Ship sprayed seawater cloud making V2.0

Willis covered this before on WUWT, with Every Silver Lining Has A Cloud. Its baaaack.

Figure 1. Artist’s conception of cloud-making ships. Of course, the first storm would flip this over immediately, but heck, it’s only a fantasy, so who cares? SOURCE

From the University of Washington  and the Royal Society

Experiment would test cloud geoengineering as way to slow warming

Even though it sounds like science fiction, researchers are taking a second look at a controversial idea that uses futuristic ships to shoot salt water high into the sky over the oceans, creating clouds that reflect sunlight and thus counter global warming.

University of Washington atmospheric physicist Rob Wood describes a possible way to run an experiment to test the concept on a small scale in a comprehensive paper published this month in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society.

The point of the paper — which includes updates on the latest study into what kind of ship would be best to spray the salt water into the sky, how large the water droplets should be and the potential climatological impacts — is to encourage more scientists to consider the idea of marine cloud brightening and even poke holes in it. He and a colleague detail an experiment to test the concept.

“What we’re trying to do is make the case that this is a beneficial experiment to do,” Wood said. With enough interest in cloud brightening from the scientific community, funding for an experiment may become possible, he said.

The theory behind so-called marine cloud brightening is that adding particles, in this case sea salt, to the sky over the ocean would form large, long-lived clouds. Clouds appear when water forms around particles. Since there is a limited amount of water in the air, adding more particles creates more, but smaller, droplets.

“It turns out that a greater number of smaller drops has a greater surface area, so it means the clouds reflect a greater amount of light back into space,” Wood said. That creates a cooling effect on Earth.

Marine cloud brightening is part of a broader concept known as geoengineering which encompasses efforts to use technology to manipulate the environment. Brightening, like other geoengineering proposals, is controversial for its ethical and political ramifications and the uncertainty around its impact. But those aren’t reasons not to study it, Wood said.

“I would rather that responsible scientists test the idea than groups that might have a vested interest in proving its success,” he said. The danger with private organizations experimenting with geoengineering is that “there is an assumption that it’s got to work,” he said.

Wood and his colleagues propose trying a small-scale experiment to test feasibility and begin to study effects. The test should start by deploying sprayers on a ship or barge to ensure that they can inject enough particles of the targeted size to the appropriate elevation, Wood and a colleague wrote in the report. An airplane equipped with sensors would study the physical and chemical characteristics of the particles and how they disperse.

The next step would be to use additional airplanes to study how the cloud develops and how long it remains. The final phase of the experiment would send out five to 10 ships spread out across a 100 kilometer, or 62 mile, stretch. The resulting clouds would be large enough so that scientists could use satellites to examine them and their ability to reflect light.

Wood said there is very little chance of long-term effects from such an experiment. Based on studies of pollutants, which emit particles that cause a similar reaction in clouds, scientists know that the impact of adding particles to clouds lasts only a few days.

Still, such an experiment would be unusual in the world of climate science, where scientists observe rather than actually try to change the atmosphere.

Wood notes that running the experiment would advance knowledge around how particles like pollutants impact the climate, although the main reason to do it would be to test the geoengineering idea.

A phenomenon that inspired marine cloud brightening is ship trails: clouds that form behind the paths of ships crossing the ocean, similar to the trails that airplanes leave across the sky. Ship trails form around particles released from burning fuel.

But in some cases ship trails make clouds darker. “We don’t really know why that is,” Wood said.

Despite increasing interest from scientists like Wood, there is still strong resistance to cloud brightening.

“It’s a quick-fix idea when really what we need to do is move toward a low-carbon emission economy, which is turning out to be a long process,” Wood said. “I think we ought to know about the possibilities, just in case.”

The authors of the paper are treading cautiously.

“We stress that there would be no justification for deployment of [marine cloud brightening] unless it was clearly established that no significant adverse consequences would result. There would also need to be an international agreement firmly in favor of such action,” they wrote in the paper’s summary.

###

There are 25 authors on the paper, including scientists from University of Leeds, University of Edinburgh and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. The lead author is John Latham of the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the University of Manchester, who pioneered the idea of marine cloud brightening.

Wood’s research was supported by the UW College of the Environment Institute.

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135 thoughts on “Ship sprayed seawater cloud making V2.0

  1. “It turns out that a greater number of smaller drops has a greater surface area, so it means the clouds reflect a greater amount of light back into space,” Wood said. That creates a cooling effect on Earth.”

    Um, er……………..but this is the exact opposite of the cornerstone of CAGW theory – more clouds mean more heat is retained, at least so sayeth the high priests of the global warming industry. Big feedbacks etc.

  2. I’ve a better idea: Built more coal fired power plants (or nuclear if you’re really concerned about CO2). Each one of those babies has at least a pair of cooling towers that vents water vapor up the wazzou.

  3. If you want to brighten marine clouds, we already know how to do that. Steam ships burning lots of high sulfur coal.

  4. This experiment might be interesting, but it would probably be worthwhile to wait until Kirkby’s CLOUD experiment at CERN has output more complete data, since that knowledge would provide important bases for their experiment design.

  5. Wouldn’t the power requirements be enormous? Which CO2 spewing fuel would be required to power these ships.

  6. I wonder if a billion years ago venus and mars were teeming with intelligent life until some idiot came along and decided that geoengineering was a good idea.

  7. Let’s see we’re going to use megawatts or gigawatts of energy which will cause warming — in an attempt to prevent warming??

    Sounds like something a university intellectual could embrace!!

  8. I see, the same folks that insist we stop using oil, gas, and coal, with all those clear and obviously devastating consequences for humanity, now insist that we can’t do anything else “unless it was clearly established that no significant adverse consequences would result.” Hypocrites.

  9. “I would rather that responsible scientists test the idea than groups that might have a vested interest in proving its success,” he said. The danger with private organizations experimenting with geoengineering is that “there is an assumption that it’s got to work,” he said.

    Priceless

  10. So how much power is required to shoot the sea water into the air? is the CO2 created (and therefore the ‘forcing’) from this power generation source offset by the solar energy the clouds are blocking?
    . .ooh I have an idea along this line – the ship can have its own wind turbines attached to it to generalte the electricity to run the pumps that shoot the sea water into the air . . . :-)

  11. physicist Rob Wood,philosophical transactions??? WTF? Which is he,a physicist or a philospher?
    If a physicist,thank whoever he was nowhere near the Manhatten Project. And the design of that cloud making thingie.Couldn’t he find any marine engineers?

  12. On the scientific merits alone, I can’t see a reason not to run the experiments. More knowledge is always better than less. This could also boomerang on the Warmanistas, if it turns out that it could work and if it turns out that it’s, say, 1/10 the cost of the various carbon trading schemes now making the rounds. Then the skeptics could say, “Hey, even if you’re right, here’s a solution that costs less than yours, unless you just really want to kill poor people by making energy unaffordable.”

  13. Why do we want to bring on an ice age…haven’t these people looked at the geologic record and see we are very close to the long-term glaciation temperature line. (Of course the amount of energy require to send that stuff into the atmosphere is probably going take a lot of “Evil Oil” to be burned in the ships – or are these nuclear powered top-heavy vessels that we are going to have to worry about spilling reactor fuel when the first rogue wave capsizes it.)

  14. “Still, such an experiment would be unusual in the world of climate science, where scientists observe rather than actually try to change the atmosphere.”

    Really, I thought climate science was about making up models that are poor predictors of observations or about “adjusting” the observations so that it makes the science look better.

    Also, have they even considered the amount of energy that it will take to generate these water droplets? Driving that much water up vertically, then atomizing the water into droplets is going to use lots and lots of fossil fuel. Unless they do it near a wind farm.

  15. From “SOURCE”
    1,900 ships worldwide………. .
    Pardon the pun, but they would just provide a drop in the ocean.
    I don’t think so.
    Unless we are back to 1st. April yet again.

  16. And if they’re wrong about CAGW and the earth actually needs to be warmed up, we can reverse the pumps and use the ship to suck clouds out of the air? Just askin’.

  17. These climate/geo-engineering schemes scare me even more than if Hansen’s worst case climate model was true. For instance, I can totally see a co2 sequestration projection going horribly wrong and killing as many people as Lake Nyos. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Nyos

    Or imagine if they did manage to lower global temps unnaturally, imagine the death from the cold. Not to mention, I swear some people think any co2 is bad, imagine if they somehow managed to drop CO2 below 176ppm. Goodbye plants.

