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Climate fix technical test put on hold - Comments

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 1 by Alan4discussion

The concept of spraying large quantities of sulphate aerosols [that] would cool the planet's surface by reflecting solar energy back into space, is environmentally unsound. It is in no way safely applicable, or feasible on a global scale, as some dirty industry propagandists and engineering enthusiasts would suggest.

This however, is a small scale test which should give some useful information.

Sun, 02 Oct 2011 12:05:19 UTC | #877108

foggi's Avatar Comment 2 by foggi

Cancel the experiment because it might deflect attention from the green cause? If the effect being investigated is achievable, then the green lobby would have no case?

Sun, 02 Oct 2011 12:16:19 UTC | #877111

SomersetJohn's Avatar Comment 3 by SomersetJohn

I don't know anywhere near enough chemistry to meaningfully comment on the experiment itself.

On the subject of canceling the experiment itself because "opponents argue that even testing could have harmful impacts, that there are questions of ethics and international law that remain unanswered, and that even raising the prospect of geoengineering distracts from initiatives to curb emissions." I put this in the same area as not researching disease propogation because people should not catch diseases.

We need more research, not less. Perhapse the research will prove its not a good idea, but at least we will then know.

Sun, 02 Oct 2011 13:48:12 UTC | #877124

Marc Country's Avatar Comment 4 by Marc Country

A machine to control the weather? I can't see how that could possibly be used for ill...

Sun, 02 Oct 2011 14:22:38 UTC | #877132

Red Dog's Avatar Comment 5 by Red Dog

I can understand where the green people are coming from. There are other technologies out there that IMO are completely impractical, I'm talking about Carbon sequestering and "clean coal" and are touted as panaceas to cure global climate change rather than making the real hard choices that will actually make a difference such as moving away from fossil fuels.

But this sounds like it may have real potential and we have already put off getting serious about climate change for so long that we may need technology like this as a last resort. I agree with Marc Country's sarcastic comment, I see plenty of unintended side effects if this technology is used rashly but that is why we need to do more research like this, not less.

Sun, 02 Oct 2011 14:34:04 UTC | #877135

Jussie's Avatar Comment 6 by Jussie

Concern with a climate control machine:

Climate change isn't necessarily a bad thing for all countries. Some will benefit from temperature rise or fall. So who gets to say how warm the earth must be? Will we eventually see countries pouring funds into a climate program to keep their climate at optimum at the expense of others? At least now we can blame bad weather on nature (or deities if you wish :)). In the future we'll be blaming the U.S. for that too! :)

Sun, 02 Oct 2011 15:05:31 UTC | #877142

lazarus's Avatar Comment 7 by lazarus

", then the green lobby would have no case?"

So how do you see sulphates used to cool the planet solving ocean acidification?

Sun, 02 Oct 2011 15:48:05 UTC | #877151

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 8 by Ignorant Amos

Comment 6 by Jussie

Climate change isn't necessarily a bad thing for all countries.

How does that work then?

Some will benefit from temperature rise or fall.

Who and how?

So who gets to say how warm the earth must be?

Must be or should be? The experts in the field of climate change, those that have worked on the problem and know what the impact is going to be when we eventually FUBAR the place..

Sun, 02 Oct 2011 15:50:33 UTC | #877153

Jussie's Avatar Comment 9 by Jussie

Comment 8 by Ignorant Amos :

Comment 6 by Jussie

Climate change isn't necessarily a bad thing for all countries.

How does that work then?

I don't think it is hard to imagine that some countries might benifit from a change in climate.

Some will benefit from temperature rise or fall.

Who and how?

I can imagine that for instance some African countries wouldn't mind a slight temperature drop. Whereas i can imagine countries nearer the poles wouldn't mind an increase. A couple of degrees can make a big difference in crop gains i would guess.

So who gets to say how warm the earth must be?

Must be or should be? The experts in the field of climate change, those that have worked on the problem and know what the impact is going to be when we eventually FUBAR the place..

