Sunshade geoengineering people apparently have been in the midday sun too long

From the Carnegie Institution , not just aerosol injections, but effective aersol injections. Law of unintended consequences be damned.

Improving effectiveness of solar geoengineering

Washington, D.C.— Solar radiation management is a type of geoengineering that would manipulate the climate in order to reduce the impact of global warming caused by greenhouse gasses. Ideas include increasing the amount of aerosols in the stratosphere, which could scatter incoming solar light away from Earth’s surface, or creating low-altitude marine clouds to reflect these same rays.

Research models have indicated that the climatic effect of this type of geoengineering will vary by region, because the climate systems respond differently to the reflecting substances than they do to the atmospheric carbon dioxide that traps warmth in Earth’s atmosphere. New work from a team including Carnegie’s Ken Caldeira uses a climate model to look at maximizing the effectiveness of solar radiation management techniques. Their work is published October 21st by Nature Climate Change.

Attempting to counteract the warming effect of greenhouse gases with a uniform layer of aerosols in the stratosphere, would cool the tropics much more than it affects polar areas. Greenhouse gases tend to suppress precipitation and an offsetting reduction in amount of sunlight absorbed by Earth would not restore this precipitation. Both greenhouse gases and aerosols affect the distribution of heat and rain on this planet, but they change temperature and precipitation in different ways in different places. Varying the amount of sunlight deflected away from the Earth both regionally and seasonally could combat some of this problem.

By tailoring geoengineering efforts by region and by need, the team—led by California Institute of Technology’s Douglas MacMartin—was able to explore ways to maximize effectiveness while minimizing the side effects and risks of this type of planetary intervention.

“These results indicate that varying geoengineering efforts by region and over different periods of time could potentially improve the effectiveness of solar geoengineering and reduce climate impacts in at-risk areas,” Caldeira said. “For example, these approaches may be able to reverse long-term changes in the Arctic sea ice.”

The study used a sophisticated climate model, but the team’s model is still much simpler than the real world. Interference in Earth’s climate system, whether intentional or unintentional, is likely to produce unanticipated outcomes.

“We have to expect the unexpected,” Caldeira added. “The safest way to reduce climate risk is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

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David Keith of Harvard and Ben Kravitz, formerly of Carnegie but now at DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Lab, are co-authors on the study.

The Carnegie Institution for Science is a private, nonprofit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., with six research departments throughout the U.S. Since its founding in 1902, the Carnegie Institution has been a pioneering force in basic scientific research. Carnegie scientists are leaders in plant biology, developmental biology, astronomy, materials science, global ecology, and Earth and planetary science.

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Here’s another similar press release on the same topic, sort of a “climate justice” spin:

Targeting solar geoengineering to minimize risk and inequality

October 21, 2012

New study suggests that solar geoengineering can be tailored to reduce inequality or to manage specific risks like the loss of Arctic sea ice

Cambridge, Mass., and Washington, D.C. – October 21, 2012 – By tailoring geoengineering efforts by region and by need, a new model promises to maximize the effectiveness of solar radiation management while mitigating its potential side effects and risks. Developed by a team of leading researchers, the study was published in the November issue of Nature Climate Change.

Solar geoengineering, the goal of which is to offset the global warming caused by greenhouse gases, involves reflecting sunlight back into space. By increasing the concentrations of aerosols in the stratosphere or by creating low-altitude marine clouds, the as-yet hypothetical solar geoengineering projects would scatter incoming solar heat away from the Earth’s surface.

Critics of geoengineering have long warned that such a global intervention would have unequal effects around the world and could result in unforeseen consequences. They argue that the potential gains may not be worth the risk.

“Our research goes a step beyond the one-size-fits-all approach to explore how careful tailoring of solar geoengineering can reduce possible inequalities and risks,” says co-author David Keith (pictured at right), Gordon McKay Professor of Applied Physics at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and Professor of Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School. “Instead, we can be thoughtful about various tradeoffs to achieve more selective results, such as the trade-off between minimizing global climate changes and minimizing residual changes at the worst-off location.”

The study—developed in collaboration with Douglas G. MacMartin of the California Institute of Technology, Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution for Science, and Ben Kravitz, formerly of Carnegie and now at the Department of Energy—explores the feasibility of using solar geoengineering to counter the loss of Arctic sea ice.

“There has been a lot of loose talk about region-specific climate modification. By contrast, our research uses a more systematic approach to understand how geoengineering might be used to limit a specific impact. We found that tailored solar geoengineering might limit Arctic sea ice loss with several times less total solar shading than would be needed in a uniform case.”

