Taking coral saving geo-engineering with a pinch of salt
by Poppy Gaunt
What's Going On Here?
Australia has announced plans to fire salt into clouds in an attempt to protect the Great Barrier Reef from coral bleaching.
Geoengineers (scientists who manipulate the earth’s climate system) hope to use sea-salt crystals to brighten the clouds above the reef, which would make them better at reflecting the sun’s rays away from earth and cooling sea temperatures.
What Does This Mean?
It may sound like a plot from a science-fiction film, but this is a genuine strategy that’s being trialled to cool sea temperatures and counter the effects of climate change and help prevent coral bleaching.
Critics also warn that schemes like the reflective salt clouds are the equivalent of sticking a band-aid on a bullet hole (any Taylor Swift fans in the house?) - they don’t address the underlying causes of the problem. Rising global ocean temperatures.
Why Should We Care?
Following two years of mass coral bleaching, where rising sea temperatures killed around 30% of coral in the Great Barrier Reef, our underwater ecosystems are under threat like never before in human history.
Salty clouds may not be a permanent solution to the problem of coral bleaching, but if successful they could help to buy time.
It may seem like a problem that we have little control over as individuals, but there are lots of things you can do to help protect coral reefs.
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