Ideally i guess. Yes it would be better if experts (a global panel) were in control of earths 'thermostat'. But I fear, once nations find that their economical interest lie in a different temperature, they'll find their 'experts' to start work on it.

Sun, 02 Oct 2011 16:11:42 UTC | #877156

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 10 by Ignorant Amos

Comment 9 by Jussie

Climate change isn't necessarily a bad thing for all countries.

I don't think it is hard to imagine that some countries might benifit from a change in climate.

That's not what you said though, what you said was "Climate change isn't necessarily a bad thing for all countries.", which it most certainly will be.

I can imagine that for instance some African countries wouldn't mind a slight temperature drop. Whereas i can imagine countries nearer the poles wouldn't mind an increase. A couple of degrees can make a big difference in crop gains i would guess.

You are just talking shite there, do you understand climate change? Apparently not.

Ideally i guess. Yes it would be better if experts (a global panel) were in control of earths 'thermostat'.

That's not what asked before, "So who gets to say how warm the earth must be?" not control. We all are part of the control to a point.

But I fear, once nations find that their economical interest lie in a different temperature, they'll find their 'experts' to start work on it.

Is this a serious statement or are ya taking the piss? So those in countries that are too hot, will work to cool them down, and those in countries that are too cold will work to heat them up, and those in the goldilocks zone, what will they do? You don't understand this AGW thing at all do ya?

Sun, 02 Oct 2011 16:32:26 UTC | #877160

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 11 by Alan4discussion

Comment 9 by Jussie

I can imagine that for instance some African countries wouldn't mind a slight temperature drop. Whereas i can imagine countries nearer the poles wouldn't mind an increase. A couple of degrees can make a big difference in crop gains i would guess.

I think research would be a better basis than "imagination". A lot of research has already been done. Global temperature rises of "just a few degrees" have been catastrophic for life in the past - causing mass extinctions !

Comment 6 by Jussie - Climate change isn't necessarily a bad thing for all countries.

Comment 8 by Ignorant Amos - How does that work then?

Some will benefit from temperature rise or fall.

Who and how?

Unfortunately some are already profiting and heading in the wrong direction, with tankers in the Arctic Ocean and the prospect of drilling there for oil and gas!!

A new report from the European Space Agency (ESA) shows that sea ice in the Arctic Ocean has receded dramatically during this summer, opening up two new shipping lanes – the Canadian Northwest Passage and Russia’s Northern Sea Route.

The ESA notes that during the last 30 years, satellites observing the Arctic have witnessed reductions in the minimum ice extent at the end of summer from around 8 million sq. km in the early 1980’s to the historic minimum of less than 4.24 million sq. km in 2007. - http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/2602071/arctic-ocean-opens-up-as-sea-ice-disappears/index.html

The receding of the sea ice is a boom for shipping companies who are already looking over the benefits these routes may bring if they remain open regularly.

According to BBC News, tankers are already carrying natural gas condensate from the northern port of Murmansk to sail along the Siberian coast en route for Thailand.

This opening up of the sailing lanes also, according to the BBC, has the potential of opening up the seabed in order to discover and drill for oil and gas. This possibility has some environmental groups concerned. They argue that this presents a major safety concern in the often inclement Arctic, as well as strengthening the world’s reliance on fossil fuels ensuring the progression of anthropogenic global warming, thus causing further erosion of Arctic summer sea ice.

"Sod the planet! Oil, gas and money for me! me! me! and my political stooges!" "Now what stories can be put about to distract, reassure, and con the gullibles while we pocket the money?"