    These people are pure nutcases that scare the crap out of me.

  18. Still no word on the legal implication of all these efforts…say, if all that salt were to fall on cultivated areas and burn them to the ground, who would pay? And what will protect the geoengineers from giant class actions after the first post-deployment storm or frost?

  19. Ack says: Wouldn’t the power requirements be enormous? Which CO2 spewing fuel would be required to power these ships.

    Well of course they’d be solar powered … errr, ahhh, oh wait …never mind.

  20. And what were the effects of the H-Bomb test at the Bikini Atoll?
    Have these boys bothered to study that. It put a lot of salt water in vapor form into the atmosphere.

  21. Umm doesn’t water vapor have a much larger greenhouse effect than about anything else? Wouldn’t this just create lots of water vapor? Are they crazy?

  22. as a geotechnical engineer, I respecfully ask, nay I insist, that I am not in anyway associated with these bozos…………on the other hand, that grant money may be handy…..LOL!

  23. You have to love the thinking of prophets of doom. To fix the problems of humans altering the earth’s climate they are going to alter earth’s climate.

  24. And if they kick us prematurely into the next glacial period, do we get to flagellate them publicly?

  25. Justthinkin says:
    August 20, 2012 at 2:21 pm
    physicist Rob Wood,philosophical transactions??? WTF? Which is he,a physicist or a philospher?
    ——————————————————————————————————————————
    ‘Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society’ is the name of the society’s journal. From the days when what is now called science was known as Natural Philosophy.
    (And when the RS was a scientific organisation)

  26. Not that there is a warming problem to worry about, but by far the cheapest way of getting particulates into stratosphere for a bit of “volcanic” cooling is to fire off really large thermonuclear bombs at or slightly below ground level. Big fusion bombs like the 50Megatonne Tsar Bomba are very clean too and probably only cost a few 10’s of millions.

    Uninhabited parts of the Artic in Canada, Alaska and Siberia would be ideal for this purpose. perhaps parts of Antartica, Australia, Gobi and Sahara too.

  27. “There are 25 authors on the paper” … I think Willis’ rule about the inverse relationship between the number of authors and the quality of the science of the paper applies here.

  28. Well, I never thought I’d feel that WUWT was getting as self-absorbed, petty-minded and resistant to science as the warmist blogs, but some of the responses above remind me of Tamino’s Open Mind and Skeptical Science, where anything against the flow meets with howls of rejection from the packs of little jackels who cluster round the big beasts.

    For those convinced that the proposal will use enormous amounts of power to push the particles up to the cloud layer (the boundary layer is only around 2000 ft, or it was when I used to fly over the sea), or that it will make the rain salty, or… well, the rest of the stuff which gives denialism a bad name, ask Willis how far out he was with his calculations on just those matters.

    Here’s the situation: the ocean makes salt particles, billions, trillions a second. Turbulence takes those particles up to a cooler level where they aid in the condensing of water vapour. No-one has to make the vapour, that comes free courtesy of Nature.

    Large areas of the ocean are short of salt particles, so that even though there is a lot of water vapour it exists in a saturated condition, as, if you like, a greenhouse gas. All it needs to condense is a condensation nucleus, and billions of those can be easily and cheaply generated by wind-power from one of Salter and Latham’s cloud ships. It’s cheap in power and money terms, so for a few million dollars courtesy Mr Gates we can make those billions of particles. Then the turbulence will loft them to the cooler cloudbase where they will make droplets. Is there turbulence? Yes, that’s the definition of the boundary layer. Will those droplets cool the area? We don’t know, although commonsense says they will. So how do we find out? We do the science, we _carry out an experiment_,

    If my Kriegesmarine Hypothesis is correct we will just be replacing particles that oil and surfactant pollution are now suppressing. We need the numbers, we need the science, we need the experiment. The throwaway remark that ‘all that’s needed is to stop taking the sulphur out of ships’ fuel is facile; no numbers will result and science is about numbers. Then we do the necessary other experiment, we take a tanker full of light oil and deliberately spill it to see what we are doing to the oceans with all the stuff we are pumping down our rivers. A city of 5 million people spills as much oil just from drips on its roads as is dumped by a major tanker disaster. What is that doing to the generation of salt particles*? Experiment, let’s try it.

    Someone is trying to do science with the climate, real science, not models and adjusted temperatures. i cannot understand why here, at WUWT of all places, people are so against it. Anthony began this whole huge empire by painting Stevenson screens with whitewash and modern paints and measuring the difference. That is science. So is this proposal. I think we should welcome it.

    Embrace the scientific method. It won’t let you down.

    JF
    Google ‘NASA ship tracks’. Google the new ‘blue marble’ picture of the Earth and zoom in to the mouth of the Mississippi**. Look for the pictures of the Gulf oil spill and see what the pollution is doing to the clouds. Then think about the things you see.

    *
    **
    There are various possible explanations of what’s going on in the blue marble picture of the Mississippi. I’d like someone to do some science on the surface water as it spreads onto the Gulf.

  29. Rather than attempting to spray water into the atmosphere wouldn’t it be more efficient to find a means to raise the sea surface temperature and so transfer moisture to the atmosphere by simple evaporation. Does that process sound familiar to anyone?

  30. Wood and his colleagues propose trying a small-scale experiment to test feasibility and begin to study effects.

    The effects of injecting particles into the atmosphere are seen in every city in the world, every week. It’s called the Weekend Effect. More clouds during the week than at weekends.

    This is well known, yet there has never been a published study on how this effects minimum, maximum or average temperatures.

    Inconvenient truth, anyone?

  31. jim2 says:

    quote
    They need to be figuring out how to warm the Earth instead.
    unquote

    If spilt oil really has a warming effect (various reasons, reduction in cloud cover, plankton changes, reduction in albedo and emissivity etc) then just dumping light oil on the oceans should do it. I think we should do the experiment off… ooh, Tahiti would do. Bags I supervise.

    JF

  32. tom in indy says:
    August 20, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    I wonder if a billion years ago venus and mars were teeming with intelligent life until some idiot came along and decided that geoengineering was a good idea.
    ————————————

    I will have to “borrow” tom’s quote….

  33. Everyone should visit Charleville in Queensland Australia where they have a display of the cannons used to shoot silver nitrate into clounds in an attempt to break a serious drought in 1902 – yes apparently serious drought occurred long before CO2 started its inexorable upwards march.

    It failed.

  34. // Sarcasm //
    Why no cover the state of California with aluminum foil ?

    The sunlight would be reflected back into space and the California’s Legislature would agree to any stupid idea.

    (NOTE: I live in California, so this idea isn’t as bad as some of the other half backed ideas we had.)

  35. In terms of “unintended side effects” of large scale geo-climatic and environmental engineering, we should remember what is claimed to have happened to Mao Tse Tung when he had the Chinese population go on a massive sparrow-killing campaign cuz the scientists said the li’l buggers were eating too much grain that people needed.

    They killed off the sparrows and the following two years saw 30 million people die from famine as the bugs, no longer getting gobbled by sparrows, ate all the grain!

    I don’t know how solid that tale is, but here’s a news clip on it:

    – MJM

  36. “He and a colleague detail an experiment to test the concept.”

    Well, testing is at least real science. But my money is on it being falsified – as in BIG failure.

    Steve Garcia

  37. So let me explain how I understand this. The AGW folks want to increase the cloud cover to reflect solar energy back into space, thereby lowering the Earth’s temperature. At the same time, they want to abolish traditional energy sources, and force our reliance on ‘Green’ energy, namely solar. So these cloud ships, presumably powered by solar panels, make clouds which block the sun rendering the solar panels useless.

    If you want to destroy civilization you’d call it a brilliant plan. The rest of us call it madness.

  38. How about a fleet of cigar boats at racing at full speed raising rooster tails instead. Available technology and more fun.

  39. When this last came up, I laughed till my abs hurt. Though I wish them well (they will need a miracle), it is the most numb nuts idea I’ve seen in all my years.

    Steve Garcia

  40. The could power them with windmills. The faster they go, the more power they could generate.

    No, wait, isn’t there an obesity epidemic? Treadmills! Maybe both, we’ll need to replace the lost solar power.

    Maybe we could just chrome-plate Russia and India, they like Bling, right?

  41. And of course, spraying water vapour into the air raises the specific heat potential, slowing down the cooling effects of convection. DOH !!!

