Geoengineering trials get under way
By Michael Marshall | NewScientist.com
Field trials for experiments to engineer the climate have begun. Next month a team of UK researchers will hoist one end of a 1-kilometre-long hose aloft using a balloon, then attempt to pump water up it and spray it into the atmosphere.
The water will not affect the climate. Rather, the experiment is a proof of principle to show that we can pump large quantities of material to great heights. If it succeeds, a larger-scale version could one day pump sulphate aerosols into the stratosphere, creating a sunshade that will offset the greenhouse effect.
Volcanic ash inspires sunshade (Image: Arctic Images/Corbis)
The trial, led by Matthew Watson of the University of Bristol, UK, is part of a Ł2 million project called Stratospheric Particle Injection for Climate Engineering (SPICE). Funded by two UK research councils, it also aims to find out the ideal particles to use in an atmospheric sunshade and will attempt to model their effects in greater detail than ever before. The test is not alone: a string of other technologies that could be used to "geoengineer" our environment are being field-tested (see "Coping with emissions").
In his blog, The Reluctant Geoengineer, Watson argues that we need to investigate the effects of sulphate aerosols as a last-resort remedy should the climate start to change rapidly. Researchers contacted by New Scientist agreed with Watson that such research should continue, if only to find out whether the techniques are feasible. "Id say theres a 50-50 chance well end up doing it, because itll get too warm and people will demand the planet be cooled off," says Wallace Broecker of Columbia University in New York. But there was less enthusiasm for SPICEs approach to the problem.
There are "large gaps" in our understanding of geoengineering, says Thomas Stocker of the University of Bern in Switzerland. Stocker helped to organise an expert meeting on geoengineering in June for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It identified key unanswered questions that should be a focus for research. However, it is not clear that field trials like Watsons will provide the answers.
One area of doubt over injecting aerosols into the stratosphere is whether it will change the behaviour of high-altitude clouds. That could in turn affect the climate in ways beyond what was intended - and for now, we dont know how, or how much. Aerosols could also deplete the ozone layer, contribute to air pollution and may alter visibility in the same way as large volcanic eruptions can.
The SPICE test wont answer any of these questions, says David Keith of Harvard University. "I think its a little reckless." The most interesting result will be how the public reacts, he says.
Whats more, Keith adds, in the long run delivering sulphates to the stratosphere with a hose would be a bad idea. Spraying aerosols locally allows the particles to clump together, making them less effective at reflecting sunlight and more likely to be swept down by rain (Environmental Research Letters, DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/4/4/045108).
Keiths own studies suggest that if we were ever forced to try to screen out some of the suns rays globally, it would be more effective to spray sulphuric acid from aircraft (Geophysical Research Letters, DOI: 10.1029/2010GL043975).
It would also be cheaper, costing a few billion dollars a year according to a study by Aurora Flight Sciences, an aeronautical firm in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Such figures are tiny compared to the trillions that the consequences of climate change could cost the global economy if emissions continue to rise at current rates.
The point, says Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Stanford, California, is that experiments like Watsons, which test relatively simple delivery systems, address the issue of cost. But, since the Aurora study has shown that cost is not a critical factor - a sunshade will be relatively inexpensive - the critical questions relate to potential risks.
More importantly, since a stratospheric sunshade is intended to have a global impact, all countries must agree to such a project and to its precise extent, which is unlikely to happen.
Read the full article at: newscientist.com
Caldeira Lab Research: Climate Intervention (Geoengineering)
CERN Experiment Confirms Cosmic Rays Influence Clouds - Global Warming Next?
Aliens Could Destroy Humanity To Stop Global Warming
Global Warming Doomsters Theories Wrong, Says NASA Study
Arctic scientist who sparked global warming movement suspended over integrity issues
CERN Scientists Gagged On Politically Incorrect Global Warming Data
The Doomsday Machine and the Race to Save the World: Geoengineering Emerges as Plan B at the 11th Hour
GeoEngineering Watch Site
Geoengineering Conference To Discuss Blocking Sun
Rutgers Professor Warns Geoengineering Could Create Disasters, Global Famine
Latest News from our Front Page
Better Identification of Viking Corpses Reveals: Half of the Warriors Were Female
Shieldmaidens are not a myth! A recent archaeological discovery has shattered the stereotype of exclusively male Viking warriors sailing out to war while their long-suffering wives wait at home with baby Vikings. (We knew it! We always knew it.) Plus, some other findings are challenging that whole ârape and pillageâ thing, too.
Researchers at the University of Western Australia decided ...
Off Your Knees, Germany! Ernst Zundel 1983 - 2003
For more information on the holocaust, how the war was forced upon Germany, and the REAL victims of the second world war see:
IRS Drops Attack For Six Years â No Evidence of Jurisdiction
A big congrats to a friend Iâve been working with for several years, he stood up to the predators commonly called the âIRSâ and they dropped their attack. Thanks also for providing me with the proof below.
The criminals called the âIRSâ initiated an attack claiming my friend was required to file six tax returns, or explain how he made ...
Into Eternity - Finland's 100,000 Year Massive Underground Spent Nuclear Fuel Program
Into Eternity is a documentary about a deep geological repository for nuclear waste. The concept of long-term underground storage for radioactive waste has been explored since the 1950s. The inner part of the Russian doll-like storage canisters is to be composed of copper. Hence in the case of Onkalo it is tightly linked to experiments on copper corrosion in running ...
SPLC Accuses Oath Keepers of Inciting âArmed Confrontationâ Over Sugar Pine Mine
The Southern Poverty Law Center has accused Oath Keepers of inciting an armed confrontation with BLM authorities over the Sugar Pine Mine dispute in Oregon, despite the fact that the organization has explicitly stated that it is not promoting armed confrontation with the feds.
In an article provocatively posted on the organizationâs âHatewatchâ section entitled Oath Keepers Descend Upon Oregon with ...
|More News » |