The Earth has had large releases of CO2 before, so we know what can happen:

World Without Ice 56 million years ago a mysterious surge of carbon into the atmosphere sent global temperatures soaring. In a geologic eyeblink life was forever changed. - http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2011/10/hothouse-earth/kunzig-text

The cause was a massive and geologically sudden release of carbon. Just how much carbon was injected into the atmosphere during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, or PETM, as scientists now call the fever period, is uncertain. But they estimate it was roughly the amount that would be injected today if human beings burned through all the Earth's reserves of coal, oil, and natural gas. The PETM lasted more than 150,000 years, until the excess carbon was reabsorbed. It brought on drought, floods, insect plagues, and a few extinctions. Life on Earth survived—indeed, it prospered—but it was drastically different. Today the evolutionary consequences of that distant carbon spike are all around us; in fact they include us. Now we ourselves are repeating the experiment.

The PETM "is a model for what we're staring at—a model for what we're doing by playing with the atmosphere," says Philip Gingerich, a vertebrate paleontologist at the University of Michigan. "It's the idea of triggering something that runs away from you and takes a hundred thousand years to reequilibrate."

Many devout fundamentalist politicians (who seem [what a coincidence] to be sponsored by coal, oil, and gas companies), assure us the God will not let anything "evil" happen to his planet which HE has given to man to do with as he pleases - so Yah-boo-sucks to the environmentalists!! It is on divine authority!!!

As the ocean absorbed the carbon dioxide that was warming the planet, the water also became acidified, just as it will over the next century as CO2 levels rise again. This is borne out in some deep-sea sediments, where the PETM is as obvious as the stripes in the Bighorn Basin. In 2003 Sluijs went along on an expedition led by James Zachos to the Walvis Ridge, a submarine mountain range in the South Atlantic. They extracted sediment cores from a range of depths on the flanks of the ridge, and in each case as soon as they opened the core on deck, they could see the PETM layer immediately. "It just stands out amazingly," Sluijs says. "It's just red clay." - The clay stood out because of what it lacked: the white ooze of calcium carbonate that brightens the sediments above and below the PETM. During the PETM the acidified ocean had dissolved the calcium carbonate away. At this point one might expect a simple morality tale: Acidified ocean wipes out myriad life-forms, dissolving the shells of corals, clams, and forams—the scenario many scientists now envision for the 21st century. But the PETM is more puzzling than that. Although coral reefs in the Tethys Ocean, a Mediterranean Sea forerunner that cut through the Middle East, seem to have suffered badly, the single documented mass extinction at the PETM is an unexpected one: It struck as many as half the species of forams that lived in the bottom mud. They were cosmopolitan species, adapted to a wide range of conditions, and they should have been able to handle whatever the PETM threw at them. http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2011/10/hothouse-earth/kunzig-text/2

Sun, 02 Oct 2011 17:10:28 UTC | #877165

I Deny's Avatar Comment 13 by I Deny

I like that these options are being considered, but a much cheaper and much simpler way to reduce warming(among other things) would be for people(especially westerners) to give up their meat and diary habbit. It's unethical and it's about time it's put seriously on the table.

(Been vegan for over a year, and nothing but positive health beneifts, too.)

Sun, 02 Oct 2011 18:38:31 UTC | #877174

Stevezar's Avatar Comment 14 by Stevezar

Comment 10 by Ignorant Amos :

Comment 9 by Jussie Climate change isn't necessarily a bad thing for all countries.

I don't think it is hard to imagine that some countries might benifit from a change in climate.

That's not what you said though, what you said was "Climate change isn't necessarily a bad thing for all countries.", which it most certainly will be.

Contrasting his cautious "might benefit" with your "certainly", I think your "certainly" certainly needs a citation!

I can imagine that for instance some African countries wouldn't mind a slight temperature drop. Whereas i can imagine countries nearer the poles wouldn't mind an increase. A couple of degrees can make a big difference in crop gains i would guess.

You are just talking shite there, do you understand climate change? Apparently not.

Apparently he does, and you do not. Changing temperatures can make some regions more hospitable to certain crops. I am not sure why you are trying to deny the obvious here.

But I fear, once nations find that their economical interest lie in a different temperature, they'll find their 'experts' to start work on it.

Is this a serious statement or are ya taking the piss? So those in countries that are too hot, will work to cool them down, and those in countries that are too cold will work to heat them up, and those in the goldilocks zone, what will they do? You don't understand this AGW thing at all do ya?

