control: the iron salt aerosol method
Abstract. Power stations, ships and air traffic are among the most potent greenhouse gas emitters and are primarily responsible for global warming. Iron salt aerosols (ISAs), composed partly of iron and chloride, exert a cooling effect on climate in several ways. This article aims firstly to examine all direct and indirect natural climate cooling mechanisms driven by ISA tropospheric aerosol particles, showing their cooperation and interaction within the different environmental compartments. Secondly, it looks at a proposal to enhance the cooling effects of ISA in order to reach the optimistic target of the Paris climate agreement to limit the global temperature increase between 1.5 and 2 °C.
Mineral dust played an important role during the glacial periods; by using mineral dust as a natural analogue tool and by mimicking the same method used in nature, the proposed ISA method might be able to reduce and stop climate warming. The first estimations made in this article show that by doubling the current natural iron emissions by ISA into the troposphere, i.e., by about 0.3 Tg Fe yr−1, artificial ISA would enable the prevention or even reversal of global warming. The ISA method proposed integrates technical and economically feasible tools.