Pielke Senior on Geoengineering

Guest post by Dr. Roger Pielke Senior

Comment on The BBC News Article By Richard Black On Climate Geoengineering

There is an article on BBC News on April 6 2011 by Richard Black titled

Climate ‘technical fix’ may yield warming, not cooling

The article starts with the text

“Whitening clouds by spraying them with seawater, proposed as a “technical fix” for climate change, could do more harm than good, according to research.’

Whiter clouds reflect more solar energy back into space, cooling the Earth.

But a study presented at the European Geosciences Union meeting found that using water droplets of the wrong size would lead to warming, not cooling.”

This article further underscores how little we know about the climate system. To deliberately alter the system by geoengineering is, therefore, quite a risky approach. The reason it is even being considered is that there remains the assumption that added CO2 is the dominate climate forcing that can “disrupt” the climate system from its current equilibrium.

Such a static view of the climate is not supported by observations (e.g. see) yet this simplistic view persists as illustrated by the 2007 IPCC, and, more specifically by the BBC news article. In the article it is written [highlight added]

“In an era when many climate scientists are frustrated by slow progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, cloud whitening has sometimes been held up as an example of a technology that could make a real difference, at least to “buy time”.

The technique’s prospects depend crucially on how droplet size affects reflectivity It has been calculated that a fairly modest increase in the reflectivity of these marine clouds could balance the warming from a doubling of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere – although even proponents admit it would do nothing to combat the other major consequence of carbon emissions, ocean acidification.”

One of the interviewees for the news article does realize this is a complex issue. As Richard Black writes

“…Piers Forster from the UK’s University of Leeds, who is leading a major UK project on geoengineering techniques, suggested more research would be needed before cloud whitening could be considered for “prime time” use.

“The trouble is that clouds are very complicated; as soon as you start manipulating them in one way, there are a lot of different interactions,” he said.”

The statement that “a fairly modest increase in the reflectivity of these marine clouds could balance the warming from a doubling of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere”  illustrates the failure of many to understand the real behavior of the climate system. Even with respect to just the radiative forcing effect of aerosols, in addition to any global average forcing,  it is spatial heterogeneity that matters much more than a global average in terms of how weather and ocean patterns could be modified.

As we have shown with respect to inadvertant inputs of aerosols into the atmsophere by human activities; i.e. see

Matsui, T., and R.A. Pielke Sr., 2006: Measurement-based estimation of the spatial gradient of aerosol radiative forcing. Geophys. Res. Letts., 33, L11813, doi:10.1029/2006GL025974.

in regards to their effect on atmospheric circulations in the tropical and subtropical latitudes, in our study, their influence is ~60 times that of the radiative effect of CO2.  The deliberate insertion of aerosols for geoengineering would similarly have a large effect on circulation patterns. There is no way to balance the effect of CO2 and of aerosols with the approach discussed in this paper. Adding aerosols as part of geoengineering is not a “climate fix” but a recipe for climate disruption.

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82 thoughts on “Pielke Senior on Geoengineering

  1. “To deliberately alter the system by geoengineering is, therefore, quite a risky approach.”

    _____________________________________________________________

    LOL! A masterful piece of under-statement, Sir.

    “Complete and utter idiocy” would be my description.

  2. Any of these so called ‘geoengineering, fixes prove that those suggesting such have seen too many Sci Fi films, such as Alien for example and what bother those people got into.

    They need to ‘get real’ because natural processes are far more powerful than man’s ability to fix anything, by many orders of magnitude.

  3. The law of unintended consequences applies in the most dangerous of situations. Trying to “engineer” a dimly understood and chaotic climate system is the ultimate lunacy.

  4. Richard Black is a misinformed idealist fanatic, who will print any and all propaganda, which furthers his dangerous beliefs. He has been extremely busy lately, publishing every AGW claim he can get his hands on. If an article has his name on it… It can be safely dismissed. GK

  5. You use to be able to write off something like this as being just another cockamamie research proposal dreamed up in order to get funding. But, with the current crop of Simonian (as in Herbert) “true believers” now running government and the NGOs, it’s scary… someone just might actually try to implement it.

  6. The ego’s of these maniacs takes some beating, we have had no warming for 13 years and they carry on as if nothing had happened.
    When we look back at some of the dreadful things human beings did to each other in centuries past and things such as King Canute commanding the sea to stop we either shake our heads in disbelief or laugh.
    What is going on in the area of climate “science” is beyond just about anything we have seen…and this is happening when we have a “free press” allegedly full of very intelligent people.
    It is not that this guy wishes to solve a problem it is the fact he believes we have a problem in the first place that gets me.

  7. As the Black article already ascribed to Piers Foster “[the injected drop] won’t stay that size for long – it will spread out …” – particularly when the drops are first to be projected (fired) at least 5,000 feet upwards, from sea level.

    And, if done on anything like a geological scale, how are coastal landowner’s private law nuisance claims for loss of amenity/sunlight to be dealt with? This would be simple in the UK, but in the US would the commerce clause give jurisdiction to the US government?

  8. “In an era when many climate scientists are frustrated by slow progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, cloud whitening has sometimes been held up as an example of a technology that could make a real difference, at least to “buy time”.

