The scheme will assess the feasibility of so-called solar radiation management (SRM) by mimicking volcanoes when they erupt. Eruptions can both warm and cool the Earth’s climateFix, depending on how sunlight interacts with volcanic material.

SRM works on the assumption that some eruptions expel particles into the upper atmosphere, bouncing some of the sun’s energy back into space and thereby cooling the earth.

“In 1991, a large eruption at Mount Pinatubo injected around 18 million tons of SO2 (sulphur oxide) to a 30-km altitude,” project leader Matt Watson told reporters.

“That had the effect of cooling the global climate by around half a degree over two years.”