Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Earth Science Technology

US Scientists Launch World's Biggest Solar Geoengineering Study (theguardian.com) 56

In what will be the world's biggest solar geoengineering program to date, U.S. scientists part of the $20 million Harvard University project are going to send aerosol injections 20km (~12.4 miles) into the earth's stratosphere "to establish whether the technology can safely simulate the atmospheric cooling effects of a volcanic eruption," The Guardian reports. From the report: Scientists hope to complete two small-scale dispersals of first water and then calcium carbonate particles by 2022. Future tests could involve seeding the sky with aluminum oxide -- or even diamonds. Janos Pasztor, Ban Ki-moon's assistant climate chief at the UN who now leads a geoengineering governance initiative, said that the Harvard scientists would only disperse minimal amounts of compounds in their tests, under strict university controls. Geoengineering advocates stress that any attempt at a solar tech fix is years away and should be viewed as a compliment to -- not a substitute for -- aggressive emissions reductions action. But the Harvard team, in a promotional video for the project, suggest a redirection of one percent of current climate mitigation funds to geoengineering research, and argue that the planet could be covered with a solar shield for as little as $10 billion a year. Some senior UN climate scientists view such developments with alarm, fearing a cash drain from proven mitigation technologies such as wind and solar energy, to ones carrying the potential for unintended disasters. If lab tests are positive, the experiment would then be replicated with a limestone compound which the researchers believe will neither absorb solar or terrestrial radiation, nor deplete the ozone layer.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

US Scientists Launch World's Biggest Solar Geoengineering Study

Comments Filter:
  • Global Thermonuclear Warfare. Nuclear winter and vast reductions in population will restore the ice caps, as well as permanently remove the "terrorist" threat. Of course, that will also make him the world's biggest terrorist, but you can be sure he's okay with being #1 at something other than "World's Biggest Loser."
  • Dangerous (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    This is a massive waste of money, and it's dangerous. When you move past the "adjustments" (fabrications) to climate data, there's no evidence the Earth is getting warmer. In fact, the Earth has been cooling slightly for the past few decades. Climate scientists have stated that sea ice is decoupled from global average temperates when they said that Antarctic sea ice would grow as the Earth warms. In the longer term, we're likely to descend back into another ice age, based on natural cycles. We actually need

  • by Anonymous Coward

    This sounds like the plot of Snowpiercer [indiewire.com] :

    The film posits that in the near future, the governments of the world, keen to curb global warming, release a substance called CW7 into the atmosphere, designed to lower temperatures. It works, but too well, reducing the planet to a frozen, uninhabitable wasteland. The only survivors are those on board a train built by eccentric, reclusive transport magnate Wilford. The higher-ups live in luxury, while those with second-class tickets languish in squalor at the back

  • by Anonymous Coward

    We have just one earth that is habitable and these geniuses want to experiment with it. Diamond, Carbon, Aluminum. These things are not healthy in our lungs but they want to put it there?

  • Geoengineering advocates stress that any attempt at a solar tech fix is years away and should be viewed as a compliment to -- not a substitute for -- aggressive emissions reductions action.

    "Hey, that's a really nice aggressive emissions reduction action you've got there!"

    It's complement.

  • by jenningsthecat ( 1525947 ) on Friday March 24, 2017 @10:53PM (#54106859)

    The proposed scheme reduces Earth's infrared energy surplus by reducing the amount of visible light reaching us from the sun. Photosynthesis requires certain wavelengths of visible light; so reducing the amount of sunlight reaching plants will reduce photosynthesis, which will in turn reduce the conversion rate of CO2 to O2. So while less energy comes into the system, more CO2 remains in the system, and the latter will tend to offset the former. The net effect on warming might be zero. Worse, we could be upside-down on the transaction, with the net effect actually worsening global warming in the long term. Yes, volcanic eruptions reduce average temperatures; but their effects are fairly short-lived, and don't give us much of a clue about the consequences of reducing the amount of sunlight reaching the Earth's surface over a span of decades or centuries. Also, it strikes me that we might experience significantly-reduced crop yields as an additional result of the reduced photosynthesis - not a good thing when we may also be losing arable land as a result of rising sea levels.

    I really hope the folks tinkering with our biosphere are asking the same questions, (and more), and coming up with credible answers. I know they're generally a smart lot of people; but their track record so far WRT climate change models and predictions isn't nearly good enough to justify their apparent excess of hubris. Their attitude of 'yeah, if a few minuscule tests look good, we should roll out a full-scale implementation on the whole planet', is downright fucking scary.

    • by sarku ( 2047704 )
      Well, there's known knowns, and known unknowns, and then there's unknown unknowns, and then there known unknown knowns, and then there's unknown knowned knowns which somewhat resemble knowned about to be known unknowedly known quite possibly unknowns. The thing is, they've been doing it for years already.
    • if a few minuscule tests look good, we should roll out a full-scale implementation on the whole planet

      There's no reason to do it like that. Instead we could just gradually scale up the size of the tests, and stop at any time that we start seeing negative effects.

    • by giampy ( 592646 )

      That's right, more CO2 remains in the system.

      But the biggest risk, IMO, is that this kind of geoengineering will actually work in reducing warming or even cooling down the earth surface a little bit.

      Because if it works, we might pat ourself in the back, go on doing business as usual, and declare the problem solved, and indeed that would be in some sense appropriate, since the problem would be solved at least partially (leaving alone ocean acidification and other problematic things).

      BUT then at that point su

  • The weather/climate system is a complicated, chaotic system. If we do enact this system then what happens to the countries that go through drought/floods/ etc. due to this system? Will they be compensated? And what if that country is a heavy weight like China, or Russia? Do you think they're going to sit back whilst your magical aerosol fucks with their economies? Or would they bomb the shit out of it? The US almost certainly would.
    • The weather/climate system is a complicated, chaotic system. If we do enact this system then what happens to the countries that go through drought/floods/ etc. due to this system?

      The same is true for adding CO2 to the atmosphere, but we're not stopping that either.

    • Is you objection that it could solve the Global Warming problem at a cost 1/1000th that of CO2 reduction, but with a chance of actually succeeding and killing hundreds of millions fewer people in the process?
  • Two years ago I contacted one of the company which provides such service and when I called it chem trail they corrected me prefering the term "weather management". I don't understand why this is news, it has been going on for a while and has proven inefficient already.

Alexander Graham Bell is alive and well in New York, and still waiting for a dial tone.

Working...