SCoPEx is a scientific experiment to advance understanding of stratospheric aerosols that could be relevant to solar geoengineering. It aims to reduce the uncertainty around specific science questions by making quantitative measurements of some of the aerosol microphysics and atmospheric chemistry required for estimating the risks and benefits of solar geoengineering in large atmospheric models. SCoPEx will address questions about how particles interact with one another, with the background stratospheric air, and with solar and infrared radiation. Improved understanding of these processes will help answer applied questions such as, is it possible to find aerosols that can reduce or eliminate ozone loss or stratospheric heating, without increasing other physical risks?
In order to pursue these questions, a propelled balloon platform is proposed that is capable of injecting a small amount of aerosol (<1kg) at about 20km altitude preparing a plume with kilometer lengthscale and diameter of a few hundred meters. The propelled balloon will then be flown back through the plume to measure the temporal evolution of the perturbation resulting from the plume and study how the aerosol in the plume is developing.
Learn more via Frank Keutsch's SCoPEx FAQ.