    What utterly meaningless drivel. Those poor ‘many’ climate scientists. All frustrated and stuff. And while “sometimes” held up as a solution, equally so, llama-loads of other wacky and pointless ‘solutions’ troop through the endless media stupor to be recycled once again, because they “could” make a real difference. Buy time? For whom or what? Let the insanity continue!

  9. Before rejecting marine clouds, please consider the benefits of humidifying an onshore wind with vertical-axis spray turbines, configured like Hula-Hoops:

    http://www.portaleso.com/portaleso/modules/Noticias/Almacen/Maquinacapazdecrearnubesdelluvia30-03-2004-19-47-23/shs_rain_paper_Feb.pdf

    This would greatly increase the likelihood of rain on land.
    Not for geoengineering, but for droughts, the cure of which is humidification of the air going to the drought-striken region.

  10. Why geoengineering? There is no climate catastrophe approaching that would require it. As a matter of fact, there is no anthropogenic global warming, that famous AGW we are constantly propagandized about. How do I know this you may ask. I know this from satellite temperature measurements that have been available for 31 years and yet are totally ignored by NASA, NOAA, and the Met Office. They show the eighties and the nineties as a period of rising temperatures called the late twentieth century warming. That is the warming that Hansen testified about. Satellites see it as a period of oscillation about a fixed mean, up and down by half a degree for twenty years. There were five temperature peaks in this period and they correspond to El Nino events in the Pacific. And the low points between them designate intervening La Ninas. If you compare the satellite curve with say HadCRUT3 from the Met Office at high resolution you see that these same El Nino peaks are also present in this curve. The first four even have the same height. But where they differ is in the valleys in between the peaks. These have been made shallow and this gives their curve an upward slope they call warming. NASA is similar but NOAA goes a step further and completely eliminates all La Nina valleys. After 1998 there was a short spurt of warming that raised the global temperature by a third of a degree and then stopped in 2002. This was the only real warming within the last 31 years but all three temperature custodians fake a warming in the twenty-first century that did not happen. GISSTEMP even goes so far as to designate 2005 as warmer than the super El Nino of 1998 which is absurd. The twenty-first century began as a warm temperature plateau which ended with the 2008 La Nina cooling. That signified resumption of ENSO oscillations the super El Nino had interrupted. With ENSO in control we can now expect an alternation of warm El Ninos and cool La Ninas but none of the warming that IPCC computers are still spewing out. For more information read “What Warming?“ available on Amazon.com.

  11. Only in the minds of eco-loons can you fix humans altering the planet’s atmosphere by altering the planet’s atmosphere. These are same people that said Freon (R-22) was bad, but Puron (R-410A) is good. Oh, but Puron is a much more potent greenhouse gas. There is no logic or reason, just agenda.

  12. Crazy, just crazy. As an Englishman I am astounded that we in the UK are still wandering around looking at our navels on this subject. I recently wrote to my MP on the subject of the IPCC nonsense, he wrote back a rather nice letter saying “tell as many people as you are able”. Good news , all MPs are NOT believers.

  13. Anything is possible says: April 15, 2011 at 7:58 am
    John Marshall says: April 15, 2011 at 8:08 am

    I think you said all that need be said about this.

  14. The government of Iran, being advocates of Geoengineering and true believers in Global Warming, have been working hard at developing methods to help lessen the effects using Nuclear Devices, exploded in the atsmophere. I believe their political and spiritual leaders have assisted their scientific community in determining the position in which the greatest effect in the “Climate” can be attained. I’m sure that if Iran can reach their goals, others in the region will assist in similar endevors.
    In short, any attempt at geoengineering could be best describeds as..short sighted? No, stupid works much better.

  15. It’s still winter here, for goodness sake. We got 5 inches of snow yesterday, on top of the foot of snow we still had, and temperatures are below zero C. Despite all of this global warming, our region’s plant hardiness has never changed from a zone 2. This means we are limited in the fruits and vegetables (perennials, trees, etc) we can grow. Our growing season does not begin until the end of May, with frost as early as late August. We do not want more winter here!

    These people need to get a reality check and policy makers need to stand up to these scientists, who are so eager to apply their theories without any real understanding of how they work, let alone how the climate system works to begin with. Should their experiments result in our hardiness zone extending down south, across Canada and into the US, there will be very real problems supplying the population with food.

  16. COLOUR THEM SHAMELESS

    Dr. Pielke Snr. writes:

    ‘Such a static view of the climate is not supported by observations (e.g. see) yet this simplistic view persists as illustrated by the 2007 IPCC, and, more specifically by the BBC news article.’

    Er….Dr. Pielke….this article is by Richard Black. Richard Black. You must know this guy. No? Ok, Ok, let me try to describe him. He is basically the BBC’s version of Louise Gray. You remember, the hilarious Daily Telegraph who trots out any old piece of eco claptrap as long as it is on the right sort of Press release headed paper? That’s the girl. Well, Richard Black is roughly the equivalent.

    Both are able to set intelligent lifeforms giggling uncontrollably at their ‘informed’ journalism. Black has some excuse as the BBC has forbidden its editorial staff to deal even-handedly with AGW skeptic material. The Daily Telegraph provides some balance to Gray’s childlike writing by allowing James Delingpole to write a truly informed blog on the same website.

