Humanity’s emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants are contributing strongly to global warming and harmful conditions for humans and ecosystems. These alterations to the atmosphere on a global scale are one reason why we have entered the Anthropocene – a new geological epoch in which human activities will leave a discernible footprint on the planet for millennia.
The Sustainable Interactions with the Atmosphere (SIWA) cluster, under the direction of Prof. Dr. Mark Lawrence, is investigating ways of reducing humans’ unintentional negative influences on the atmosphere. One major focus is on the potential for rapid returns by controlling short-lived climate-forcing pollutants (SLCPs). SIWA also examines the proposed, large-scale intentional intervention in the climate system – known as “climate engineering” or “geoengineering” – and its impacts, uncertainties and risks. Focusing on the atmosphere conceptually bridges the topic of energy and its implications for emissions (E3), and the impacts on and responses of society (GCS).
The two research areas are: