Since reducing greenhouse gas emissions will not be enough to counter the effect of global warming, researchers at Harvard have been looking at a way to geoengineer a solution by injecting ozone-repairing light-reflecting aerosols in the stratosphere.
In order to keep aerosols from harming the ozone, the particles would need to neutralize sulfuric, nitric, and hydrochloric acid on their surface. To find such a particle, Keutsch turned to his handy periodic table. After eliminating the toxic elements, the finicky and rare metals, the team was left with the alkali and alkaline Earth metals, which included sodium and calcium carbonate.
“Essentially, we ended up with an antacid for the stratosphere,” said Keutsch.
Through extensive modeling of stratospheric chemistry, the team found that calcite, a constituent of limestone, could counter ozone loss by neutralizing emissions-borne acids in the atmosphere, while also reflecting light and cooling the planet.
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