Dr Francis Pope

Dr Francis Pope, lecturer and Birmingham Fellow in atmospheric science in the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, describes his research into the effects of geoengineering, the deliberate cooling of the Earth to overcome the effects of global warming. 

My name is Francis Pope and I’m a lecturer and Birmingham Fellow in atmospheric science.

One area which particularly fascinates me, and terrifies me, is geoengineering.

Geoengineering is the deliberate cooling of the Earth to overcome the effects of global warming – and this approach might be important if we continue to fail in reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.

One geoengineering idea is to try and mimic the effects of volcanic eruptions by deliberately injecting small particles into the atmosphere. These particles reflect sunlight back out to space. Less light in the atmosphere means there will be less energy and hence the Earth’s surface will get cooler.

My research investigates the environmental consequences of putting these particles into the atmosphere.

For example, will these particles affect the ozone layer? Will they affect human health? Will they affect ecosystem health?

To answer these questions I use lab experiments, and atmospheric models, to understand the detailed physics and chemistry of the injected particles.

Before we can risk geoengineering via atmospheric particle injection – we need to know the answers to all of these questions.

Dr Francis Pope's profile