Your disagreements with some pretty obvious statements are not making much sense. Are you just trying to be disagreeable for the hell of it?

Sun, 02 Oct 2011 18:38:43 UTC | #877175

Mr DArcy's Avatar Comment 15 by Mr DArcy

For the life of me, I can't see what possible harm this experiment will do. I'm sure there are many more definitely harmful experiments going on, - ones that we never get to hear about. Like the ones that the armaments industry carries out.

Water will be sprayed as droplets from 1 km up! Wow seems really deadly! The researchers could always go off to Scotland and investigate the effects of Scotch mist from dry land!

Sun, 02 Oct 2011 19:01:24 UTC | #877178

PERSON's Avatar Comment 16 by PERSON

Comment 15 by Mr DArcy :

For the life of me, I can't see what possible harm this experiment will do. I'm sure there are many more definitely harmful experiments going on, - ones that we never get to hear about. Like the ones that the armaments industry carries out.

Water will be sprayed as droplets from 1 km up! Wow seems really deadly! The researchers could always go off to Scotland and investigate the effects of Scotch mist from dry land!

The main problem is that it gives ammunition to AGW deniers, as this thread demonstrates. "It isn't happening, if it is, it's not enough to matter, if it is enough to matter, there's always geoengineering". You know how these people argue. State one item of rhetoric, make vague contradictions to any objectors, then state the next rhetoric, ideally by using an objector's response as a means of changing the subject.

That said, it's not entirely clear to me what "in the end it's the social context that's important - and we realise there's no point in having the (ESPRC independent panel) process unless we're going to work with it." means exactly. Which social context? What ESPRC panel?

Comment 14 by Stevezar

Wow, you're full of it. Good work, I hope they pay you well.

Sun, 02 Oct 2011 19:27:26 UTC | #877183

davem's Avatar Comment 17 by davem

"I don't think it is hard to imagine that some countries might benifit from a change in climate."

Maybe. But you're forgetting the real problem - there are 7 billion humans on the planet and counting... The ones in countries that don't benefit (most of them) will start walking into the countries that are better off. So you need to ask yourself the question - 'Can the polar regions supply 7 billion humans with food"? If not, the next world war will be over food and water. The planet is creaking right now - it really needs 6 billion fewer humans on it right now. A 2C rise in average temps could be disastrous. 3C or 4C is a nightmare. Right now,we're heading for those sorts of rises.

Sun, 02 Oct 2011 19:34:06 UTC | #877186

ridelo's Avatar Comment 18 by ridelo

Is filling up the air with CO2 not 'geo-engineering' on a much grander scale?

How could a small experiment with something that sometimes occurs naturally on a much grander scale be harmful? Is somebody afraid that we're going to play God again? We are doing that all the time since we mastered fire.

Sun, 02 Oct 2011 19:40:00 UTC | #877188

I Deny's Avatar Comment 19 by I Deny

We must remember that there are two types of deniers. I never have denied climate change, but I once did deny the part I was playing.

Sun, 02 Oct 2011 19:40:15 UTC | #877189

Mr DArcy's Avatar Comment 20 by Mr DArcy

PERSON:

The main problem is that it gives ammunition to AGW deniers, as this thread demonstrates.

Well it might and it might not. I'd be interested in the science, and what, if anything the experiment achieves. Unless we know what the evidence is, no-one can use anything for ammunition. It's one bloody balloon, for Christ's sake!

Although Norfolk is quite a dry county, by English standards, it has been known to rain there!

Sun, 02 Oct 2011 19:47:00 UTC | #877190

Peter Grant's Avatar Comment 21 by Peter Grant

"We're talking about a pressure washer you could buy in a hardware shop, a long hose, and two bathloads of water, so you couldn't have a more benign experiment," he told BBC News.

I find it surprising that pumping a column of water one kilometre up in the air is this straightforward. Would like to see them try this on Bang Goes the Theory.

