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Old 09-07-2005, 07:38 AM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is offline
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How feasable is creating fake clouds in the pacific to avoid climate change

Climate change could be an even bigger problem in the future. The solution to cut down on greenhouse gases is one method of keeping the earth's temperature cooler, but another is to cut down on the amount of sunlight that hits the earth. A method I read about in popular science for doing this was creating a fleet of boats that would travel around the pacific creating clouds which would block out some of the sun, lowering the earth's temperature. This is more realistic than eliminating our fossil fuel based economy, does anyone know how feasable it is?
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Old 09-07-2005, 08:26 AM
Futile Gesture Futile Gesture is offline
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Any attempt to further modify the climate is bound to cause related problems. If you're going around creating clouds, someone, somewhere is going to get wet. You also don't get something for nothing; creating water vapour takes energy. Expending that energy causes global warming. You could well end up with a net change to warming of zero.

So I don't see how this is "more realistic".
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Old 09-07-2005, 08:34 AM
RandomLetters RandomLetters is offline
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Here is an interesting article on alternative proposals to block global warming - one of the ideas is to throw up a lot of small reflector sattelites into orbit. Estimated cost for that would be $500 billion, much cheaper than cutting down on CO2 emissions (for example, full implementation of the Kyoto treaty would cost the world $150 billion yearly, and the Kyoto limits would only have a minor reduction in global warming.)
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Old 09-07-2005, 10:10 AM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Futile Gesture
Any attempt to further modify the climate is bound to cause related problems. If you're going around creating clouds, someone, somewhere is going to get wet. You also don't get something for nothing; creating water vapour takes energy. Expending that energy causes global warming. You could well end up with a net change to warming of zero.

So I don't see how this is "more realistic".
We will have problems no matter what though IRT the climate. It will cost billions no matter what we do and blocking heat from hitting the earth is probably going to occur as a treatment for climate change just as much as cutting down on greenhouse gases.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article...734227,00.html

The research by Salter, who invented one of the first devices to turn wavepower into electricity, will be published in the next edition of the journal Atmospheric Research. He claims that by increasing the reflectivity of one third of clouds around the world by 4.5% he could prevent enough heat reaching the Earth’s surface to negate all the forecast effects of global climate change.
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Old 09-07-2005, 03:41 PM
Quercus Quercus is offline
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First of all, doing any of these will still cause dramatic climate change. If they work perfectly, you might not have net warming, but you will still have radically different weather patterns than at present because the warm and cool spots will now be in different places.
So you don't have to move every coastal city because of rising ocean levels, but still have to move every ski resort, beach resort, many river ports, floodwalls, and anything else that depends on the weather. Oh, and every farm in the world will have to adjust to a different climate.
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Old 09-07-2005, 04:08 PM
CynicalGabe CynicalGabe is offline
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Popular Science covered all of these methods in an article this summer. The determination was that all of them were either dangerous, fantasy, or horribly inefficient.

Nothing works as well as good 'ol fashioned reductions of emissions.
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Old 09-07-2005, 04:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wesley Clark
A method I read about in popular science for doing this was creating a fleet of boats that would travel around the pacific creating clouds which would block out some of the sun, lowering the earth's temperature.
How would the position of the clouds be controlled? How would they be prevented from drifting over areas where they were not wanted?

A large part of the productivity and carbon fixation on earth takes place in the upper levels of the ocean due to the activity of photosynthetic algae and cyanobacteria. By blocking sunlight, you could easily reduce the amount of CO2 taken out of the air by these organisms and create a net increase. On top of that, there could be enormous changes in oceanic ecosystems that could greatly reduce fishing yields, not to mention threaten the survival of many pelagic species such as whales or albatrosses.

This is a monumentally stupid idea.

Quote:
This is more realistic than eliminating our fossil fuel based economy, does anyone know how feasable it is?
Our fossil fuel based economy is doomed in the long run. The sooner we start making inevitable changes the better it will be all around.
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Old 09-07-2005, 06:23 PM
Imasquare Imasquare is offline
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A British scientist has propsed something similar:

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Now Professor Stephen Salter, emeritus professor of Engineering Design at Edinburgh University, believes he can manufacture clouds that could help save the planet from global warming.
Link
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Old 09-07-2005, 06:28 PM
CynicalGabe CynicalGabe is offline
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Now Professor Stephen Salter, emeritus professor of Engineering Design at Edinburgh University, believes he can manufacture clouds that could help save the planet from global warming.
Hang on a sec, lemme put out this fire by throwing gasoline on it first...
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Old 09-07-2005, 06:52 PM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CynicalGabe
Popular Science covered all of these methods in an article this summer. The determination was that all of them were either dangerous, fantasy, or horribly inefficient.

Nothing works as well as good 'ol fashioned reductions of emissions.
They didn't say all of them were inefficient, dangerous or fantasy. They rated them on things like risk or efficiency.


Colibri - Good luck changing the fossil fuel economy. The popular science article said that the clouds would dissipate quickly if something went wrong, you'd just have to stop reforming them with sea mist. So even if we do muck things up we can just stop doing it.
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Old 09-07-2005, 07:04 PM
Imasquare Imasquare is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Imasquare
A British scientist has propsed something similar:



Link
I reckon I should have read post 4 first.
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Old 09-07-2005, 07:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wesley Clark
Colibri - Good luck changing the fossil fuel economy.
If you were paying attention you would have noticed it's already changing. As the price of oil goes up, more costly alternative energy sources become more economically feasible. Fossil fuels aren't going to be phased out completely for a long time, but in all probability the mix will change substantially in coming decades.
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Old 09-07-2005, 07:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wesley Clark
The popular science article said that the clouds would dissipate quickly if something went wrong, you'd just have to stop reforming them with sea mist. So even if we do muck things up we can just stop doing it.
If you did this for a short period of time or a small scale you really wouldn't be able to tell if it was having much impact on global warming. These effects play out over decades. While you might be able to stop forming the clouds themselves if it were determined you were having detrimental effects, it might also happen that it could have had long-term effects on oceanic ecosystems by shifting competive relationships between species that would not go back to the way they were before once cloud formation stopped.

Dumping large quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere is a monumental uncontrolled experiment on a global scale. The way to deal with it is not to start monkeying around with other factors which we are far from completely understanding, but to confront the root cause.
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Old 09-07-2005, 07:27 PM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colibri
If you did this for a short period of time or a small scale you really wouldn't be able to tell if it was having much impact on global warming. These effects play out over decades. While you might be able to stop forming the clouds themselves if it were determined you were having detrimental effects, it might also happen that it could have had long-term effects on oceanic ecosystems by shifting competive relationships between species that would not go back to the way they were before once cloud formation stopped.

Dumping large quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere is a monumental uncontrolled experiment on a global scale. The way to deal with it is not to start monkeying around with other factors which we are far from completely understanding, but to confront the root cause.
That would be the best solution. But its not going to happen anytime soon so we should focus on working solutions until we find out how to return CO2 levels to what they were 300 years ago.

What I'm looking for is a way to cut down on global warming until we can find a way to clean out the excess CO2. I don't think that clouds are a permanent cure, but it is a way to delay massive climate changes until we have the technology to eliminate fossil fuels and remove the excess CO2 in the atmosphere. The side effects of global warming are already being felt but the elimination of all the excess CO2 and the fossil fuel economy could be 50-100 years away so we need solutions now to tide us over until we reverse the atmospheric damage we've done.
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