Another nutty geoengineering idea – Olivine dust

From the Institute of Physics

Researchers analyse ‘rock dissolving’ method of geoengineering

The benefits and side effects of dissolving particles in our ocean’s surfaces to increase the marine uptake of carbon dioxide (CO2), and therefore reduce the excess amount of it in the atmosphere, have been analysed in a new study published today.

The study, published today, 22 January, in IOP Publishing’s journal Environmental Research Letters, assesses the impact of dissolving the naturally occurring mineral olivine and calculates how effective this approach would be in reducing atmospheric CO2.

The researchers, from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, Germany, calculate that if three gigatonnes of olivine were deposited into the oceans each year, it could compensate for only around nine per cent of present day anthropogenic CO2 emissions.

This long discussed ‘quick fix’ method of geoengineering is not without environmental drawbacks; the particles would have to be ground down to very small sizes (around one micrometre) in order to be effective. The grinding process would consume energy and therefore emit varying amounts of CO2, depending on the sort of power plants used to provide the energy.

Lead author of the study Peter Köhler said: “Our literature-based estimates on the energy costs of grinding olivine to such a small size suggest that with present day technology, around 30 per cent of the CO2 taken out of the atmosphere and absorbed by the oceans would be re-emitted by the grinding process.”

The researchers used a computer model to assess the impact of six different olivine dissolution scenarios. Olivine is an abundant magnesium-silicate found beneath the Earth’s surface that weathers quickly when exposed to water and air – in its natural environment it is dissolved by carbonic acid which is formed from CO2 out of the atmosphere and rain water.

If olivine is distributed onto the ocean’s surface, it begins to dissolve and subsequently increases the alkalinity of the water. This raises the uptake capacity of the ocean for CO2, which is taken up via gas exchange from the atmosphere.

According to the study, 92 per cent of the CO2 taken up by the oceans would be caused by changes in the chemical make-up of the water, whilst the remaining uptake would be down to changes in marine life through a process known as ocean fertilisation.

Ocean fertilisation involves providing phytoplankton with essential nutrients to encourage its growth. The increased numbers of phytoplankton use CO2 to grow, and then when it dies it sinks to the ocean floor taking the CO2 with it.

“In our study we only examined the effects of silicate in olivine. Silicate is a limiting nutrient for diatoms – a specific class of phytoplankton. We simulated with our model that the added input of silicate would shift the species composition within phytoplankton towards diatoms.

“It is likely that iron and other trace metals will also impact marine life if olivine is used on a large scale. Therefore, this approach can also be considered as an ocean fertilisation experiment and these impacts should be taken into consideration when assessing the pros and cons of olivine dissolution,” continued Köhler.

The researchers also investigated whether the deposition of olivine could counteract the problem of ocean acidification, which continues to have a profound effect on marine life. They calculate that about 40 gigatonnes of olivine would need to be dissolved annually to fully counteract today’s anthropogenic CO2 emissions.

“If this method of geoengineering was deployed, we would need an industry the size of the present day coal industry to obtain the necessary amounts of olivine. To distribute this, we estimate that 100 dedicated large ships with a commitment to distribute one gigatonne of olivine per year would be needed.

“Taking all our conclusions together – mainly the energy costs of the processing line and the projected potential impact on marine biology – we assess this approach as rather inefficient. It certainly is not a simple solution against the global warming problem.” said Köhler.

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96 Responses to Another nutty geoengineering idea – Olivine dust

  1. jsbrodhead says:

    bury a climate-change alarmist and plant a tree… once that’s done, we can talk.

  2. jgmccabe says:

    Whatever happened to the good old days when scientific theories were (dis)proven by experiment!

  3. j fisk says:

    And if this tips us into an ice age what then?

  4. crosspatch says:

    In another 20 years they are going to be doing whatever they can to get more CO2 into the atmosphere, I think. It’s going to get a little chilly.

  5. I can’t wait ’til the “anti-strip-mining” people hear about this!!!!

  6. Stevo says:

    Somebody got paid to produce that garbage.???

  7. SasjaL says:

    Dumping olivine minerals into water causes exothermal chemical reactions! This results in an increase of the water temperature, even if slight. Increased water temperature causes a release of CO2. Is this smart? To me it seems contraproductive …

    As olivine materials are minerals, this will act as fertalizers on the biosphere. Is this smart, as in most cases simular attempt to dump (foreigin) stuff into the water has disturbed the marine life in affected area (lime excepted)?