    Gray. Black. Green. What exactly IS the colour of shameless?

  17. These would-be Geoengineers are obviously deranged. Maybe they should work on saving their own minds first?

  18. Interstellar Bill says:
    April 15, 2011 at 8:50 am
    Before rejecting marine clouds, please consider the benefits of humidifying an onshore wind with vertical-axis spray turbines, configured like Hula-Hoops:

    Line from the abstract:
    “Calculations show that some remediation may be possible using a mechanism that can be controlled to suit local needs”

    Paraphrased: [Models] show that some [expensive twiddling] [may, could, might] be possible using a [conjecture] that can (!!) be controlled to suit local needs [while costing billions].

    I do hope that /sarc was intended…? What about all the sea salt that becomes airborne along with the sea mist? How many bloody Hula-hoop-heaving, topheavy, fuel-guzzling fog-boats will it take? These desert areas, were they ever burgeoning agricultural wonders?

  19. Reminds me of a Star Trek movie, when the alien space ship vaporized earth’s oceans and Captain Kirk had to go back in time to bring the whales forward in time to save the earth. Let’s just invent a time machine so us humans can go back in time to save ourselves from climate change. Our you crazy as Doctor McCoy said when Kirk made the proposal.

    These people are crazy, I rather think in another 500 years that we humans can go and find a new planet to ravage. I don’t think I’d rather go back in time 500 years, maybe forward in time 500 years when all the BS is over.

  20. I’m too old for this………

    I’ve always believed that a large majority of people are either crooked liars, or total morons…..

    ….I don’t need proof

  21. It looks to me that with very little modification it could be made to play Calliope music at the same time. This would allow their circus to accompany themselves.

  22. People proposing to geoengineer the climatic system are INSANE. Stop treating them as if they are normal human beings, they aren’t, they are dangerous fools ! Lock them up in the funny farm. I’m tired of being subjected to their mindless pseudo-intellectual drivel.

  23. Looks like a technology that could be verified with a prototype. Preferably over someone you do not care about like Bikin attol. Unlikely to save the world but would be a great tourist attraction and we might learn stuff about clouds.

  24. I say let the hollywood elite invest their money on those ships.
    The ships won’t really have any more than a localized effect and will serve as a good diversion for the investors…..boost their self-esteem a little.
    So long as the taxpayers don’t become the investors. Stay out of my wallet than you.

  25. We WILL alter the climate. One of the reasons for all this nonsense is that Mankind knows that, deep down, and is trying to be responsible about it.

    Worshipping lies and wild speculations–AGW–is not being responsible. Neither is this loony proposal.

    Earth has enormous deserts and mixing organic matter in at the edges, plus letting them lie fallow a lot, will result in gradual re-greening of those deserts. These deserts were originally created by man, not rainfall patterns. Either we’ve had an atomic age before, or we destroyed our lushest grasslands by overgrazing thousnds of years ago. Either way, we are going to fix it, and that will alter rainfall patterns most considerably.

    We will have some unintended consequences to fix, but the overall result will be a doubling of land biomass from the turn of the millennium. That will mean plenty of food for people, provided we bring the remaining wild reproducers into ZPG or slow population growth. And more important to the watermelons, it will mean greatly increased biodiversity and more wildlife.

  26. Actually Owen, I’m less concerned about the insanity of the engineers coming up with this solution than about the non-engineers who might take it seriously. I don’t know too many engineers (and I’ve known quite a few) who wouldn’t take this on as an intellectual challenge, just for laughs. I suspect that some of the engineers behind this floating sea disaster waiting to happen are as appaled that it’s being taken seriously as are you.

  27. Ian E says: “Anyone else reminded of the old lady who swallowed a fly?”

    Perhaps she will die.

  28. Interstellar Bill says:
    April 15, 2011 at 8:50 am
    Before rejecting marine clouds, please consider the benefits of humidifying an onshore wind with vertical-axis spray turbines, configured like Hula-Hoops:

    http://www.portaleso.com/portaleso/modules/Noticias/Almacen/Maquinacapazdecrearnubesdelluvia30-03-2004-19-47-23/shs_rain_paper_Feb.pdf

    This would greatly increase the likelihood of rain on land.
    Not for geoengineering, but for droughts, the cure of which is humidification of the air going to the drought-striken region.

    Believe it or not nature has already provided models of this with hurricanes coming on-shore and dropping inches worth of salty water. Plants used to growing well inland do not take well to raised salinity and die. Or to quote a recent post by Joe D’Alio at
    http://www.weatherbell.com/jd/?p=715 :

    “The wind-driven rains carried dissolved ocean salt, which damaged vegetation 50 to 100 miles inland. There were reports of a sea-salt residue on windows in Montpelier, Vermont.”

    Yet again we are reminded that a jobbing gardener with no GED has more knowledge of botany than any number of PhD’s in climatology.

  29. Yeah, I discussed this farrago of an idea about a year ago at “Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud“. There I described it as a “non-viable non-solution to a non-problem”.

    Dr. Pielke (as usual) is right, this time about the unknown nature and outcome of such experimentation. I merely showed that even if they were correct, their goofy plan still wouldn’t work.

    Now, back to the real world …

  30. “Whitening clouds by spraying them with seawater, proposed as a “technical fix” for climate change, could do more harm than good, according to research.”