Sun, 02 Oct 2011 19:53:38 UTC | #877191

Red Dog's Avatar Comment 22 by Red Dog

I think the argument that Climate Change isn't such a big deal because some countries may benefit is ridiculous but I have read that parts of Canada that were too cold for farming may be capable of supporting it. That wasn't in some climate denier book (I wouldn't waste my time reading those) I think it was in The Weather Makers by Tim Flannery but not sure.

In any case the disruption to the rest of the world far outweighs the modest possible benefits to a few.

Sun, 02 Oct 2011 19:55:31 UTC | #877192

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 23 by Alan4discussion

The danger is that if this is shown to be a last ditch chance to save Earth from a Permian type thermal extinction event, deniers and their sponsored political stooges may be able to use this to stall the necessary CO2 output reductions. There is also the ocean acidification issue, which will not be helped by adding H2SO3 or H2SO4 in rain to progressively acidifying oceans. There are other short termist non-solutions such as "clean coal" being promoted by the carbon industry lobby!

Sun, 02 Oct 2011 20:01:22 UTC | #877195

Quine's Avatar Comment 24 by Quine

This experiment seems harmless, to me (and somewhat silly), given that jet aircraft pump many, many tons of water into the upper atmosphere, every day. Some of the data on how this impacts weather was collected in the few days all air traffic was suspended over the USA after 9/11. I would have to read the experimental protocol to see what these researchers expect to find that could not be found by just putting instruments on existing jet flights, and looking at the corresponding data from satellites that are already logging the IR reflection.

Sun, 02 Oct 2011 20:16:11 UTC | #877196

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 25 by Alan4discussion

Comment 22 by Red Dog

I think the argument that Climate Change isn't such a big deal because some countries may benefit is ridiculous but I have read that parts of Canada that were too cold for farming may be capable of supporting it.

There are some marginal extensions of farming areas, but permafrost turning to swamp tends to offset this, as does "wet" substituting for "cold" in winter.

Haymaking time in Greenland evokes the sunny side of global warming, which just might allow Aviaja Lennert and her family to grow enough grass for their 700 sheep. - http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2010/06/viking-weather/essick-photography - The sixth picture shows sheep and the seventh picture in the series shows a tractor beside hay bales on a Greenland farm.
There is an associated "Feature Article" on Farming in Greenland.

In the tropics more heat tends to translate into disappeared glacial water supplies, droughts, insect plagues, and flash floods. Erratic climate changes make it difficult to choose appropriate crops or areas suitable for cultivation. The deep soils on floodplains have a habit of err - unpredictably flooding.

Sun, 02 Oct 2011 20:19:49 UTC | #877197

Red Dog's Avatar Comment 26 by Red Dog

Comment 23 by Alan4discussion :

The danger is that if this is shown to be a last ditch chance to save Earth from a Permian type thermal extinction event, deniers and their sponsored political stooges may be able to use this to stall the necessary CO2 output reductions. There is also the ocean acidification issue, which will not be helped by adding H2SO3 or H2SO4 in rain to progressively acidifying oceans. There are other short termist non-solutions such as "clean coal" being promoted by the carbon industry lobby!

The sponsored stooges are going to lie and distort things no matter what. I don't think its a good policy to block research based on how people may misinterpret it.

BTW, its interesting because I just made the same argument in a totally different thread the other day. Someone was saying that they didn't like research into extra dimensions or multiverse because it was so theoretical and mathematical and not linked to empirical data. The risk they said was that religious people could look at it and say "see it just wild theories with no connection to empirical data no different than religion"

In both cases I maintain its a bad idea to start judging research by how people may misinterpret it.

Sun, 02 Oct 2011 20:29:32 UTC | #877200

Red Dog's Avatar Comment 27 by Red Dog

Comment 25 by Alan4discussion :

Comment 22 by Red Dog

I think the argument that Climate Change isn't such a big deal because some countries may benefit is ridiculous but I have read that parts of Canada that were too cold for farming may be capable of supporting it.