  8. CodeTech says:

    The entire operation to be run by Murphy, and governed by the LAW of Unintended Consequences…

  9. A. Scott says:

    40 gigatonnes would be 40 billion metric tonnes (=2,200lbs each). The US consumed appx 1.085 billion short tons (=2,000lbs) in 2011 – or appx 0.984 billion metric tonnes.

    This is simply ridiculous based on scope and scale let alone the massive unknowns this kind of ridiculous geo-engineering might have on our hugely important oceans.

    Even if I had a choice of 20 feet of sea level increase vs this unknown geo-engineering I would not hesitate to choose the sea level rise. At least it is a known, certain effect.

  10. Sir: My comment was to read “I can’t wait ’til. It wasn’t a good comment.
    so forget it Thank you. sorry. Alfred

    Reply: Seemed like a nice comment to me… so I fixed it for you. -ModE]

  11. Kev-in-Uk says:

    Oh FFS! If anyone wanted proof that Idiots are being freely given degrees AND grant money – this is it!

  12. James Bull says:

    Maybe they could mine it with manpower using all those who have lost their jobs because of the green revolution, make windmills with grinders instead of alternators and sail boats made from renewable trees to take it to sea.
    Sounds like a good idea to me,
    HA HA
    James Bull

  13. Kev-in-Uk says:

    just as an aside – you know what I find funny? – it’s that these eco-greeny loons will support this – whilst screaming blue murder at the thought of GM food – ‘cos of course, ocean fertilisation doesn’t affect the eco-system at all, does it?

  14. AllanM says:

    Of course the power for the grinding must only come from wind turbines. That should slow them down a bit.

  15. Man Bearpig says:

    So is it worth buying shares in Olivine mining ?

  16. PaulC says:

    What happened to – cold water disolves CO2 – hot water releases CO2

  17. Konrad. says:

    Olivine dust ground and dispersed by giant fossil fuelled machines! A superlative suggestion, sir, with just two minor flaws. One, we don’t have any AGW. And two, we don’t have any AGW. Now I realise that technically speaking that’s only one flaw, but I thought that it was such a big one that it was worth mentioning twice…. (Apologies to Kryten)

    The main problem with the AGW hypothesis is of course that it is pseudo scientific nonsense. In answer to jgmccabe who commented above, there are no empirical experiments that prove AGW. Not one. But there are several easy experiments you can conduct in the lab that can totally disprove the worst scientific blunder in the history of human scientific endeavour

    1. DWIR cannot slow the cooling rate of liquid water that is free to evaporatively cool. That rules out 71% of the earth’s surface from being affected by “back radiation” from CO2. The empirical experiment to check this is easy.

    2. Ignore gravity like the AGW believers do and treat the atmosphere as a single mathematical layer or “body” as AGW believers do. The answer is still that CO2 cools our atmosphere. Why? Because CO2s ability to warm the atmosphere by intercepting outgoing IR is a inverse logarithmic function of its concentration in the atmosphere. However CO2s ability to radiate to space the energy the atmosphere has acquired from conduction and the release of latent heat is a linear function of its concentration in the atmosphere. Even failing to consider gravity, CO2 will become a coolant after around 50ppm. This too can be shown by empirical experiment.

    3. Model gravity and the pressure gradient correctly and you will find that radiative gases are vital for continued convective circulation in the troposphere. Where do 99.9% of the radiative gases in our atmosphere exist? Below the tropopause. Where does the lapse rate reverse? Above the tropopause. Where does all strong vertical convective circulation occur? Below the tropopause. Without energy loss to space above the altitude of energy input convective circulation will stall and our atmosphere will heat. When you model the atmosphere with depth and a pressure gradient, the net effect of radiative gases is cooling at all concentrations above 0ppm. The critical importance of emitting IR to space above the altitude of energy input into the atmosphere can also be demonstrated by empirical experiment.

    Where are the empirical experiments that prove AGW? Nowhere, that’s where.
    AGW is physically impossible. Adding radiative gases to the atmosphere will not reduce the radiative cooling ability of the atmosphere.

