Crops reflecting sunlight could offset global warming

Planting climate friendly crops could help offset the effects of global warming.

London: Planting `climate friendly` crops that reflect sunlight could help offset the effects of global warming, researchers say.

Crops such as wheat have significantly different levels of reflectivity, or albedo, say scientists.

Selecting crops that reflect sunlight the most could make summers in Europe more than one percent cooler, reports the Telegraph.

The findings were outlined in London Monday at the Royal Society discussion meeting "Geoengineering - Taking Control of our Planet`s Climate."

Joy Singarayer, from the University of Bristol, UK, who led the research said: "Our initial results suggest that simply by choosing to plant specific strains of crops, we could alter the reflectivity of vast tracts of land and significantly reduce regional temperatures."

"The concept of using increased reflectivity to manipulate our climate is, in fact, an ancient one. Humankind has for centuries painted settlements white to reflect sunlight and keep cool," he noted.

"We could now realise the opportunities to do this on a much bigger scale via our agricultural plantations," he added.

The study found that a 20 percent increase in crop albedo could provide Europe with an average summertime cooling of more than one percent.

This was a fifth of the change needed to offset a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels in the next century.