    Indeed.

    Particularly if it works in the direction intended by the proponents.

  31. “a fairly modest increase in the reflectivity of these marine clouds could balance the warming from a doubling of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere”

    Or, if the PDO positive phase causes a modest DECREASE “in the reflectivity of these marine clouds “, then all 20th century warming cycles could be explained by the PDO and CO2 would be irrelevant.

    And guess what?

    The PDO synchs up really well with global brightening/dimming/brightening cycles.

  32. Very nice, very nice. Suppose; it works and we are globally starting to use these geo-engineering technics. Oke, BUT the earth is cooling instead of warming – what I personnally think. What will happen then? Will all these applied geo-enigneering technics do increase the possibility or even trigger a coming ice age?

  33. It is likely such a plan would have no effect on world climate whatsoever other than some regional disturbance. White clouds tend to self-regulating with reflection balancing insulation. The droplets would precipitate in time contrary to the Warmists hypothesis of ever increasing clouding., dramatically expanding a global warm belt radiating. from the tropics. The addition of so much salt to the atmosphere is problematic. And the energy required to implement this scheme is ridiculous. Should give the old wind turbines and the photovoltaic cells a workout.

  34. SuperFreakonomics has a chapter which suggests one fairly plausible sounding geo-engineering solution. I don’t remember the details, but it involved injecting SO2 (IIRC) into the upper atmosphere slowly and continuously. The results should have been reasonably obvious fairly soon, and the injected chemical wouldn’t persist very long, so turning it off (if necessary) should hopefully lead to a return to previous conditions.

  35. John Marshall says:
    April 15, 2011 at 8:08 am
    Just to be completely accurate. The movie you want is “Aliens” not “Alien”. “Alien” never touched on the topic of geoengineering or terraforming. “Aliens”, however, had the “Shake and Bake” terraforming colony.

  36. The BBCs Richard Black has clearly chosen which CAGW cultist faction he supports, the article is not important for its toe curling pseudo science, that is par for the course and a common feature of Blacks output. No, what is of interest is the faction split between the whack jobs of geo engineering and the whackjobs of de industrialisation and de population. One pot of money and two factions fighting for it? There is no room for the two competing theologies as one precludes the other. Here is a paragraph from the article which has it all, its the full Monty.

    “It has been calculated that a fairly modest increase in the reflectivity of these marine clouds could balance the warming from a doubling of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere – although even proponents admit it would do nothing to combat the other major consequence of carbon emissions, ocean acidification.”

    “ocean acidification” no such thing is there? A ridiculed and ridiculous CAGW scaremongering standby, as if to provide some kind of back scare in case the other scare isnt sufficiently scary enough. Then cometh the money shot…wait for it….aaaah there it is. That faction that desires carbon reduction would see an adaptation strategy nullify their entire cause, why reduce carbon emissions if temperatures were lowered? Kinda defeats the Luddite de industrialisation that eco whack job faction A desires!

    So you see which faction Black is aligning himself with clearly, at the end stage of every cult you always see factional splits and when this happens it always ends in the demise of both sides. Black is no scientist, he is in bed with groups like the green(shirt) party, greenpiss, regime stooges and fiends of the earth and this is where his stories come from and these are the sources he goes to when he needs commentary for one of his regular servings of mumbo jumbo pseudo science.

    There is of course no problem whatsoever with a harmless plant food called CO2, there is no warming and has been no measurable warming for over a decade, the polar caps are normal, the oceans are normal, the mid latitude snow packs and glaciers and rainfall are normal, deserts are shrinking and life goes on as normal. The IPCC predictions of ‘climadoom’ have been proven to be utterly without foundation.
    The CAGW fraud is effectively nearing its death throes and all that remains are the sad and pathetic and desperate and the deluded fighting it out like rats in a sack. Its like the crew fighting for control of the helm of the Titanic just as the bows submerge.

  37. The watermelons are NOT interested in any fix that allows the west to continue to have an advanced economy and a free society.

    They want control, a techno fix is absolutely no good to them at all.

    They want you to have a nice carbon emission credit card that they can control. Of course their travel would be a necessity – that’s different

  38. I live close to the sea.

    So, tomorrow morning, Saturday, I am going down to the beach and stop the tide.

    Then I will do some geo-engineering in my spare time.

  39. Every time mankind attempt to be God and manipulate or alter nature they screw things up. Frequently, catastrophes result. History should teach us that geoengineering is synonymous with fiasco and folly.

  40. Man, why do you have to be such an old seniority inside-shorts-outgassing outburst for?

    I mean these are some kind-hearted-save-the-earth type of people who are very intelligent (they’ve said so themselves) that are activating themselves in engaging people, all over the planet, to donate lots and lots of (tax)money to their goodish (5 bathroom mansion) cause.

    So if they want to fiddle with nature, like what the good chaps did in captain Cooks time, or the sovs did in their time, so be it, what, I humbly ask, could go so wrong? (And don’t you mention the Chinese rain-making-turning-to-freezing-to-death-snow making for that one don’t count, because, err, well, they obviously did something wrong, the “Big Oily” bastards.)

    :-()

  41. The great failure of the AGW movement is timing. Had the idea caught on just a few years earlier, before the Internet age, most of us would have believed most of it. I know I would.