    If you find those currently defending AGW unconvincing, just think how ridiculous the last AGW believers are going to get in the very near future. These are the last days of the hoax. Soon only the most fervent and orally foaming believers will be left. Those that have any chance of saving career or reputation are already trying to slink and weasel away, foolishly hoping for an escape to “Black Carbon”, “Biocrisis” or “Sustainability”. Those that realise they can’t escape the permanent record of the Internet are going nuts. Fools like Gleick, Lewandowsky and Mann are now so far around the bend they can no longer see daylight.

    When the dust begins to settle on this most sorry episode in science and politics, those involved will come to understand what the phrase “Sceptics will never forgive and the Internet will never forget” actually means. The pseudo scientists? The compliant MSM? The “left” of politics? The UN kleptocrats? The environmental activists? All the “fellow travellers” and “useful idiots” whom the Internet has tied to the mast of SS AGW? These fools are going to be wincing and biting their fist so hard that that they will find that they are missing fingers and that they’ve swallowed their eyes.

  18. crosspatch says:

    Considering the prevalence of olivine and serpentine (morphed olivine) in California (serpentine is the state mineral), I would guess such a “charge” happens every time there is a rainy season on the west coast of the US.

  19. Konrad. says:

    Dear ModE,
    I Note that wordpress has “helpfully” deleted my paragraph spacing. If You do chose to post my previous comment I would greatly appreciate if you could restore paragraph spacing. You may add a “/rant” qualifier at you discretion ;)

    [Reply: Added spaces. Hope they are as you like them. -ModE ]

  20. H.R. says:

    The benefits and side effects of dissolving particles in our ocean’s surfaces to increase the marine uptake of carbon dioxide (CO2), and therefore reduce the excess amount of it in the atmosphere, have been analysed in a new study published today.

    Whoa! First they have to tell me what is the correct amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. Then we can talk about whether to increase or decrease the amount. They are assuming right out the gate that a reduction would be a good thing.

  21. DirkH says:

    Peak Olivine.

  22. Peter Miller says:

    And just where would you mine all this olivine? There are just a few small olivine mines in the world today.

    Olivine is often associated with nickel, which can be very toxic.

    “It certainly is not a simple solution against the global warming problem.” – This sentence obviously needs correcting:

    “It certainly is not a simple solution against the non-problem of global warming.” There, that’s better.

    Verdict: Just another instance of tax dollars being well spent on behalf of the Global Warming Industry.

  23. Mike Bromley the Canucklehead back in Kurdistan but actually in Switzerland says:

    3 gigatons??? What on earth are they going to use to mine, grind, transport and distribute this load? Shovels and wheelbarrows? Asinine.

  24. Mike Borgelt says:

    Magnesium silicate. Ground up into 1 micrometer powder. Isn’t that known sometimes as white asbestos?

  25. Almah Geddon says:

    What is ironic is that this comes from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research. Wegener came up with the idea for continental drift, which finally became plate tectonics. He was derided for his ideas, the ‘science was settled’ orthodicy was that the continents did not move. So much so that in the US it was not taught in Geology schools until the 1960s when the physical evidence for drift became overwhelming, and the keepers of the orthodoxy either were dead or finally admitted defeat.

    Parallels for the ‘science is settled’ CAGW?

  26. Dr Evil says:

    Now now now…..you’re all wrong……

    We should strategically plant atom bombs in the hundred megaton range around the equator (every 50 miles or so should suffice) and detonate each of them when the sun-facing side of the planet is at midday. Should put us in a higher orbit around the sun….

    Whadyathink??

    Eh? Eh?

  27. Konrad. says:

    [Reply: Added spaces. Hope they are as you like them. -ModE ]

    PayPal can answer that. Of course my “Big Oil cheque” should even things out. Any day now. Any day….

  28. E.M.Smith says:

    In our study we only examined the effects of silicate in olivine. Silicate is a limiting nutrient for diatoms

    Since the vast majority of all rocks are silicates (yes, there’s carbonates and others, but a whole lot of slicates) they are really saying that rock weathering fixes it. And it does.

    So how about we just let the gigatons of slicates that nature washes into the oceans each year deal with it?

    As Olivine is first cousin to Serpentine and Asbestos, I’d not want to find out what fine grinding it to dust does to lungs, or gills, or digestive systems…

    There are easier ways to get silicates into the oceans.