Generally speaking, greenhouse gases tend to suppress precipitation, and an offsetting reduction in the amount of sunlight absorbed by Earth would not restore this precipitation. Both greenhouse gases and aerosols affect the distribution of heat and rain on this planet, but they change the temperature and precipitation in different ways in different places. The researchers suggest that varying the amount of sunlight deflected away from the Earth both regionally and seasonally could combat some of this problem.

“These results indicate that varying geoengineering efforts by region and over different periods of time could potentially improve the effectiveness of solar geoengineering and reduce climate impacts in at-risk areas,” says co-author Ken Caldeira, Senior Scientist in the Department of Global Ecology at the Carnegie Institution for Science.

The researchers note that while their study used a state-of-the-art model, any real-world estimates of the possible impact of solar radiation management would need to take into account various uncertainties. Further, any interference in Earth’s climate system, whether intentional or unintentional, is likely to produce unanticipated outcomes.

“While more work needs to be done, we have a strong model that indicates that solar geoengineering might be used in a far more nuanced manner than the uniform one-size-fits-all implementation that is often assumed. One might say that one need not think of it as a single global thermostat. This gives us hope that if we ever do need to implement engineered solutions to combat global warming, that we would do so with a bit more confidence and a great ability to test it and control it.”

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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41 thoughts on “Sunshade geoengineering people apparently have been in the midday sun too long

  1. Alas, another means of wasting money. Not by geo-engineering, but by studying geo-engineering, wasting time, energy, and money—other people’s money no less!

    How will they explain to their grandchildren around the old glacier face in the back yard that they spent their careers studying how to cool the planet, based on pseudoscience and government/political funding? “Grandpa! How could you be THAT stupid! You want this glaciation!”

  2. “Further, any interference in Earth’s climate system, whether intentional or unintentional, is likely to produce unanticipated outcomes.”

    Except for increasing CO2 of course, we know every outcome there Bubba!
    /sarc

  3. Did you know that …
    “greenhouse gases tend to suppress precipitation”

    There’s a good one. Water vapor (a greenhouse gas AFAIK) thends to suppress precipitation. Who’d a thunk it?

  4. After they solve the problem of incoming sunlight, they should tackle shutting down a major volcano!

    The anthropocentric hubris of the Gore crowd knows no limits!

  5. No government will let these naifs have anything sharp to play with. The only “solution” government wants is another stream of tax revenue.

  6. They used a model.
    A SINGLE model.

    Given that the various models use a wide range of forcing for aerosols, it is safe to bet that had they used two or more models, the results would have been all over the map and they would have looked utterly ridiculous.

    Not to mention that the IPCC rates the Level of Scientific Understanding of direct aerosols (per AR4 Ch 2) as “medium to low”, of cloud albedo (all aerosols combined) as “low”, black carbon aerosols on snow as “low”, and volcanic aerosols as “low”.

    No wonder they caution about actually doing anything of the sort! They know very well that they’re bee essing. They’d pee their pants if they thought anyone was actually going to do it on any scale large enough to matter.

  7. Totally unreliable and foolish. The models are useless and the variables are as unknown and misunderstood as most of them being used in climatology. This stuff is nice science fiction at best and pure hubris at worst. Many unkind terms come to mind about this stuff and people that foster it. I suspect charlatan is as good as any.

  8. These are some of the most foolish of the CAGW Insane Clown Posse. They are tinkering round with computer models that fail every test and these same models are useless at predicting anything as they are mainly based on a false premise. All their variables are unknown and totally misunderstood. This sort of science fiction dream is one of the most dangerous spin-offs of the CAGW fiasco. Their funding should be terminated immediately.

  9. Let’s intentionally do something to the climate and spend hundreds of years predicting what we’ve done to it.

  10. We have been geo-engineering for 70 years by the various cloud seeding operations. Not to mention the cirrus cloud (contrail) formation by thousands of planes and the millions of tons of aerosols they dump into the atmosphere every year.

    The ‘it all could go horribly wrong’ angst is overdone IMO. And these kinds of experiments would lead to more precise quatification of aerosol and cloud effects, which would lead to a more accurate (lower) GHG forcing, and could well be the final nail in the coffin of the model-driven CAGW cult.

    So, I say, go for it.