    The ozone hole/CFC scare is the gold standard for timing and executing a project like this. Everybody now believes banning CFC:s has saved us all from being fried in the sun.

    Had these geoengineering schemes taken off in, say, 1999, we would by now clearly see how the climate stopped warming, Atlantic hurricanes all but vanished , the Arctic ice recovered from 1997, and winter snow and blizzards are back. So what if it cost us 10 trilion? It was worth it!

  42. Willis Eschenbach says: April 15, 2011 at 10:41 am

    quote
    Yeah, I discussed this farrago of an idea about a year ago at “Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud“. There I described it as a “non-viable non-solution to a non-problem”.
    unquote

    And, IIRC, you got your calculations wrong by a factor of several tens.

    Be that as it may, it’s worth looking at the figures calculated for aerosols and asking what has happened to their production since we started polluting the oceans. Leave aside the first result of my favourite theory of smoothing by oil and surfactant (fewer waves so fewer mechanically-generated cloud condensation nuclei), see the collapse of the plankton population and imagine what that is doing to the production of di-methyl sulphide, the plankton-produced precursor of much of the low level aerosol population.

    If you look at http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=phytoplankton-population, or search on [ plankton population collapse Boyce ], you will find a report about the loss of phytoplankton, Down by 40% since 1950.

    We are already carrying out geo-engineering whether we like it or not, altering the nutrient flows into the oceans, their cloud cover, their biology, the very movement of breaking waves. ICM, inadvertent climate modification, is happening.

    Dr Curry has mentioned a paper about aerosols above the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. That should be interesting.

    JF

  43. John V. Wright says: April 15, 2011 at 9:10 am
    COLOUR THEM SHAMELESS

    Er….Dr. Pielke….. ….this article is by Richard Black. Richard Black. You must know this guy. No? Ok, Ok, let me try to describe him. He is basically the BBC’s version of Louise Gray. You remember, the hilarious Daily Telegraph who trots out any old piece of eco claptrap —That’s the girl. Well, Richard Black is roughly the equivalent.—–Gray. Black. Green. What exactly IS the colour of shameless?
    ———————————————————————
    Ha ha –— That gave me a laugh John V Wright —Good start for the weekend. — Colour me amused.

    Douglas

  44. From what I can deduce this idea is just a little more sophisticated than the rain dance techniques in vogue among the early Indians and other primitives a few centuries ago. People believed that this worked then too. At least the rain dances didn’t cost a lot of money – just a few feathers and a bit of clay paint and an interesting bit of dance and – voila – ? no harm done – just control of the ijits.

    Douglas

  45. It’s all about “feelings”.

    The Greens just “feel” like they must “do something”. It doesn’t matter what, as long as “something is being done” about the problem of the day. It doesn’t matter if today’s “work” contradicts the “work” they did yesterday, so long as we are “working on a solution”. It doesn’t matter if they are “working” on a completely make-believe problem either. That just makes it easier to claim victory! Whew, catastrophe averted! “We saved you!”, now send money.

  46. Joe Crawford says:
    April 15, 2011 at 8:39 am (Edit)

    “I also love the picture. That craft would turn turtle in anything over a fresh breeze.”

    Ever seen a tall masted sailing ship? There’s this simple thing called ballast…

  47. This reminds me of the early eighties when Zimbabwe was beset by a series of El Nino droughts. Farmers and ranchers took to firing rockets containing silver iodide into rain clouds. That is a very simple process compared to what is discussed here. There were many snags. One needed a “suitable’ cloud, pretty well one which was very likely to produce rain without any help. The procedure resulted in many disappointments. Sometimes no rain fell and when it did, all too often it fell on the ranch next door. Squabbles between neighbours were frequent, with one claiming that another had stolen his rain. After a couple of years the practice in that area fell into disuse as farmers realised that they were spending a good deal of money for no worthwhile return. This was private enterprise at work, with no funding to be had from some generous governmental source.

  48. Whiter clouds reflect more solar energy back into space, cooling the Earth.
    ==================================================
    At least they admitted to a negative cloud feedback…..

    …now take that ball and run with it

  49. Clouds do NOT reflect sunlight, black or white. The individual water droplets or ice crystals refract or even diffract the sunlight; but the solar spectrum Fresnel reflectance of H2O is quite small, about 2% for normal incidence and maybe 3% averaged ove all incidence angles.
    But a single refraction from a water droplet, can scatter sunlight over 90 degrees or more, so it only takes two or three successive refractions to thoroughly homogenize the light, and render it effectively isotropic; in which case, the diffuse “reflectance” can hardly rise above 50%, in terms of sunlight returned to space.

    And don’t forget, that those extra whitened clouds ALWAYS absorb a sizeable amount of incoming sunlight and prevent it from reaching the surface to be propagated into the deep oceans. And the subsequent LWIR re-emissions from the warmed atmosphere (due to that absorption), is also isotropic, so only half of that reaches the surface as LWIR; and that is absorbed in the surface layer (10-50 microns) resulting in significant amounts of prompt evaporation of even more water. That of course removes a lot of latent heat from the ocean as well, as making more blocking clouds.

    Total lunacy believing you can tweak the climate with cloud engineering.