    Just wait for a volcano…

  29. Planck says:

    Clearly there will be a problem getting sufficient purity and tonnes of the mineral which has end members fayalite (iron) and fosterite (magnesium). Often olivine is high in chrome, nickel and other metals which will be pollutants at this scale.
    It is a stupid idea – a bit like suggesting NASA flys a hot air balloon to Mars to save travel time.

  30. E.M.Smith says:

    @Doctor Evil:

    Um, as I remember my orbital mechanics, you need to increase the velocity to get a higher orbit, so detonation when pointed 90 degrees to sun. Pointed AT sun just causes change of circularity and you get more elliptical. Probably not a good thing ;-)

    Counter intuitive, I know, but this IS rocket science ;-)

    Suggest using southern Sahara as detonation point as it is just enough off equatorial as to line up right (given axial tilt of about 22 degrees) and nobody much would notice the ever larger crater being formed. Oh, and need Tzar Bomb from old USSR. 50 Mega Tons or so lets you blow hole in atmosphere. Otherwise you just make mess… 100 Mega Tons better. (Maybe can use many at once ;-) Oh, and need to watch that you are not off axis with orbit or you will induce more “bobbing” in the ecliptic… Not so good (but not so bad… other than might mess up eclipse cycles… ) And be very careful to address moon, please. As it co-orbits with us (like 2nd planet really – never goes retrograde.. we really both orbit sun with ‘side swapping’ wobble…) would make a really really big mess if you get it wrong and whack into moon. Folks would be really really pissed… See orbit graph top of here:

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2013/01/04/lunar-cycles-more-than-one/

    Tolerances a bit tighter than you might think…

    Oh, one last thing, given energy needed, issue lead suits to everyone and put biosphere in bottle for a few centuries… going to be a bumpy ride ;-)

  31. garymount says:

    @Doctor Evil:
    You would also have only two moments a year when the sun is directly over the equator. Would you have to compensate for the 8 minutes or so that the sun gravity field and light is away from the Earth, so start 8 minutes sooner / later ?

  32. David Jones says:

    I’m sure I read somewhere that All Fools Day in Germany is not 1st April. I can’t exactly remember when it is but I have a vague memory it is 22nd January!

  33. AB says:

    So I stand to be corrected here – I freely admit to being an amateur – but feeding plankton which subsequently dies and falls to the ocean floor will eventually create what exactly ?

    OMG, could it be EVIL OIL??

  34. Bill says:

    “The researchers also investigated whether the deposition of olivine could counteract the problem of ocean acidification, which continues to have a profound effect on marine life. ”

    Are they writing from the future? As far as I know, there has been NO documented effect of lower pH as it has barely changed.

  35. wayne Job says:

    I do hope this research was done as a hobby in their spare time. No one should pay out money for collective stupidity.

  36. Peter Miller says:

    This article is just another instance demonstrating the Global Warming Industry is all about: i) too much money, and ii) the involvement of too many second and third rate scientists,

    It is self-evident CAGW is a baseless concept, or there would be numerous occurrences of it in the geological record.

    Academics running riot is one of the best way to describe CAGW, but I recently found a concept even more asinine. I know it’s a bit off topic, but here is the concept of ‘Plant rights':

    http://www.ekah.admin.ch/fileadmin/ekah-dateien/dokumentation/publikationen/e-Broschure-Wurde-Pflanze-2008.pdf

  37. atheok says:

    “crosspatch says: January 22, 2013 at 2:07 am

    Considering the prevalence of olivine and serpentine (morphed olivine) in California (serpentine is the state mineral), I would guess such a “charge” happens every time there is a rainy season on the west coast of the US.”

    Aye! And the Serpentine barrens in Maryland and SE Pennsylvania. Serpentine is found in or near many places where tectonics have ever been active.

    Not to forget that a serpentine emplacements often contain significant quantities of asbestos, primarily Chrysotile Mg3(Si2O5)(OH) (idealized formula). Now most of the asbestos in it’s natural state has minimal dangers to humans. The problem asbestos are the microscopic short fibers that are released; especially when grinding up serpentine into tiny particle sizes for separation.