  42. Can we conclude the authors agree with Dr. Spencer and not with Dessler and Trenberth?

    The following is from Dr. Spencer’s article:

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2011/09/a-primer-on-our-claim-that-clouds-cause-temperature-change/

    “The Dessler and Trenberth contrary view – as near as I can tell – is that clouds cannot cause temperature change, unless those cloud changes were themselves caused by some previous temperature change. In other words, they believe cloud changes can always be traced to some prior temperature change. This temperature-forcing-clouds direction of causation is “cloud feedback”.

    Put more simply, Dessler and Trenberth believe causation between temperature and clouds only flows in one direction :

    Temperature Change => Cloud Change,

    whereas we and others believe (and have demonstrated) it flows in both directions,

    Temperature Change Cloud Change.”

  43. If these people are looking for a cooling method with no significant negative effect, then they are wasting their time looking at this idea. All of these shading ideas like space mirrors, high altitude sulfur injection, and cloud spraying, share a common flaw, they reduce the amount of sunlight that reaches the surface. That is going to make for less photosynthisis. The greenhouse effect with CO2 doesn’t work by increasing the amount of sunlight that reaches the surface, it works by slowing the departure of energy into space. Shading doesn’t fix the problem, it just counters it with an opposing harmful effect. I think it might still be a good idea, but I don’t think it is time to start spending money to research it yet because we can stand to wait to see if the recent leveling off of temps holds.

  44. Aren’t more clouds supposed to be positive feedback warming; ah ; just forget that; it’s only the high clouds that cause warming; you know the ones that are too high to cast a shadow.

    I’m NOT a mechanical engineer, nor a chemist, so I have no idea what the design function of those anticlastic surfaces is, so maybe these researchers can enlighten us. I can attaest to them having no useful optical function whatsoever, and sailboats try to avoid anticlastic surfaces at all costs, so they can’t be for motive power.

    Maybe it’s for that green feel good purpose; you know, the hope and change thing. I can see putting out to sea in that thing and hoping to see some change in something. Wouldn’t they be better off extruding the clouds from the bottom since low clouds are supposed to cool more than high clouds; Dang I’ve got it; those bloody things are bellows assemblies, so they can crank them up and down to extrude the clouds, at what eveer altitude it takes to produce the required amount of cooling.

    Jim Hansen can be given control of the bellows, because he’s pretty good at cranking things up and down. You crank yesterday’s observations down, and you crank tomorrows predictions; excuse me that’s projections; up.

    Looks like an Italian designer to me; they are pretty good at the avant garde styling sans function; some beautiful Disco Volante motor cars they designed over half a century ago.

  45. Rosco says:
    ” serious drought in 1902 – yes apparently serious drought occurred long before CO2 started its inexorable upwards march”.

    Rubbish !!.. Australia NEVER had ay droughts before about 1950.

    Not around the time of Federation anyway, they just made up the term “Federation Drought” to fool people in the future

    Australia’s climate was totally benign before CO2 came into being in the 1980’s .

    /sarc

  46. You mean a ship with 1000 square meters of sail does not flip over but this one will, even without sails? How did you learn that? What if you put a fin to the bottom? What if you simply construct one that doesn’t flip, which is coincidencially what ship designers do? Why not just go with the notion that if one were ever built of course it would not flip? Artists’ renditions of space ships and satellites also wouldn’t fly, but we do not let artists build anything in real life.

    If we were to build more nuclear power stations, we would get the cloud making for free from the cooling towers ;)

  47. The latest edition of Physics Today has a very interesting article about jobs for PhD Physicists.

    Atomic and Molecular Physicists are sort of at the bottom of the barrel in a sense. There seems to be the fewest temporary jobs available for PhDs in that group, maybe for 1% or less of graduate PhDs in that field. So what happens to the rest ? Well maybe 24%, one in four actually get a permanent job; well they say “potentially ” permanent, and we all know the value of that word in science. So three out of four are doomed to take post doctoral appointments; whatever that is.

    Astronomy and Astrophysics PhDs have about five times as many temporary possibilites, but only about 21% possibly permanent positions, but slightly fewer post doc appointments than at the wee end of the physics scale.

    Top of the heap is “Applied Physics” (fancy that). with just less than 50% post doc appoinments, and about 47% “possibly” permanent jobs; followed by Materials science with similar numbers, and Optics and Photonics starting the upward trend in post doc appointments, and about 35% possibly permanent job opportunities.

    Over all categories of PhD graduates, it seems there are only 30% possibly permanent job opportunities.

    So what the hell did I know 55 years ago when I exited academia as a graduated undergraduate, and went into Applied Physics, and Optics & Photonics, with some minor dabbling in Materials science (solid state Physics).

    Seemed like a good plan at the time; at least I’ve never been without either a job or in field work since then.

  48. If we were to build more nuclear power stations, we would get the cloud making for free from the cooling towers ;)

    Getting rid of the electrostatic precipitators from coal fired power stations would be much more effective. They were mandated in the USA in 1977. Co-incidentally(?), the time when temperatures started to rise.

  49. “I would rather that responsible scientists test the idea than groups that might have a vested interest in proving its success,” he said.
    The Rent Boys of Cake Science don’t trust engineers because we like to make things actually work.

  50. @Ack. You wrote: “Wouldn’t the power requirements be enormous? Which CO2 spewing fuel would be required to power these ships.”

    Nope. Doesn’t count if it’s green.

  51. The geoengineering climate scientists are the true mad scientists of today who are literally obsessed with trying out their little pet projects on the climate no matter what the inherent risks may be.

    Planes dropping sulfates into the stratosphere (duh, that is where the Ozone layer is and what do sulfates do to Ozone). Shooting salt water into the layer where clouds form? What about bird life in the way, what about marine animals which will sucked up into the pumps? How do you keep your ship afloat when the each action provides an equal and opposite reaction force sinks the ship in about 2 seconds. Hopefully no person will be on board when they turn on the pumps shooting water 1 km into the air because the ship will be driven downwards by the same 1 km.

    Obsessive compulsive disorder with fixation on mad scientist / climate scientist ideas.

  52. People are missing the point, here and in the Great Barrier Reef posting. Scientists who suggest small-scale solutions which can be tested and implemented run the serious risk of being proven wrong. Scientists who suggest nutjob mega-schemes which can’t be put into practice can NEVER be proven wrong, and can go on lecturing, writing and enjoying the respect and admiration of their colleagues for many decades. Why mess with reality when you can do much better by fantasising?

  53. Merovign says:
    August 20, 2012 at 5:09 pm
    The could power them with windmills. The faster they go, the more power they could generate.

    No, wait, isn’t there an obesity epidemic? Treadmills! Maybe both, we’ll need to replace the lost solar power.
    ====================================================================
    The answer to the power problem is simple. Take all the dogs from all the animal shelters and spread them out over the fleet of clown …er… cloud ships. Put an anaerobic digester on each and, voila!, we’re all saved!

  54. But what happens when the ocean is de-salinated? Will we then need to build a fleet of airships to gather up the salt and sprinkle it back into the ocean before the land plants suffer from salted-rain?

  55. @Bill Illis: They just have to make it really really buoyant and make sure the weight of the material ejected upward doesn’t weigh more than the added bouyancy….ooh I know, they can have paired pumps, one ejecting down and one ejecting up. The added mixing of warm surface water at depth should really help that global warming thing by pushing the surface heat safely out of reach at the bottom of the ocean. Then in the thousand or so years it takes it to work back to the surface, maybe it will stave off the peak of the next glaciation cycle. Our Great X30 grandchildren can thank us then for the warmth! /sarc.

  56. A number of you have expressed concern about the stability of the ship and that it looks likely to capsize easily. Please don’t be concerned, climate scientists have modelled the stability to an accuracy of 6 dp and found the design to be extremely stable. They are now looking for a suitable name, might I suggest the ‘Mary Rose’.

  57. So they are going to seed clouds with SALT WATER. What happens when those clouds drift over land and drop their salt water as rain?

  58. Jonathan Smith says:
    August 20, 2012 at 8:05 pm
    …They are now looking for a suitable name, might I suggest the ‘Mary Rose’.
    ====================================================================
    The United Nations’ Ships:
    UNS Airhead?
    UNS ShakeorBake?