  50. Julian Flood says:
    April 15, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    Willis Eschenbach says: April 15, 2011 at 10:41 am

    quote
    Yeah, I discussed this farrago of an idea about a year ago at “Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud“. There I described it as a “non-viable non-solution to a non-problem”.
    unquote

    And, IIRC, you got your calculations wrong by a factor of several tens.

    Hey, Julian, good to hear from you again. No need trust whether anyone has recollected correctly, though. It’s all in the citation I provided above. Readers can make up their own minds at the end of the thread if the “seed the clouds” proposition is feasible or not. I understand that YMMV.

    Be that as it may, it’s worth looking at the figures calculated for aerosols and asking what has happened to their production since we started polluting the oceans. Leave aside the first result of my favourite theory of smoothing by oil and surfactant (fewer waves so fewer mechanically-generated cloud condensation nuclei), see the collapse of the plankton population and imagine what that is doing to the production of di-methyl sulphide, the plankton-produced precursor of much of the low level aerosol population.

    As a seaman, I agree with you that the smoothing of the ocean surface by oil has an effect on a variety of properties of the ocean. Seamen have used that method to calm the seas for years. Regarding the climate, in addition to the reduction of the number of sea salt crystals for cloud nucleation, it changes the evaporation rate. It also changes the rate of exchange of energy across the ocean-atmosphere boundary by changing the albedo.

    Showing that affects global climate is much harder. For example, I suspected that in WWII the oil on the surface of the North Atlantic would have been enough to affect the weather. And WWII was a time of notably cold weather in Europe. The problem is that the temperature plunged in 1939-40, well before the Battle of the North Atlantic, so there’s no evidence that the oil from a thousand sunken ships changed anything. It’s a tough puzzle.

    If you look at http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=phytoplankton-population, or search on [ plankton population collapse Boyce ], you will find a report about the loss of phytoplankton, Down by 40% since 1950.

    I don’t agree with the study in question, for the reasons I discussed in “Walking the Plank-ton“. Again, I invite the reader to draw your own conclusions.

    We are already carrying out geo-engineering whether we like it or not, altering the nutrient flows into the oceans, their cloud cover, their biology, the very movement of breaking waves. ICM, inadvertent climate modification, is happening.

    Dr Curry has mentioned a paper about aerosols above the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. That should be interesting.

    JF

    Indeed we are carrying out geoengineering in the ways you list, plus black carbon and land use/land cover change and others. Disentangling the results of the various things you discuss from the natural to and fro of the planet is the hard part. As you say, all of this should be very interesting.

    Thanks,

    w.

  51. A flea has convinced himself that he can change the direction the dog is traveling by jumping up and down on the dog. The dog, being unaware of the flea, may or may not decide to change direction at some point as dogs are wont to do. This change of direction, or lack thereof, will be taken by the flea as proof that his efforts have indeed influenced the dog. And he is astounded when the dog scratches him off.

  52. Julian Flood says:
    April 15, 2011 at 12:50 pm
    If you look at http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=phytoplankton-population, or search on [ plankton population collapse Boyce ], you will find a report about the loss of phytoplankton, Down by 40% since 1950.
    ===============================================
    Julian, that’s almost 1/2.
    You are smart enough to know that a 1/2 degree rise in temperature did not cause that. Weather patterns have not noticeably changed in the past 60 years.

    Not that this study has one bit of fact to it, but just assuming it did, what do you think would cause a 1/2 reduction in the number of phytoplankton?
    Also, rather than thinking that 60 years ago was the artificial “normal”, what could have caused an abnormal increase in phytoplankton 60 years ago?

  53. I quote from the article: “…there remains the assumption that added CO2 is the dominate climate forcing that can ‘disrupt’ the climate system from its current equilibrium. Such a static view of the climate is not supported by observations (e.g. see)….” I looked at the observations referred to by that “(e.g. see).” They are numerical March values for a period of years plus some color maps of temperature variance. Forget about the color maps, they are worthless for determining trends. And a list of values for a particular month does not tell you anything about the annual trends. The UAH puts out an excellent temperature graph that will tell you all you need to know about global trends. You should use this and not some irrelevant numerical tables. Contrary to your doubts about the value of global temperature as a climate index these satellite temperatures are about the only trustworthy measure of what the climate is really doing. RSS satellite temperatures and UAH satellite measurements have been very close for years until recently but for some reason RSS has resorted to revising their values upward. I have regarded satellite values as free of the fakery that invests NASA, NOAA, and Met Office temperature curves but now it looks like they have pressured RSS to come closer to them. As to the role of added CO2 in global warming, it is nil. Ferenc Miskolczi used NOAA database of weather balloon observations that goes back to 1948 and found that the transparency of the atmosphere in the infrared where carbon dioxide absorbs did not change for the last 62 years. During this time the amount of carbon dioxide in the air increased by 21.6 percent. This means that the greenhouse absorption signature of this added carbon dioxide is missing. And no IR absorption, no greenhouse effect, case closed. Check out Miskolczi’s presentation to the EGA meeting in Vienna this month.

  54. Julian: “Be that as it may, it’s worth looking at the figures calculated for aerosols and asking what has happened to their production since we started polluting the oceans. ”

    1981 (according to the EPA) was the peak year for aerosol production in the world. That may have changed with China/India int he last few years.