  11. “Targeting solar geoengineering to minimize risk and inequality”

    Risk? Like the risk of screwing with biosphere and potentially making it totally uninhabitable because the model didn’t include some obscure relationship that they overlooked?

    “Inequality” Un-equal how? Where in the genome of any organism or individual is the sequence that codes for “equalness?” Hint… the world is not equal, period. All critters are by design, whether intelligent or evolved, to exploit any nuanced benefit from their environment that they can gain. “Equal” has Jack[censored] to do with it.

    Who decides what is equitable? What gives them that right? (ans: No one and nothing.)

  12. These people need to be jailed before they do something irreversibly dangerous. We’ve already had the iron sulphate dumper off the coast of Canada. They can share a cell – that would be very green.

  13. For once I agree with the sceptics. Geo-engineering solutions are absolute madness. They should not even be studied.

    MJK

  14. Philip Bradley says:
    October 21, 2012 at 10:41 pm
    “We have been geo-engineering for 70 years by the various cloud seeding operations. Not to mention the cirrus cloud (contrail) formation by thousands of planes and the millions of tons of aerosols they dump into the atmosphere every year.

    The ‘it all could go horribly wrong’ angst is overdone IMO. And these kinds of experiments would lead to more precise quatification of aerosol and cloud effects, which would lead to a more accurate (lower) GHG forcing, and could well be the final nail in the coffin of the model-driven CAGW cult.

    So, I say, go for it.”

    I’ve been trying to find references in scientific papers to airplanes dumping aerosols in the upper atmosphere that people don’t know is happening, what are those aerosol chemicals and why are they doing that? Are they Metallic chemicals?

    Possible influence of anthropogenic aerosols on cirrus clouds and anthropogenic forcing
    “and from aircraft that deposit their aerosols directly in the upper troposphere”

    http://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/9/879/2009/acp-9-879-2009.html

    I found in the studies, “We use sulfate aerosols as a proxy for pollution aerosols”. Why not metallic types of aerosols?
    Anthropogenic aerosols may have increased upper tropospheric
    humidity in the 20th century

    http://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/11/4577/2011/acp-11-4577-2011.pdf

    This is interesting;
    “Present US aerosol concentrations are sufficiently low that future air quality improvements are projected to cause little further warming in the US (0.1 °C over 2010–2050). We find that most of the warming from aerosol source controls in the US has already been realized over the 1980–2010 period.”
    Climatic effects of 1950–2050 changes in US anthropogenic aerosols – Part 2: Climate response

    http://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/12/3349/2012/acp-12-3349-2012.html

    So much goo reading on anthropogenic aerosols at ACP site.
    Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
    An Interactive Open Access Journal of the European Geosciences Union

    http://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/full_text_search.html?q=anthropogenic+aerosols&x=3&y=6

    I think this is the smoking gun though;

    Dr. Jasper Kirkby Explains Prior and Ongoing Atmospheric Geo Engineering by Jet Airplanes

    In the beginning of this video to 21 seconds in, you can see him pointing with his laser pointer to an image example of what cloud patterns look like, that are formed in the sky as a result of, “jets dumping aerosols into the upper atmosphere.” Quote is Dr Jaspery Kirkby from CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, Geneva, Switzerland.

    “There’s plenty of evidence that large regions of the climate are lacking sufficient aerosol to form clouds. Contrails are a well known example of that. These are not smoke trails, these are clouds which are seeded by jets dumping aerosols into the upper atmosphere.”

    Full lecture here;
    Cosmic rays and climate

    http://cdsweb.cern.ch/record/1181073

  15. Given the current woeful lack of understanding of the climate as witnessed by the poor accuracy / skill of climate models, added to the fact that we know the sun is entering a quiet phase of unknown depth and extent, then any attempt to geo-engineer the environment can only be described as

    suicidally stupid.

  16. lol
    What happens in the models, stays in the models.

    Why not just turn down the water vapor feedback-amplification in the models? Problem fixed. No need to write all those extra lines of code.

  17. davidmhoffer says: October 21, 2012 at 8:28 pm
    They used a model.
    A SINGLE model.

    Yes, but it’s a “state of the art” model.

    Let’s save the geo-engineering for the next ice age.

  18. The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.” – Copy to Clipboard — Albert Einstein

  19. A Swedish chemists shop:
    “I’d like to buy a deodorant”
    “Yes Sir, ball or aerosol?”
    “Neither. I want it for my armpits.”

    What they are proposing is balls.