  59. I don’t have time to change this but, then again, maybe there’s no need to.

    Joni Mitchell
    Both Sides, Now
    (2nd and 3rd stanzas)

    But now they only block the sun
    They rain and snow on everyone
    So many things I would have done
    But clouds got in my way

    I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
    From up and down, and still somehow
    It’s cloud illusions I recall
    I really don’t know clouds at all

  60. Spraying water in the air sounds like science fiction?

    I did that as a kid with a garden hose. I had no idea it was THAT advanced.

  61. Bill Illis says:
    August 20, 2012 at 6:49 pm
    How do you keep your ship afloat when the each action provides an equal and opposite reaction force sinks the ship in about 2 seconds. Hopefully no person will be on board when they turn on the pumps shooting water 1 km into the air because the ship will be driven downwards by the same 1 km.

    That all depends on the masses involved. Suppose a 100 kg man were to shoot up 1 kg of water 1 km into the air over a period of 2 seconds. And let us assume this man was lying on a flotation device in the water while shooting the water up. How far would the man sink into the water?

    Of course the validity of any assumptions made determine how far off our number are. But if we assume no air resistance, the speed of the water at ground level to reach 1 km would be 140 m/s. This is found using vf2 = vi2 + 2ad. The force up equals the force down, so since the times are the same at 2 seconds, we can say that m(change in v) = m(change in v). So if 1 kg of water goes at 140 m/s, the 100 kg man goes down at 1.4 m/s. In order to go 1.4 m/s, using vf2 = vi2 + 2ad, this would be the same as if the man were to be dropped 0.1 m or 10 cm. So in this scenario, the man would not sink far at all in the flotation device. So even if we doubled things to allow for air resistance, the man would not sink far.

  62. [i]Wood said there is very little chance of long-term effects from such an experiment. [/i]
    Yeah, that’s what they said in the Highlander movie too, just before their world went dark.
    I jest, but this is even more looney than a science fiction movie theory. Well, but, this is exactly what this is.

    They want to combat the theory of fossil-fueled caused global warming by using massive amounts of fossil-fuels to try and pump … sorry.. SPRITZ .. salt-water droplets up to the upper cloud layer.

    Isn’t the upper cloud layer several miles in the atmosphere? How much fuel and pump power would it take to do that on such a massive scale to cover the entire globe?

    Good lord, please save us from the imbeciles.

  63. “What we’re trying to do is make the case that this is a beneficial experiment to do,”
    But if clouds are a negative feedback, then it would be a bad experiment to do.

  64. I am not an engineer, nor am I an “environmentalist” by any stretch of the imagination. What I am is an artist with a talent for working with computers.

    Even so, being someone whose art depends upon maintaining a semblance of “balance” for a piece to look natural or even semi-realistic, even I can see that the base of this ship and the pontoons sticking out the sides are woefully inadequate to support the towers jutting straight up. Others have commented that it would capsize in the first storm to hit it. I think it would capsize when the first decent-sized wave hits it, storm or no storm. It’s preposterous.

  65. I don’t know where my mind went to I meant to say “But if clouds are a POSITIVE feedback, then it would be a bad experiment to do.”

  66. Cant we just increase evaporation by say pumping water over the land where we otherwise wouldn’t normally get any evaporation? We may as well pump that water over crops for maximum benefit. Actually no, what was I thinking, bring on the pump boat!

  67. From the post:
    The theory behind so-called marine cloud brightening is that adding particles, in this case sea salt, to the sky over the ocean would form large, long-lived clouds. Clouds appear when water forms around particles.

    Then there is this in comments:

    Matt says:
    August 20, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    “If we were to build more nuclear power stations, we would get the cloud making for free from the cooling towers ;)

    As usual, I think I have missed an important component of this issue, but do, nonetheless, have a favorable opinion regarding nuclear power.

  68. Well it seems that this whole climatechangemanmadeglobalwarmingarthropodgeniccatastrophictippingpoint business, as well as the green energy revolution; excuse me, that’s insurrection, are simply modern make work projects to keep busy the otherwise 70% unemployable PhD Physicists who tragically learned more and more about less and less, until all of those jobs were filled.

    I seem to recall that Neuschwannstein was just a 19th century make work project that crazy King Ludwig came up with to keep all the artisans of Bavaria busy. Well come to think of it, didn’t Franz Kafka write a yarn about a scheme that kept everybody in two cities on opposite sides of a river busy for ever, basically working to undo the “damage” that the other city did. I think the modern word for it it is “featherbedding or something close to that.

    So what we need now is some gummint agency to put up some borrowed or stolen or printed money, for some of the unemployed to build a flock of these steam engines, to try out. You need a flock of them, because the math schools also turn out a bunch of PhD statisticians, who also have to be kept busy, and you can’t do statistics on a one trick pony !

  69. The idea that small droplets create more reflective clouds is yet another part of the climate science fraud. It works for thin clouds but look out of the window and you’ll eventually see that rain clouds reflect most light, and it’s the large droplets that create the effect.

    This scam was put out by NASA in 2004 to justify AR4’s claim of -0.7 W/m^2 net AIE. In reality the effect is the reverse sign and the real AGW,. plus it causes the end of ice ages [there can be no CO2-AGW from fundamental IR physics].

    The physical explanation is that there are two optical effects: Sagan only considered one.

  70. Rujholla says: August 20, 2012 at 2:52 pm Umm doesn’t water vapor have a much larger greenhouse effect than about anything else? Wouldn’t this just create lots of water vapor? Are they crazy?

    No, it’s that you just fail to appreciate that global warming makes the climate warmer and colder with more wetness and dryness. So it only makes sense that more water vapor can selectively, (see Murphy’s law of selective scientific explanations), create more and less positive negative feedback thereby driving climate change to extremes – just like they’ve always asserted.

  71. TomT says:
    August 20, 2012 at 9:20 pm
    ““What we’re trying to do is make the case that this is a beneficial experiment to do,”
    But if clouds are a negative feedback, then it would be a bad experiment to do.”

    If clouds are a negative feedback, then more clouds lead to less clouds until an equilibrium is reached. Artificially produced clouds would lead to less natural clouds but the sum of the clouds would stay the same, all else being equal. So, it would be a “bad” experiment insofar as it would be a waste of money, but otherwise harmless.

  72. Having read none of the comments to this posting it makes it easier for me to say WTF.
    AGW has us believe that a three fold increase of temperature from the CO2 feed back is caused by increased water vapour ? Now they believe that more water vapour cools the Earth, sorry they can not have their cake and it too. So now increased water vapour is a negative feed back, that means CO2 is a crock.

  73. “It turns out that a greater number of smaller drops has a greater surface area, so it means the clouds reflect a greater amount of light back into space,” Wood said.
    ————————————————

    Geez, did they have to do an experiment to find that out? Why did they not just ask a pilot what the brightest and thus most reflective clouds are?

  74. I remember a large campaign to get rid of Acid rain -it was killing trees and doing all sorts of damage. Now they propose to have alkali rain?

  75. I would not concerned about the stability of the ship, it is the stability of these scientists that concerns me….

  76. captainfish says: August 20, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    quote
    [i]Wood said there is very little chance of long-term effects from such an experiment. [/i]
    Yeah, that’s what they said in the Highlander* movie too, just before their world went dark.
    I jest, but this is even more looney than a science fiction movie theory. Well, but, this is exactly what this is.
    unquote

    You say that as if it’s a bad thing. If more people applied an SF mindset to the guff they’re fed by the MSM then we’d all be a lot more able to pick sensible holes in suggestions like these ships*. The trouble is, people are just looking at the picture and sounding off. It’s a serious engineering proposal (Salter is a great engineer — some civil servant decided his Salter Duck generating system wouldn’t produce much power by calculating that it would produce only a tenth of what Salter had worked out — later the civil servant was found to have got his numbers wrong, but what the hell, that’s civil servants for you.) The proposal is to do some science on aerosol effects over the ocean, increasing our understanding of clouds. Look at the IPCC level of scientific understanding of clouds. At the moment they can get away with gross hand-waving where oceanic albedo is concerned, using it as a fudge factor to make the models work. Remove the uncertainty and we can show up the models for what they are, computer dreamlands with no connection to the real world. Or not, depending on the results of the experiment. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather like to firm up the science: ignorance is getting to be rather expensive.

    quote
    They want to combat the theory of fossil-fueled caused global warming by using massive amounts of fossil-fuels to try and pump … sorry.. SPRITZ .. salt-water droplets up to the upper cloud layer.
    unquote