    However, we have been doing “good” geoengineering with aerosols since 1981 (by eliminating them) which amazingly coincides with a small warming trend — and the positive PDO.

  55. “Joe Crawford says:
    April 15, 2011 at 8:39 am
    I also love the picture. That craft would turn turtle in anything over a fresh breeze.”

    Hehe.

    It must have been designed by those ‘Ship of Fools’ who’ve hijacked Academia and are at the helm of this CO2 AGW/CC garbage. :-)

  56. Julian: “Be that as it may, it’s worth looking at the figures calculated for aerosols and asking what has happened to their production since we started polluting the oceans. ”
    ————————————————————————————–
    Bruce, Julian is making a common mistake.

    “”We are polluting the oceans more, and phytoplankton levels are dropping.””

    Something is limiting phytoplankton, obviously the oceans are receiving less of it.

    People that do these sort of things, try to tie it into climate, without looking at previous climate.
    Saying phytplankton levels have dropped 40% since 1950, and not considering that they might have been high when they started measuring.

    Putting iron into the ocean to increase phytoplankton growth, not considering where that iron naturally would come from, and not being smart enough to remember the dust bowl.

  57. I must defend King Canute. He wasn’t the idiot of popular imagination who tried to stop the tide. He was a very wise king who demonstrated to his courtiers the limits of his power by showing them that even he, the king, could not do it. As a beacon of wisdom he’s up there with the little boy who declared that the emperor was naked. Maybe the lack of fables, legends and fairy stories in children’s lives is one of the reasons for the groupthink that plagues our age. They do contain much wisdom.

  58. Geoengineering? Always struck me as strange that the very people who are telling us that we are damaging the planet by going around doing our normal business are the ones telling us that they have to deliberately change the planet by geo-engineering. At huge cost to all of us and with huge profits to them.

  59. K let’s put a cloud over every over every body of water to save the planet and kill all the plakton and watch then eco system die world saved from cAGW !!! I feel good about that how about you!!!

  60. Willis Eschenbach says:
    April 15, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    quote
    Showing that affects global climate is much harder. For example, I suspected that in WWII the oil on the surface of the North Atlantic would have been enough to affect the weather. And WWII was a time of notably cold weather in Europe. The problem is that the temperature plunged in 1939-40, well before the Battle of the North Atlantic, so there’s no evidence that the oil from a thousand sunken ships changed anything. It’s a tough puzzle.
    unquote

    It’s good to know that we are not alone in our confusion. The Hadcrut3 graph made me suspicious with its unexpected blip around 1940, with the zero line on the graph always being carefully chosen so that the blip’s visual effect is minimised. Searching around, we find that the problem was sea temps and that these have been carefully massaged to look lower than they actually are. Even the massager-in-chief is puzzled:

    Tom Wigley wrote in the UEA leaked emails:

    quote
    []
    So, if we could reduce the ocean blip by, say, 0.15 degC,
    then this would be significant for the global mean — but
    we’d still have to explain the land blip.

    I’ve chosen 0.15 here deliberately. This still leaves an
    ocean blip, and i think one needs to have some form of
    ocean blip to explain the land blip (via either some common
    forcing, or ocean forcing land, or vice versa, or all of
    these). When you look at other blips, the land blips are
    1.5 to 2 times (roughly) the ocean blips — higher sensitivity
    plus thermal inertia effects. My 0.15 adjustment leaves things
    consistent with this, so you can see where I am coming from.
    []
    It would be good to remove at least part of the 1940s blip,
    but we are still left with “why the blip”.
    []
    unquote

    So the temperature graphs must be approached with caution.

    And who is Tom Wigley? Professor Tom Wigley was educated as a mathematical physicist and earned his doctorate at the University of Adelaide in Australia. He served as director of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom from 1978 to 1993. In 1993 he went on to the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, where he was appointed a senior scientist in 1994. []He was named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for his major contributions to climate and carbon-cycle modeling and to climate data analysis, and because he is “one of the world’s foremost experts on climate change and one of the most highly cited scientists in the discipline.” (Wikipedia)

    With great minds like that puzzling over (and brushing under the carpet) data like the blip, no wonder we simple followers after truth are puzzled.

    JF

  61. Antonia says: April 15, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    quote
    I must defend King Canute
    unquote

    I find it amusing that the House of Commons (UK) passed the Climate Change Bill at the exact spot where Canute sat and ordered the tide to cease.

    JF

  62. Bruce says: April 15, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    quote
    1981 (according to the EPA) was the peak year for aerosol production in the world. That may have changed with China/India int he last few years.
    unquote

    I’m more interested in the aerosols produced by natuaral processes which have been altered by our activities. Let me spare you the full infodump about the Kriegesmarine Theory (note the capitals, they make it look much grander), but my contention is that we have reduced the ocean’s capacity to produce salt and DMS (and bacterial fragments etc) cloud condensation nuclei. The output from industry is a minor player comparatively. In a Feynman fit of honesty I must here point out that neither Lindzen or Curry think that the effect is large enough to explain what’s going on,

    quote
    However, we have been doing “good” geoengineering with aerosols since 1981 (by eliminating them) which amazingly coincides with a small warming trend — and the positive PDO.
    unquote

    And if I’m right we’ve been interfering with the plankton populations since well before then.