    Technically, olivine and serpentine are both forms of magnesium silcate minerals. A constituent mineral of the olivine’s mineral group, forsterite, has a basic formula, Mg2(SiO)4. Basic or idealized formula’s refer to a mineralogically pure concept which is virtually unknown in naturally ocurring minerals. In olivine, magnesium is replaced by other metals that are present, such as calcium, iron, manganese,and nickle.

    From what is stated, calculations are based on conceptually pure olivine magnesium silicate.

    As SasjaL states above, the reaction is exothermic.

    Other references that test the concept of using olivine to sequester carbon mention that the laboratory test is conducted using temperatures in the range of 150C to 250C under pressures of 85-125 bar, on 75-100 micron particle sizes. The Azimuth Project

    Reactions progressed fairly well within short time frames, day to days. One does wonder just how long this reaction would take at oceanic temperatures. Gigatonnes of <100 micron sized particles sinking to the bottom of the ocean.

    75 – 100 micron szed particles of olivine magnesium silicates, (forsterite), are similar both chemically and structurally to the magnesium silicate asbestos chrysotile and i do wonder what the effect would be to the lungs of mammals and gills of sea critters…

    Now if they could turn this exothermic process into a really really cheap method of heating for the world's poor… Sorry, couldn't help myself; /sarc

  38. Nerd says:

    Plant Hemp! Oh wait…

  39. atheok says:

    Gem olivine is called peridot. Visitors to volcanic islands, like Hawaii, might have wondered about the shiny green pieces of crystal that look like broken glass.

    Well, that’s peridot and a relative pure form of olivine; but not necessarily a pure magnesium silicate.

    Is the water around Hawaii significantly different chemically because of all that olivine and all that rainfall?

  40. John West says:

    “counteract the problem of ocean acidification, which continues to have a profound effect on marine life”

    The partial pressure of CO2 in seawater is a function of many variables including temperature and salinity of which the CO2 partial pressure of the overlying air is a minor one.

  41. Radical Rodent says:

    To tell the truth, I rather like the article. It is good to see someone taking the idea and investigating it quite thoroughly before debunking it as totally mad (though their language in doing so was rather more circumspect).

    What makes it bad is that the eco-loonies will still insist that it is a solution (pardon the pun).

  42. Geosul says:

    Boom time for Mortlake – the (self-appointed) Olivine Capital of Australia.

    http://www.gatewaybbs.com.au/Mortlake/Recrea.htm

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

  43. Jpatrick says:

    No doubt this valuable research was funded by Big Olivine.

  44. higley7 says:

    DId they calculate the huge fleet of ships, the machinery, the time and the fuel it would take to distribute this stupidity? Reminds me of biofuels where at best you spend as much energy as you get out, probably more when the infrastructure and equipment are suitably considered.

  45. Steve C says:

    May I be the first to propose the UK as a suitable place to do a lot of the preparation of the olivine? Our government, with great foresight, are busily closing down many old-fashioned, reliable coal-fired power stations, so as to free up many fine brownfield sites on which to build efficient new olivine pulverisation factories. They are covering the landscape and surrounding seascape with wind turbines, which will, they assure us, deliver reliable electricity well into the future to power the rock crushers. And there are a couple of million or so unemployed, presently forced to live on benefits but undoubtedly ready and willing to perform this vital task – particularly when threatened with the loss of those benefits. From grinding poverty to grinding rocks in one spectacular leap. Grind British. You know it makes sense.

    Who knows, in the eyes of the green contingent, we might even be able to atone for our sin of introducing the Industrial Revolution.

  46. higley7 says:

    Regarding acidification:
    1) Sea water is a complex buffer and the weak acidity of carbonic acid will have little or no effect.
    2) Carbonic acid is part of an extended equilibrium leading to calcium carbonate. The protons it gives off, supposedly acidifying the waters, cannot affect its own equilibrium. Only an outside source of protons can alter the equilibrium and lead to calcium carbonate dissolution.
    3) Ocean pH has remained within its normal range.
    4) Photosynthesis is an alkalizing process, raising the pH as much as 3 full units during a sunny day. The high pH becomes a real threat during these times.
    5) CO2 is plant food and all organisms benefit from having more food in the food chain.
    6) Marine organisms are more resilient than the alarmists would have us think. Very few organisms suffer with pH change, and usually it simply means that a different species is more abundant; extinctions are not going to happen as there will always be parts of the ocean that have the former pH.
    7) It is also clear that CO2 has been much higher than now during the vast majority of the last 600 million years and life on Earth flourished. The Cliffs of Dover were NOT built during times of low CO2.