There are some marginal extensions of farming areas, but permafrost turning to swamp tends to offset this, as does "wet" substituting for "cold" in winter.

Haymaking time in Greenland evokes the sunny side of global warming, which just might allow Aviaja Lennert and her family to grow enough grass for their 700 sheep. - http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2010/06/viking-weather/essick-photography - The sixth picture shows sheep and the seventh picture in the series shows a tractor beside hay bales on a Greenland farm. There is an associated "Feature Article" on Farming in Greenland. In the tropics more heat tends to translate into disappeared glacial water supplies, droughts, insect plagues, and flash floods. Erratic climate changes make it difficult to choose appropriate crops or areas suitable for cultivation. The deep soils on floodplains have a habit of err - unpredictably flooding.

I just checked the Tim Flannery book and it wasn't in there so not sure where I read it. In any case I agree with you, the marginal possible benefits are going to be trivial compared to the far more certain devastating consequences.

Sun, 02 Oct 2011 20:31:21 UTC | #877201

Peter Grant's Avatar Comment 28 by Peter Grant

Wow, even the smaller ones produce 50 bar which should be more than enough, would need high pressure hose though:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pressure_washer

Sun, 02 Oct 2011 20:32:22 UTC | #877203

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 29 by Alan4discussion

Comment 24 by Quine

This experiment seems harmless, to me (and somewhat silly), given that jet aircraft pump many, many tons of water into the upper atmosphere, every day. Some of the data on how this impacts weather was collected in the few days all air traffic was suspended over the USA after 9/11. I would have to read the experimental protocol to see what these researchers expect to find that could not be found by just putting instruments on existing jet flights, and looking at the corresponding data from satellites that are already logging the IR reflection.

Indeed, the clear air while aircraft were grounded after 9/11 show a marked change. satellites have also been monitoring the cooling effects from smoke and aerosol plumes from Indian and Chinese coal-fired power-plants.

China and India, however, have increased their use of coal-fired plants , and are the biggest consumers of coal, and producers of particulate and aerosol pollution, in the world. - http://www.greenerideal.com/science/8498-global-dimming-the-long-shadow-of-pollution

The effect works in a number of ways. High-altitude aerosols can work directly to either absorb or reflect sunlight. Small particulates can also aid cloud formation, resulting in larger clouds with smaller water droplets, which then reflect and absorb sunlight during the day, and radiate heat at night. Aircraft contrails seem to have the same effect, and over central North America aircraft alone account for a 1% drop in sunlight reaching the surface.

Global dimming is not truly global in its effects, and the extent of the dimming is dependent on a number of factors. Wind patterns, air pressure, and air temperature all affect the process. Localized dimming and even surface cooling has been noticed in relation to dimming, while other areas continue to clear and brighten. There is a definite correlation between coal-plant usage and localized dimming.

Since the 1950s, global dimming has caused drops of up to 3% per decade in the amount of visible light reaching the Earth’s surface, at least until 1990. The effect is thought to have masked some of the effects of global warming, and there is an expectation that global warming will get worse, and faster than previously thought, as the masking effect is removed.

High altitude aerosol dispersal is one the methods being researched in geoengineering to help mitigate the effects of global warming. Based on the observation of the last 60 years, it would likely work, but the effects would be intermittent, and it is possible that the project could go too far. If too much light gets reflected into space, the surface will cool, larger clouds will form, and more sunlight will be reflected, in a vicious circle known as a feedback loop.

The aerosol masking by dimming is short term and seems to have been holding temperatures down. The CO2 warming is very long term and cumulative at pushing temperature up.

Sun, 02 Oct 2011 20:40:22 UTC | #877205

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 30 by Alan4discussion

Comment 26 by Red Dog

In both cases I maintain its a bad idea to start judging research by how people may misinterpret it.

I agree - as long as they keep it small so as not to trigger any other problems, or escalate existing ones.

Sun, 02 Oct 2011 20:45:55 UTC | #877207