    Latitude says: April 15, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    quote
    Julian: “Be that as it may, it’s worth looking at the figures calculated for aerosols and asking what has happened to their production since we started polluting the oceans. ”
    ————————————————————————————–
    Bruce, Julian is making a common mistake.
    unquote

    I’m afraid I don’t understand y0ur post — do you think I’m advocating iron feeding? If so, you are wrong. Stop adding things, yes. Clean up the rivers and stop dumping oil and surfactants onto the oceans, yes, reduce the dissolved silica from poorly-executed agriculture, yes. Adding things to the ocean? No, we don’t know enough to predict the results.

    It might be of interest if you were to work out the results of falling phytoplankton populations — things like reduced pull-down of light carbon so rising atmospheric CO2 with a light isotope signal, less DMS so lower albedo so rising temps etc. Sound familiar?

    JF

  63. bit of a contradiction on this thread between the people who think it’s a bad idea nad those who think natures too big to be affected.

    another contradiction between the folks who think tinkering with nature is dangerous…but not apparently if that messing involves elevating CO2 levels to millions of year highs. No that’s just fine.

  64. Where I live there is a very small airport and one jet plane.
    This country town is not between major cities or near an air force base.
    On some mornings there can be 20 to 30 fresh white lines across the sky before 9am.
    These “contrails” are from planes that have nowhere to go. Quite literally, there would be thousands of miles in either direction before the planes would even come close to a city with a population of over 10,000 people.
    Deliberate geoengineering has been occuring here for about 7 years.
    I wonder when they will publish their results..

  65. Some time ago I emailed David Cameron pointing out how stupid the whole Green Renewable Concept was. Time passed then I got this.

    “I will, of course, ensure that David is made aware if your concerns, but I am afraid we may have to agree to disagree on this issue.

    Whatever your views are, we cannot afford not to go green. The UK economy is still dependent for more than 90 per cent of its energy needs on fossil fuels, which increasingly come from imports. With the era of cheap oil now well and truly over, our fossil fuel dependency is making us uncompetitive and vulnerable to geopolitical shocks.

    We can build a secure, prosperous future, but only if we start the work of transforming our national energy infrastructure now, by increasing energy efficiency and reducing dependence on imported fossil fuels.

    Being at the cutting edge of new technologies in the energy industry is precisely the action that is needed to prevent the power cuts the Government is predicting by 2017, and it ensures that Britain’s consumers and businesses are protected against the consequences of volatile and rising oil prices into the future.

    We need to make the transition to a low carbon economy urgently, and I hope you’ll agree that our plans for a Low Carbon Economy will help create hundreds of thousands of jobs, raise skills and improve Britain’s competitiveness.

    Thank you, once again, for taking the time and trouble to write.

    Yours sincerely,
    Alice Sheffield

    Office of David Cameron MP
    House of Commons
    London SW1A 0AA

    The UK is doomed!

  66. There is nothing to be gained from throwing dirt in an engine, and nothing to be gained from geoengineering. The consequences of both are identical.
    The Earth does not need any help performing its planetary duties.
    The proposers of geoengineering are not qualifed to play God.

  67. I suspect we can’t afford to raise a significant amount of seawater mass. “Brilliant” ideas don’t necessarily scale well. Hurricanes must loft a lot of sea spray. What effect does that have? Zippo. Greens can’t do anything effective – other than wreck the world economy.

  68. How much carbon is put into the atmosphere by designing, fabricating, operating, maintaining and decommissioning these sprayers versus what is the lifetime radiative cooling that is produced?

    If you don’t know the answer, then move on to the next mental masterbation.

  69. onion2: “but not apparently if that messing involves elevating CO2 levels to millions of year highs. No that’s just fine.”

    In 1998 in Java there was a peat fire that released almost as much CO2 as the yearly output of human beings. Similar fires used to sweep North America. We put them out now before they get going. Thats a positive form of geoengineering.

    We have burned down and cleared vast quantities of land so we can feed ourselves.

    Maybe we should stop that kind of geoengineering?

    Simplistic thinking about CO2 is dangerous, since almost all the climate models are a joke. Recent evidence — cooling — proves CO2 produced by man is irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.

  70. Mike says:
    April 16, 2011 at 7:31 am
    Adding CO2 to the atmosphere is geo-engineering.
    ——————————————————
    Mike – More desperate stuff from you. With a statement like this my guess is that you won’t be happy until we return to the pre fire age. – get real Mike.

    Douglas

  71. Willis Eschenbach’s comment on April 15, 2011 at 10:41 am prompted me to re-read his “Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud“. You may all benefit from reading that one. Have a look at a few numbers with him and, well – a good laugh is good for you!

  72. This puts me in mind of a movie I saw when I was much younger: “Crack in the World” (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0059065/)

    In the movie, a subsurface nuclear explosion opens a massive crack in the earth’s crust that threatens to literally split the earth in two. Faced with the certain destruction of the planet, scientists finally figure out a way to stop the crack – by setting off a nuclear explosion in its path!

    In the movie, of course, this crazy idea works. I think these “climate scientists” must have watched the movie but believed it was a documentary rather than fiction…

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