    No they don’t. The ships are wind-powered. The big bellows (‘bellows’, ye gods, does anyone read anything before venting?) are actually Flettner rotors which are much easier to manage than conventional sails and so reduce the manning requirements for the global cooling fleet should it ever be required.

    quote
    Isn’t the upper cloud layer several miles in the atmosphere?
    unquote

    Yes. I’ve been through the anvil of tropical thunderstorms at 45,000 ft and cirrus at the same sort of level. Those clouds are not affected by what these ships are designed to do. The cloud that matters here is low level stuff, the stuff that forms when the aerosols generated by waves hit a cooler layer and cause water vapour to condense. The albedo of smooth water is effectively zero, that of the cloud formed at the boundary layer is about 70. In the latter case, 70% of the incident sun energy is bounced straight back into space, ignoring any CO2 molecules which only retard re-radiated long wave radiation. So, these low level clouds are the major cooling influence over the oceans and our understanding of them, according to the really really top experts in the IPCC is either low or very low. And people are objecting to an experiment designed to study them? Ye. Gods.

    quote
    How much fuel and pump power would it take to do that on such a massive scale to cover the entire globe?
    unquote

    We had, briefly, Dr Salter responding on a WUWT thread but he went away in disgust, probably because of the wilful ignoring of what he actually wrote. Let me give my understanding of the proposal, briefly, so people can reject the proposal with some knowledge of what it actually is. Please note, I’ve not studied it in any depth, but I have read the paper.

    A wind-powered vessel, almost fully automated, is deployed in areas of the ocean known to be deficient in the aerosols essential for cloud formation. Its Flettner rotors provide motive power and drive spinning discs onto which a stream of water flows. The water atomises into very small droplets which are ejected with a low upward velocity into the atmosphere. The relative humidity is such that the droplets dry into minute particles and float around in the boundary layer, that area of turbulence just above the surface. Many fall but billions, trillions, lofted by the natural turbulence, reach the higher relative humidity zone and attract water vapour. Typically that’s 2000 ft but it can be much lower. Droplets form, reflective droplets which bounce back IR radiation and cool the ocean surface. At each stage of the process we are using natural energy apart from the initial aerosol production, so the whole thing is a great free ride. The tiny initial investment in producing a minute droplet is repaid a million-fold by the formation of a much bigger cloud droplet at exactly the right place later in the process.

    You can see aerosol and salt particle production on any beach. Watch as wave-produced bubbles sizzle on the pebbles and see the tiny droplets waft away on the breeze. This is no Frankenstein experiment destined to go wrong and freeze us all, it’s an examination of a natural process which is going on all over the ocean every time oceanic wind speeds get above Force 4 and whitecaps form. The white is bubbles, bursting bubbles, tiny factories for aerosols.

    Part of the problem with the way people address this proposal is the mismatch between what they think is needed in power terms and what is really required. I find it helpful to think of the stratocumulus layer as being like the control grid of a triode valve, where small modulations produce enormous effects, amplification by millions. Try thinking of it in those terms and it might help. It will certainly help those who expect millions of tons of water to be shot skywards at such speed that the ships would be driven under water.

    quote
    Good lord, please save us from the imbeciles.
    unquote.

    Here we can agree.

    JF
    *If you think Highlander is SF then you’ve been misled. Highlander is fantasy. SF is where at the limit you can’t even use warp drives: it makes for an interesting writing exercise and you end up with collections of SF short stories and novels like Children of a Greater God, all available now on Amazo….

  77. Ben Wilson says:
    August 20, 2012 at 2:14 pm
    Let’s see we’re going to use megawatts or gigawatts of energy which will cause warming — in an attempt to prevent warming?

    First;
    Watts are power flows. One gigawatt for one nanosec is one (1) watt-second. What you need to track is gigawatt-hours.

    Second;
    Trivial. You’re orders of magnitude short of warming the atmosphere. Get up to terawatt-hours or higher, and you’re on the lower fringes. (Trillions of watt-hours).

  78. wayne Job says:
    August 21, 2012 at 2:11 am

    Having read none of the comments to this posting it makes it easier for me to say WTF.
    AGW has us believe that a three fold increase of temperature from the CO2 feed back is caused by increased water vapour ? Now they believe that more water vapour cools the Earth, sorry they can not have their cake and it too. So now increased water vapour is a negative feed back, that means CO2 is a crock.

    Aim your guns better. The water isn’t the point; it’s the sea-salt, which would come out of solution as the droplets dried as minute aerosol particles, which then would begin to re-create mist and clouds at higher altitude.

  79. What goes up will come down. Some places might get rain where it is required (good), but other places will get more rain than required (floods, devastation). The world population is higher where the rain fall is in general good. They would change the eco-system and it would create mass migration.
    .
    I just look at Ireland that has this year for the last 4 month and counting more than average rain fall and more than average cloud cover. The farmers can’t use in some places the heavy machinery and the crop harvest is low.
    There is always a catch 22. Any action has a reaction and if you don’t understand it than the reaction might me worse compared to what you want to solve.
    Just look up Predator-Prey models and you will find that controlling this is not easy.
    Do they know how the weather will react? No!!!

  80. We used to have something similar in the past. They were called steam trains. You could see the sky fill up with smoke and steam when they were a few miles away.

  81. For those of you worried about the ship’s stability – ignore the “artist’s conception”. These “ships would not need to move significantly. Put them on the upwind side of where you want the clouds, and tether them in place. They would really be more like buoys. So the keel could easily be longer and heavier than the masts. Stability is a red herring, we have been designing various forms of seagoing structures for thousands of years, and this would not be that difficult. It’s still a silly idea as geo-engineering, for many other reasons mentioned. Creating a few for experimental purposes to actually get some DATA might be worthwhile, however.

  82. Mockery from ignorance is deplorable, regardless of the source. Assuming you have knowledge without even a rudimentary search of available sources should be a cause of embarrassment for those who participate. Unfortunately I’m seeing more and more of it here on WUWT. How are we different from the alarmists if we fire up the comments without even checking our own preconceptions and prejudices. The artists conception tickled my memory and < 5 minutes digging brought up the answer.

    Whether or not the concept of shooting sea water into the air has merit, the ship, as pictured, would not be inherently unstable unless the climatology crowd were allowed to design the hull. It is essentially shown as being in the lineage of the old Flettner rotor sailing ships. As such it could indeed be moved by wind power, though it still would require some enormous power source to shoot seawater 1 KM into the air.

    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Buckau_Flettner_Rotor_Ship_LOC_37764u.jpg for more information.

    Let's give a little more thought and digging prior to commenting, especially commenting outside your corner of knowledge or expertise. Otherwise were just making up our minds ahead of the facts like the rest of the common hoard.

  83. Brian H and Mike M, you are giving me morning inspiration. But Peter Miller said it straight away:

    “It turns out that a greater number of smaller drops has a greater surface area, so it means the clouds reflect a greater amount of light back into space,” Wood said. That creates a cooling effect on Earth.”

    Um, er……………..but this is the exact opposite of the cornerstone of CAGW theory – more clouds mean more heat is retained, at least so sayeth the high priests of the global warming industry. Big feedbacks etc.

    ++++++

    There are two issues: one is that this proposal turns the H2O feedback idea on its head and undermines all that the IPCC saith. The second is the idea that throwing sea water into the air is somehow similar to evaporation of fresh water from the sea to create water vapour and then clouds. Mist made from sprayed sea water is not much like ‘clouds’. Good grief.

    Can you imagine the law suits that will result from the contamination of land when this salt-laden mist comes ashore to sterilise farms the way the Romans did in Carthage? We are going to drown in the Sea of Stupid.

  84. Brian H writes “Aim your guns better. The water isn’t the point; it’s the sea-salt, which would come out of solution as the droplets dried as minute aerosol particles, which then would begin to re-create mist and clouds at higher altitude.”

    Makes the assumption that aerosols are the limiting factor for cloud creation whereas cloud creation is a balance between the amount of water vapour available and the amount of aerosols available to seed the cloud. Increasing either should increase cloud cover and furthermore in the cases where there are already sufficient aerosols available, adding more wont have much effect.

  85. Complete stupidity. These should only be deployed to avert an actual disaster as a last resort. Otherwise, nobody has a right to control the climate. If our eco-warriors decide it’s too warm, what’s to stop, say, Russia from deciding the present climate is too cold and placing reflective mirrors in outer space to divert additional radiation from the sun to earth?