  20. Aren’t they doing something already? Expanding and long lasting vapour trails from aircraft occur over Colchester, Essex, UK very reguarly. While these are normally produced by high flying aircraft, I witnessed one being caused by a turbo-prop aircraft at much lower altitude below the cloud base just the other day. In fact, I believe that this followed at least two previous passes judging by remnants of trails in the same direction. Meanwhile, the sky is presently 100% cloudy and therefore is obscuring any spraying that might be occurring while the number of aircraft flying over seems to have increased inordinately in the last few days.

  21. This is yet another reason to believe that climate change is truly the greatest danger confronting mankind.
    But it’s not the climate itself that is the danger, provided we do not enter an era of global cooling. The danger is that governments will do mad things that will make us – and our children – far poorer and may even cause the very climate instability that they thought they were trying to stop.
    Complete and utter madness….
    Chris

  22. ntesdorf says:
    October 21, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    This sort of science fiction dream is one of the most dangerous spin-offs of the CAGW fiasco. Their funding should be terminated immediately.

    No! Not just the funding: [snip . . yes it is inline with the 10/10 nonsense but we didn't approve of that either . . mod]

    Pour encourager les autres

  23. Michael says:
    October 21, 2012 at 11:50 pm

    I’ve been trying to find references in scientific papers to airplanes dumping aerosols in the upper atmosphere that people don’t know is happening, what are those aerosol chemicals and why are they doing that? Are they Metallic chemicals?

    Primarily black carbon, which in climate science terminology is an aerosol, but plenty of sulphates and nitric/nitrous oxides.

    Just google, airplane black carbon climate.

    And black carbon eventually gets back to the surface decreasing snow and ice albedo – warming the surface.

  24. “The safest way to reduce climate risk is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

    So now it is “climate risk”.

  25. michael hart:

    At October 22, 2012 at 12:14 am you say

    lol
    What happens in the models, stays in the models.

    Why not just turn down the water vapor feedback-amplification in the models? Problem fixed. No need to write all those extra lines of code.

    Oh, it can be done more simply than that.

    Each model ‘runs hot’: i.e. it provides more warming over the twentieth century than was observed. This is compensated by inputting an amount of assumed aerosol cooling.

    But each model ‘runs hot’ by a different amount and, therefore, the amount of assumed aerosol cooling used in any one model is different from the amount used in every other model. See

    (ref. Kiehl JT,Twentieth century climate model response and climate sensitivity. GRL vol.. 34, L22710, doi:10.1029/2007GL031383, 2007).

    Adjust the assumed aerosol cooling and you get whatever rate of warming you want in any model. And the assumed ‘aerosol cooling’ is input as a ‘fudge factor’ which can be varied to provide any warming you want.

    So, the solution to the problem is already ‘built in’ to each model as a single datum which is an adjustable input parameter of assumed magnitude that has known effect on warming.

    Incidentally, the fact that each model ‘runs hot’ by a different amount can only mean that all except at most one – and probably all – of the models emulates a different climate system than exists on the real world.

    Richard

  26. Tell it to the winegrowers and then wait and see if the government that thought this one up gets re-elected. If you like your wine, you don’t want to be shading the sun. And you think they won’t try it? Base your answer on windmills and solar panels rotting in the ground.

  27. The Geminids meteor shower is said to be growing in both size of the meteors and numbers. Some other meteor showers are said to be doing the same. Problem solved.

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/full/1969SSRv….9…58R

    I haven’t reached for sunglasses in four years. That corresponds with solar and volcanic cycles.

    Don’t know much about wine,
    Do millions of miles traveling under the sun’s vine,
    at times it’s a blinding light,
    a sheer tornado of pain,
    like a whiskey fury,
    pounding like the devil’s rain…

  28. Rowland (UK) says:
    October 22, 2012 at 3:25 am

    They’re out to get you. Make sure you look behind the shrub in the garden before you go to work.

    PS You may notice the same vapor trails coming from vehicle exhausts on cool damp mornings. All part of the same plot.

  29. gator69 says:
    October 22, 2012 at 9:59 am

    “When you consider how poorly they understand climate, this really scares the Hell out of me.”

    I honestly think Geo-engineering is not possible when I think of it in terms of energy displacement, it is like straping on a set of massive rocket boosters to the planet and moving it into an orbit further from the sun, that’s if the planet gets warm and then doing the same again to move the planet into an orbit closer to the sun if it gets too cold.

  30. Does CAGW stand for Computer Assisted Global Warming?
    Sorry for my typo. I spell quite well when I write by hand.

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