    Making a good analysis of these schemes is a cute exercise but can’t we use our time and money on something more pressing and real, rather than on a false crisis created by those pushing a political agenda?

  47. Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7 says:

    Almah Geddon says:
    January 22, 2013 at 2:29 am

    … the ‘science was settled’ orthodicy was that the continents did not move.

    I realize of course this was a t ypo, but I think you’ve inadvertently coined an interesting new word: othodoxy [conventionally accepted doctrine which cannot be questioned] + dicey [slang: chancy, risky (from gambling dice)] = orthodicey.

    Seems like a really good word to describe CAGW theories.

    Or maybe you meant orthodoxy + idiocy = orthodiocy.

  48. R Barker says:

    Yes, they did conclude it was not a good idea. Probably knew that right from the start.

  49. This must be the most stupid thing I have ever heard.
    Come to think of it all the other stupid things I have heard over the least 20 years or so, have been from clowns with BSc’s teling us that 100 extra molecules of a naturally occurring gas in 1000,000 molecules of other naturally occurring gases is going to cause the planet to self-destruct!

  50. Julian Flood says:

    E.M.Smith says: January 22, 2013 at 3:02 am

    quote
    There are easier ways to get silicates into the oceans.
    Just wait for a volcano…
    unquote

    A few years ago there was a big volcano in the north Pacific: while there was a subsequent big salmon bloom there was no CO2 dip that I could see. If the food chain boost was from silica-shelled diatoms then this is the result one should expect.

    There has been an increase in dust from agriculture/forest clearance etc since the 18th century. If this is reflected in dissolved oceanic silica then:

    1. Diatom numbers will have increased at the expense of calcareous phytos.
    2. Diatoms will have fixed less carbon relative to calcareous phytos but, as diatoms use a fixing process less discriminatory against heavy carbon, the atmosphere will be left with a light C signal.
    3. Diatoms do not make chalk skeletons and thus do not export as much carbon to the deep oceans when they die. So a diatom bloom will displace the more effective CO2 exporters and this will leave relatively more CO2 in the atmosphere.

    So, more CO2, light isotope signal. Does this begin to sound familiar?

    There’s a paper about dust deposits in Mid-Western lakes which shows how much aeolian dust agriculture has produced, but I’ve seen nothing about run-off. OK, OK, correlation/causation etc, but I find it intriguing that the light C isotope signal begins before we started burning lots of fossil fuel but about the time we really start increasing agricultural disruption of soils and ground cover. Fertilise the ocean with silica rich dust and see if the diatoms really do react by blooming: if they do then the current ‘it’s because of fossil fuel, there’s nothing else it can be’ nonsense is just that, nonsense.

    JF

  51. Jim Clarke says:

    “…and therefore reduce the excess amount of it [CO2] in the atmosphere…”

    Yes, but what are we going to do about the excess amount of oxygen in the atmosphere, or the excess amounts of rivers, lakes and mountains on the Earth, or the excess amounts of moons around the Earth, or planets in the solar system or stars in the sky? There is obviously way too much (or too little) of everything, and it is about time that we humans decide the PROPER amounts for all things, and then make it so.

    (I thought of adding a /sarc tag to the end, but the authors of the original article did not, and my comment is no more outrageous than theirs.)

  52. jgmccabe: What happened to experiments being proven/disproven by experiments? We have computers for that now. We use them to “dissect” animals, test drugs, etc. Reality was just so hard to get the right answers with! :)
    /sarc

  53. arthur4563 says:

    As an example of eco engineering, this is pretty much a one-way street and cannot be undone,
    even if it works. Eco engineering to me means control. For example, a physically controllable
    something that can alter the amount of sunlight hitting the Earth, such as a controllable array of sunlight reflectors in near space, that can not only limit sunlight reaching the Earth, but also
    add additional sunlight (redirect sunlight that would normally not strike the Earth). Since it all
    boils down to solar radiation hitting (or not hitting) the Earth , how about, you know, controlling
    solar radiation? We would like to be able to control the Earth’s temperature, regardless of AGW or no AGW. These AGW loonies who think achieving a given level of atmospheric CO2 will
    bring eternal bliss are apparently forgetting about those damned ice ages, which seem to show up
    at fairly frequent intervals. Their solution is really no solution at all.