  86. Julian Flood says:
    August 20, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    Well, I never thought I’d feel that WUWT was getting as self-absorbed, petty-minded and resistant to science as the warmist blogs, but some of the responses above remind me of Tamino’s Open Mind and Skeptical Science, where anything against the flow meets with howls of rejection from the packs of little jackels who cluster round the big beasts.

    This is the typical smug response of a warmist, Julian. So maybe those in a glass house shouldn’t throw stones?

    But to get to your idea, it’s utter nonsense, and nothing more than a money grubbing scam so that scamming entrepreneurs and researchers can “fix” something that isn’t broken. This isn’t about research. There’s no need to research this, unless it’s seriously being considered. And if it’s seriously being considered it’s only because somebody can make money off it. Which is the definition of a scam, on par with the snake oil salesmen of yesteryear.

    The climate is not broken, so the reality is there’s nothing to fix. It might be getting warmer, but that’s not a bad thing. If this was purely about the research, we’d be better off examining ways to warm the climate (you know, to prevent ice ages, which could actually kill us). Maybe place some reflective material in space to increase the amount of solar radiation reaching earth?

  87. Yes, let’s drop lots of Chlorine into the atmosphere to increase the size of the ozone hole… Chlorine being a significant constituent of salt. Where else do you think naturally occurring Chlorine comes from in the atmosphere?

  88. “””””…..Julian Flood says:

    August 20, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    Well, I never thought I’d feel that WUWT was getting as self-absorbed, petty-minded and resistant to science as the warmist blogs, but some of the responses above remind me of Tamino’s Open Mind and Skeptical Science, where anything against the flow meets with howls of rejection from the packs of little jackels who cluster round the big beasts……”””””

    Well Julian, I suspect that the point being made by many spoofers of this idea; including me for sure, is not whether any such cloud making steam engine, would actually function as described, or would be so designed as to not tip over, or any of the other suggested road blocks being made fun of.

    These researchers; armed with their taxpayer forcibly extracted funding grants, might very well prove that a connection between man made clouds, and at least local cooling or warming is sound Physics; or maybe not.

    The whole point is that whether the thesis is correct or not, implementing such solutions on a scale that could do any global effect at all, is totally impractical. You can’t cover open ground area or sea with non-functional Saran wrap at a low enough cost , let alone with expensive PV arrays, or fields of fans, to affordably collect free clean green renewable solar energy, to make a significant NET contribution to the world’s total energy needs. The thought of covering tens of thousands of square miles of so -called useless land for such ideas is rather bizarre.

    So how likely is it that environmental concerns, would for a minute, tolerate the notion of having millions of tethered steam engine cloud making ships all over the world’s oceans, cluttering up the place, and altering marine habitats willy nilly; on the off chance that the net livability of planet earth for the totality of humanity would improve; and all for a supposed cause of a yet to be demonstrated catastrophe, that earth must have experienced thousands of times already.

    I don’t care whether the physics behind this notion is more solid than quantum chromodynamics. It would be a complete waste of earth resources, to even think of building such contraptions, no matter how ingeniously engineered they could be.

    This idea belongs with other crackpot ideas such as geo-engineering Mars or Jupiter to make them as desirable places to live as a tropical island paradise.

    A single hurricane in an hour can play with more energy than all the nuke energy humans have stockpiled. This idea ranks with picking locust swarms out of the air one by one with chopsticks.

  89. Julian Flood says: August 21, 2012 at 3:00 am And people are objecting to an experiment designed to study them? Ye. Gods.

    If someone else like gods were paying the freight for these experiments then I’d have no qualms about them. You cannot run away from the fact that there remains no empirical basis to justify soaking taxpayers for an endless stream of ‘pie in the sky’ (or salt in the sky) science projects to ‘combat climate change’ which is now costing US taxpayers, (a FINITE and currently dwindling resource), over $2 billion per year. Just imagine if only 1/1000 of that budgeted amount (indexed) had been spent every year for the last ~120 years to assure unbiased trustworthy NCDC data that would have revealed a temperature record showing only natural variability, (what most rural stations show)? The rest of the money could be spent on preparing for climate/weather related disasters like droughts and floods rather than on planting idiotic notions in the mind of the public that we can somehow ~prevent~ them from happening, (let alone the even more idiotic notion that the UN would have our best interest at ‘heart’). That and Anthony Watts would likely have put his efforts into some profitable endeavor and been a billionaire by now and I wouldn’t be here writing this.

  90. have not read all comments but I would think the intakes underside would provide stability.
    not positive but I think this type of stuff may be violating some laws though, cannot place finger on it but in back of my mind it seems there were laws passed against taking of seawater.

    no matter, just a stupid idea anyway.

  91. The picture is of a trimaran. Both catamarans and trimarans depend on speed to get out of the way of winds.

    Depending on how the ‘towers’ are made it could be made a ‘non-problem’. They look like hoops with a flexible material over them. IFF they can be lowered and stowed (like a sail) then it’s just the classical art of management of sail area vs winds vs location faced by all trimarans and catamarans.

    FWIW, the trimaran and catamaran were the dominant design of classical Pacific ocean sailing due to the fact that their faster speed let you outrun major cyclones AND the Pacific cyclones were simply not survivable by wooden displacement hulls, no matter how sturdy to make them. (Heck, Halsey found they would bend the flight deck of aircraft carriers in W.W.II ) while on the Atlantic, you could make a slow dumpy but VERY sturdy ship and ride out the storm. The fast Polynesian grand boats with outriggers vs the Spanish Galleon…

    If the “towers” rotate, they could be used as Magnus Effect sails. Dropping the ‘ripply’ coating would be ‘reefing’ the sail. Then kick on some big Diesels if you really need to book it out of somewhere fast… Ought to be able to do 30 knots. (A military cat does 50 knots…)

    Just don’t stay too long if a storm is building, reef early, and watch out for “rogue waves”…

    Per the idea: Solution to a non-problem, so what’s the point?

    I’m sure all the folks putting solar cells up on Pacific Islands will be happy to know they will be under artificial clouds more often…

  92. Without a solid understanding of the climate system, geoengineering is complete folly.

    The morons will make a flood and have to stand up in court to settle the matter. Guess who will have to pick up the tab.

    They can’t be allowed to hack the climate until they can prove they understand the climate system.

  93. There where many crazy contraptions designed to fly – look in the old magazines, you won’t believe what you see. Yet in the end our airplanes where developed, our satellites and what have you.

    The saltwater-pump-in-the-air ships look like one more crazy contraption going towards the heap of failures. But it seems we humans are destined to have these crazy ideas anyhow, it is in our genes. I don’t think this creativity makes us superior creatures, it’s just plain luck in the end what contraption will work.

    Even if you follow all the rules of proper science success is not guaranteed. So you might as well go wacko from time to time, it may give surprises, and some fun. Isn’t that the human spirit?

  94. John Marshall says:
    August 21, 2012 at 2:46 am
    So these salt laden clouds drift ashore and destroy agricultural land? Result- mass famine.
    What a load of c–p.

    And what, pray tell, do you think is the source of particulates for cloud formation in the deep Pacific? Your panic over “salt rain” is as equally foolish as earlier panics over “acid rain”.

  95. AnonyMoose says:
    August 21, 2012 at 6:15 am
    Isn’t the chlorine in salt a threat to the ozone layer?

    Not unless the ozone layer dropped down to the 1-3km elevation and no one noticed.

  96. Jim P. says: August 21, 2012 at 9:08 am

    quote
    Julian Flood says: August 20, 2012 at 4:02 pm
    Well, I never thought I’d feel that WUWT was getting as self-absorbed, petty-minded and resistant to science as the warmist blogs, but some of the responses above remind me of Tamino’s Open Mind and Skeptical Science, where anything against the flow meets with howls of rejection from the packs of little jackels who cluster round the big beasts.

