Aims and Background

SPICE (Stratospheric Particle Injection for Climate Engineering) is an EPSRC, NERC & STFC co-funded 3½ year collaboration between the University of Bristol, the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford and the University of Edinburgh which began in October 2010.

The SPICE project is investigating the effectiveness of Solar Radiation Management (SRM). SRM involves offsetting the effects of greenhouse gas increases by causing the Earth to reflect back more radiation from the Sun.


SPICE is inspired by volcanic eruptions which emit sulphate particles into the stratosphere, temporarily lowering globally-averaged surface temperatures. However, there are concerns about mimicking this natural process. There could be substantial regional impacts on:

  • Temperatures
  • Rainfall
  • Other aspects of climate

There are also uncertainties concerning timescales e.g.

  • How rapidly injection might act
  • How quickly it could be 'turned off'
  • Whether climate responds differently to continued injection as opposed to large, sporadic volcanic eruptions

The SPICE project has three parts:

1 Evaluating Candidate Particles

Aiming to understand the ways light and heat radiation interact with aerosol particles

Working package 1
Next step
2 Delivery Systems

Hoping to discover how best to deliver particles into the stratosphere

Working package 2
Next step
3 Climate and Environmental Modelling

Determining what could happen if we were to use the chosen particles and delivery system

Working package 3

The output of this project will inform descision-makers and stakeholders about the feasibility of this technique and any environmental or social impacts it might have.