    This is the typical smug response of a warmist, Julian. So maybe those in a glass house shouldn’t throw stones?
    unquote

    Thanks for that, it’s always nice to finish the day with a chuckle. If your research into the paper we’re discussing is as thorough as your understanding of my take on the AGW scare then you are either a troll or lazy. Let’s be kind and assume the latter. Now go and look at the paper and Google “NASA shiptracks”. That’s what a few aerosols can do. The albedo of the stratocumulus sheet over the ocean has to be changed by 1% to equal all of the CO2 ‘greenhouse signal’. I’d like to know if that modelled result is real: if it is, and a deployed cloud ship should give us that information, then all bets are off and the UK can save itself £18 billion per year for the next forty years. A few million spent on research is good value when considered in those terms.

    george e smith says: August 21, 2012 at 10:28 am

    quote
    These researchers; armed with their taxpayer forcibly extracted funding grants, might very well prove that a connection between man made clouds, and at least local cooling or warming is sound Physics; or maybe not.
    unquote

    If it shows that the aerosol models are wrong then all the climate models are wrong. If it shows the aerosol physics are correct then it means that small changes in aerosols can alter the heat balance by large amounts,. I want to know in either case because I think we have disrupted the aerosol production system of the oceans by smoothing them with spilled oil and surfactant. In that case CO2 is a red herring and all the efforts on trading and storage are misguided. If we clean up our rivers then the homeostatic mechanisms can begin to work once more — if the physics is right.

    quote
    The whole point is that whether the thesis is correct or not, implementing such solutions on a scale that could do any global effect at all, is totally impractical. [] …millions of tethered steam engine cloud making ships all over the world’s oceans, cluttering up the place, and altering marine habitats willy nilly; []
    unquote

    You are making the same error that Willis made in his piece earlier: the effort required to increase low level cloud albedo over the oceans is tiny. Small effort, large effect — read Salter and Latham’s original paper and see the figures. It’s a couple of thousand wind-powered ships deployed at critical locations. The opposite is also true: the production of natural cooling aerosols may be disrupted by a small error on our part: Have a look at the Gulf oil spill and examine the NASA images. there is one perfect illustration of my idea with a large area of lower albedo fringed by cloud, the sky above the spilled oil starved of aerosols, swept clean. Or not, of course, not if I’m wrong about how easy it is to disrupt aerosol production. The cloud ship demonstrator may well test that.

    quote
    I don’t care whether the physics behind this notion is more solid than quantum chromodynamics. It would be a complete waste of earth resources, to even think of building such contraptions, no matter how ingeniously engineered they could be.
    unquote

    The waste of resources is going on as you write: trillions of dollars thrown away, landscapes ruined, industry wrecked, unemployment, high food prices, starvation in the third world while food is used to power cars. If this proposal leads to a better understanding of the Earth’s cooling system then it would be cheap at a thousand times the price.

    quote
    A single hurricane in an hour can play with more energy than all the nuke energy humans have stockpiled. This idea ranks with picking locust swarms out of the air one by one with chopsticks.
    unquote

    Here’s a better metaphor: this idea ranks with disrupting the mating rituals of a desert-full of locusts with a few grams of pheromone, preventing their mating and meaning the swarm never forms.

    The science is not settled, no matter what you say. It needs to be done. This proposal means we will know more about the climate and its regulation by natural processes. I applaud it, I welcome it and I’m appalled that anyone can be so wedded to their hostility to science, real, measured and unmodelled science, that they cannot see its value. Up to now I thought that ‘the science is settled’ meme was exclusively the province of the warmists. I am disappointed that this turns out not to be the case.

    JF

    Mike M: ignorance costs more than research. The proposal is to build a demonstrator, not carpet the Pacific with the things. UK wastes £18 billion per year on CO2 mitigation and a few billions spent on research which proves that unnecessary is money well spent.

  97. “rtist’s conception of cloud-making ships. Of course, the first storm would flip this over immediately, but heck, it’s only a fantasy, so who cares?”

    Would it? Not that it’s relevant to the topic, of course, but there’s no particular reason that vessel need be unstable. Of course, if the stacks are spraying water fast enough, they’d function much like a reverse keel – as the wind made the ship heel, the force from the stacks would tend to push the ship back upright.

  98. A similar idea was put forth by Lockheed many years go, but it’s purpose was to wash smog out of Los Angeles air. Since the smog cycle there consists of 1) air (and smog) flowing out to sea at night, followed by 2) air flowing back onshore in the morning (to pick up more smog), followed by 1) again, Lockheed reasoned that spraying a lot of water into the air offshore at night would remove the previous day’s pickup.

    They proposed using an F-1 rocket engine propellant turbo pump, which could pump more than 40,000 gallons of water a minute into a jet reaching 2,700 feet altitude. California wasn’t willing to try it, which is a pity. Pumping large quantities of water places is the most highly energy-leveraged thing humanity can do ( without nuclear reactions). One thing I wondered about was the ozone effect of all the halogens in seawater. I doubt it would have been much, but this was on a measurable scale.

  99. “””””…..Julian Flood says:

    August 21, 2012 at 4:24 pm…..”””””

    Julian, why do you give us the lamest of all rationalizations for doing something; ‘everybody does it so we might as well do some too.’ (waste money and resources; specially other people’s money)

    For a start, cloud effect is a closed circuit negative feedback effect.

    A warming ocean evaporates more water into the atmosphere (see Wentz et al, SCIENCE jul 7 2007). More water in the atmosphere (7% per deg C surface Temperature rise) blocks more solar energy from reaching the deep ocean storage. That lower absobed solar energy leads to a cooler earth, which leads to more precipitation (see Wentz et al above), and more precipitation leads to less water vapo and clouds in the atmosphere (see Wentz), and less water in the atmosphere leads to more solar energy reaching the deep ocean which warms it up.

    Aerosols and green house gases are a red herring. More warming due to ghg means you will get increased cloud cover to shut it down, and more aerosols mean you clouds form easier, so you don’t need to evaporate as much water; and remember THE EXCHANGE RATE IS 7% MORE (OR LESS) CLOUDS PER ONE DEG C CHANGE IN SURFACE TEMPERATURE.

    That is a simply huge negative feedback regulating system and it will negate any effect of your steam armada, no matter where or how or how big you deploy it.

    If you think it is such a great idea; why don’t YOU invest YOUR money, and buy your own steam kettle. Quit coming up with more ways to waste taxpayer dollars on nutty schemes that are nowhere sanctioned in at least the USA Constitution; and will have no net effect, but to “employ” the terminally unemployable; who themselves selected their own role in life.

  100. Julian Flood: If this proposal leads to a better understanding of the Earth’s cooling system then it would be cheap at a thousand times the price.

    IF?
    What a joke! We already KNOW that whoever stands to make a lot of money will be telling us it has to be done.

    Perhaps Julian is somehow invested in or otherwise stands to make money from this lame idea at our expense? Their ‘better understanding’ will just be a pack of more lies to justify lining their pockets and carpet the ocean with these things. .. or at least get a huge government loan like Solyndra.

    Next he’ll tell us we have to do it … ‘for the children’.

  101. JF: “Mike M: ignorance costs more than research.”

    Yeah, ignorance of not realizing people are reaching into your pocket yet again to steal even more of your money. You people will NOT fool us twice. Your GCM’s (developed at great expense) have FAILED to connect to reality and have not provided ANY benefit to anybody beyond the pay checks to those who were paid to develop them. “Combating Climate Change” is beginning to look a lot like the “War of Drugs”.

    Why don’t you do something useful like figure out how to prevent the next ice age?

  102. I’m with Julian, what’s with all the derisive skepticism. Useful criticism is one thing although some the concerns with energy consumption, water vapor transfers and the like have been previously addressed or are addressed in the thread and noone seems much aware. I can see that it is brought on in a measure by imitation of all the chicken little nonsense coming from the warmists and aimed more at the notion of hypocrisy. And I celebrate derision of the precautionary principle which the project exponent gives a nod to, although he seems insular to the notion that the precautionary principle knows no end. If testing an idea brings it closer to possible adoption and the idea is not known to be 100% safe (i.e. all ideas) then one should object to the testing . . .

    Unfortunately, I don’t read the objections here principally as a sarcastic send up of the precautionary principle.

    My own tendencies are precisely the opposite. So far as I can tell, the green movement generally rejects geo-engineering, and anything they reject I tend to think might not be a bad idea. We do it all the time anyway. I think it is reasonably well documented that human agricultural practices have had enormous macro environmental effects

    Another reasonable criticism of the proposal is the extent to which it attempts to dissociate experiments from whatever industry might actually make it work. Inventing anything that could depend to some extent on collective will for adoption, be it cars that wanted roads or bridges, AC power and its grids, wind turbines or cloud machines, the problem of rent seeking will always attend the collective decisions for implementation. But the precautionary implication that folks with an economic incentive shouldn’t be involved is absurd.

    Of course the researchers devotion to the precautionary principle in general is absurd and essentially self defeating, taken to any kind of logical conclusion. He insists that they would only want to implement geo-engineering of this sort if it was proven to be essentially 100% safe. Of course that can’t be proven, and just experiment makes it more likely that sometime a system less then absolutely safe could be adopted, so one committed to the precautionary principle is free to oppose the experiment as well.

    Rather we should accept that these discoveries could be a boon or a boondoogle. If we leave these decisions up to technocrats we shall surely get the latter. For if the experiment were successful, who would have their hand on the thermostat, the IPCC? That would be the joke of the century – or the next. Its not the least bit clear to me that we shouldn’t be also experimenting with how to warm the globe. But as a matter of priorities, resources for implementation would be better informed by the kind of relative thinking that Bjorn Lomborg has been doing regarding improvement of the human condition. That isn’t to say his list is the definitive set of priorities for mankind, but that a sense of ordering of priority that has completely escaped our current renewable energy exhortations.

    Subject of course to the cautions about lies, damn lies and statistics – alternatively credited to Mark Twain and Abraham LIncoln – these are discussions that readily descend to the level of an engaged citizenry.

    Rather the experiment or willingness to engage in it is separate from any decision that the planet ought to be shielded. As far as I’m concerned they should be experimenting with how to warm the planet as well, it sure doesn’t seem like CO2 emission is really getting the job done very effectively. Who says we want it cooler? But that isn’t an excuse for not experimenting. One can be equally critical of the extent to which our priorities in research are skewed by the current warmist fad and I would think the research agenda itself could do well to attend to Lomborg like efforts at priority setting. But I believe research should be as much the product of the eclectic energies of researchers as some expert body deciding what needs to get researched. So bring on the cloud machines.

    Once upon a time they were going to put a cloud machine in the rhode island airport – public art – but the taxpayers put a stop to it. Ironically, I was kind of interested to see how it worked. Bring on the [experimental] cloud ships.

    brian

  103. george e smith says: August 21, 2012 at 10:46 pm

    quote
    For a start, cloud effect is a closed circuit negative feedback effect.
    unquote

    So the science is settled is it? Not if we are disrupting the production of aerosols by oil spill. Have you looked at the picture of the Mississippi mouth on the blue marble picture? Hang on… Google Google… the one I mean is at http://www.flickr.com/photos/gsfc/6760135001/

    See the effect of the river flow into the Gulf? So what’s going on there? Now find the images of the Gulf oil spill at http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/oilspill/index.html and see if you can work out what’s making the clouds vanish in images 22 28 38 and 40. I want to know what we’re doing to aerosols and I want to know what altering aerosol numbers and properties will do to the stratocumulus layer — but eyeballing images without the research that this demonstrator will provide is just handwaving.

    quote
    THE EXCHANGE RATE IS 7% MORE (OR LESS) CLOUDS PER ONE DEG C CHANGE IN SURFACE TEMPERATURE.
    unquote

    If the Earth were in a pristine state then you might have a point. It is not. We are altering ecologies and even simple surface physics all over the oceans. I think the cloud ship demonstrator will find that this is having an effect. Also, it might well settle the argument about smaller droplets making clouds whiter or not to the satisfaction of those who otherwise cannot be convinced.

    quote
    If you think it is such a great idea; why don’t YOU invest YOUR money, and buy your own steam kettle
    unquote.

    Now you are being silly. I think the CERN cosmic ray hypothesis is a good idea but I don’t have to fund a supercollider to have an opinion. BTW, the proposed ship does not heat the water it sprays out, it just squirts it onto a rotating disc where it is broken down into a fine mist. No steam, no kettle. But you knew that, didn’t you, having read the original proposal. You did read it, didn’t you? Ah, thought not.

    What are you afraid of? That the science of this proposal will not back your world view? Relax, it will almost certainly prove — purely as a by-product of the engineering — that it’s better than we thought, that the oceans self-regulate and if we just take a little more care then everything will be OK.

    Incidentally, my original point was that some of the responses here were getting more like RC every day. Thank you for providing such a perfect demonstration of what I mean.

    Mike M says: August 22, 2012 at 1:00 am

    quote
    Why don’t you do something useful like figure out how to prevent the next ice age?
    unquote

    If the aerosol ship demonstrates that the climate is very sensitive to aerosol numbers (which I suspect is the case and welcome the chance to see some engineering proof) then we already have the answer: synthetic surfactants which are resistant to biodegradation if allowed to spread over the oceans would reduce aerosols and thus low level cloud, lower albedo and warm the planet. Oil too, light oil, that would do the same. We wouldn’t even have to do anything special, we could just let effluent from our cities flow down the rivers… Oh, look at that, that’s what we’re already doing. I wonder if we’re warming the planet by spilling all this muck. I know, let’s find out if the world is sensitive to aerosol numbers — we could build a ship to squirt aerosols into the air and see what happens. Then we’d know how to warm things up if we need to… Have a look at those images I mention above, I’m convinced the spills are lowering albedo but then it’s my theory and I’m fond of it.

    JF

  104. george e smith, my apologies, I suggested above that your response was a perfect illustration of my point about the tone of this thread. I was wrong. The perfect illustration was this one which I quote in all its glory:

    quote
    Mike M says: August 22, 2012 at 12:43 am

    Julian Flood: If this proposal leads to a better understanding of the Earth’s cooling system then it would be cheap at a thousand times the price.

    IF?
    What a joke! We already KNOW that whoever stands to make a lot of money will be telling us it has to be done.

    Perhaps Julian is somehow invested in or otherwise stands to make money from this lame idea at our expense? Their ‘better understanding’ will just be a pack of more lies to justify lining their pockets and carpet the ocean with these things. .. or at least get a huge government loan like Solyndra.

    Next he’ll tell us we have to do it … ‘for the children’.
    unquote

    Pluperfect, hyperperfect, more real than real. Mike, old chap, don’t you think you’d feel more at home on RC?

    JF

  105. Of course, the first storm would flip this over immediately, but heck, it’s only a fantasy, so who cares?
    ———
    Someone has forgotten about sailing ships. You know the ones with big wind catchers on masts that don’t fall over.

  106. I’m not a scientist or engineer, but I think the idea has merit.

    Initially, I was very skeptical of Julian’s proposal several years ago, but that was an emotional reaction to the artist’s rendering.

    Many proposals for albedo modification have been made over the years. From orbital sunshades costing 45 to 135 Sagans a year, to stratospheric sulfur enhancement and whitewashing roofs. Brute force concepts requiring the injection of millions of tons per year of potentially chemically active substances into or above the atmosphere seem unworkable solely due to the energy costs of lifting the material to the required altitude.

    Julian’s idea of using sea water as a catalyst avoids those problems. Selective enhancement of an existing natural process rather than introducing a new complex process also seems prudent.

    It should be relatively easy and inexpensive to test the essential elements of Julian’s idea. The historical record of the Baltic Exchange Dry Index shows the daily lease costs of large bulk cargo ships are currently as cheap as they have ever been over the last ten years. Perhaps a land based trial on an island would suffice.

    A previous poster pointed out the wide range of early flying machine design proposals that seem quaint our eyes. Samuel Langley’s Folly was a laughingstock at the time, but eight years later Glenn Curtiss installed a more powerful motor and showed the contraption could fly. The history of rocketry is also full of absurdity and even more spectacular failures.

    A small proof of concept test generating real data would be much more useful than extrapolation, order of magnitude calculations or ridicule.

  107. Brian,

    It’s not my idea, it’s that of an engineering partnership, Salter and Latham. Salter was the man who designed the Salter duck, the little nodding float that produced power from waves: the idea was poo-pooed by a civil servant who said it would not work so the idea was shelved. Video of a line of ducks with waves hitting one side and smooth water on the other shows that they did indeed milk power from the waves. The next stage, making the system robust against storms, was never demonstrated and that’s where I have my doubts.

    Salter and Latham want to put more aerosols into the boundary layer. My idea, all mine, is that we’ve disrupted the ocean’s capacity to produce aerosols.

    JF

  108. Strange how AGW adherents believe that clouds are important to climate (else they would not be proposing this), and also believe climate models that fail to take them into account.

    Either clouds are important or they are not. We know they are, and some AGW’s apparently feel they are too, but the whole AGW ethos is that they are irrelevant.

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