  54. Eric says:

    @andrewharding

    Please don’t disparage us BSc’s…it is the PhDs wot caused it…. ;)

  55. Choey says:

    and the kooks just keep on coming….

  56. GeeJam says:

    Firstly, a slight digression – but I’ll get back to to the the geo-thingy rock dissolving antics in a moment. As I write, I’m chuckling as I look out across our snow-covered garden at our neighbour’s ‘we’re gonna save the planet’ large (and ugly) 16 x solar panels installed on his roof. It’s interesting the way that snow seems to cling tightly to the smooth panels, building up to almost avalanche status and then slides down only to form deep compressed folds all the way back to the top of the panels. The snow now sitting on them is much more compact than all the snow on the rest of his roof put together. With temperatures around -5C outside, I doubt if our neighbour will see any significant return on his investment for some weeks to come. Good. Serves him right.

    Right, let’s put all this geo-engineering thing into perspective. According to which ever warmist’s propaganda you read for entertainment purposes, they say that about one 7th of armageddon causing CO2 is all our fault. We did it. We’ve caused all this extra unprecedented heat. One 7th is only 14.29 percent of the phenomenal total of 0.0314 percent present in our atmosphere (99.9686 percent is all those other gases, right?) – and they reckon that by pouring magnesium silicate into the oceans will reduce this alarming amount of CO2 – well, a bit.

    These grant-funded ‘geo-engineering people’ may find a less destructive (and more plausible) solution to their non-existent problem by chatting with ‘food & beverage-engineering people’ who, collectively, chuck more man-made CO2 into the air every day than most. With its carbonated drinks, bread making (yeast), MAP (modified air processing to preserve food), beer (yeast), wine and snack foods (bicarbonate of soda), we should be blaming them for all this weather.

    So, forget the ‘Sahara Bomb’ idea (sounds fun though Mssrs Smith and Evil), perhaps the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, Germany, should start by suggesting we ban “Twiglets” to reduce CO2. (For those outside the UK, Twiglets are a yummy slim savoury snack biscuit coated with spots of Marmite. The biscuit uses CO2 belching ‘bicarb’ to provide light baked texture and Marmite is a yeast derivative of the beer brewing industry.)

    Next week – Why the manmade gas that’s inside the world’s fire extinguishers should not be allowed to escape!

  57. RockyRoad says:

    garymount says:
    January 22, 2013 at 3:32 am

    @Doctor Evil:
    You would also have only two moments a year when the sun is directly over the equator. Would you have to compensate for the 8 minutes or so that the sun gravity field and light is away from the Earth, so start 8 minutes sooner / later ?

    Since gravity and light travel at the same speed through a vacuum, there is no need to worry about any differential in what you see and what you feel.

    Bet you didn’t know that, huh?

  58. RockyRoad says:

    As a geologist and mining engineer (and having dabbled in mineral beneficiation to a considerable degree), the problem of finding sufficient minable reserves of olivine, the horrendous task of removing the waste, mining the “ore” and then milling it to produce the necessary 40 gigatonnes of olivine dust is a gargantuan task. I won’t even address the permitting and reclamation issues involved–it gives me a headache.

    I’m glad they determined such a project to be less than efficient.

  59. garymount says:

    @RockyRoad: You might be surprised at how much I know. Yes I did know that.
    I don’t know if you want to optimize for the results of the event under discussion, do you compensate and adjust the timing for the event (detonation) for where the sun actually is located, or where is looks like where it is, and feels like with regards to the gravitational field, which is approximately 8 minutes difference.

  60. AnonyMoose says:

    “E.M.Smith says:

    There are easier ways to get silicates into the oceans.
    Just wait for a volcano…”

    Paging Dr. Evil!

  61. garymount says:

    I forgot to add, the earth is also spinning, which might mean the force vector might not produce the results expected. Like if you are holding a spinning bicycle wheel by the axial then quickly jerk the wheel, the wheel will rotate about 90 degrees from what a none spinning wheel would.

  62. Gary Pearse says:

    “around 30 per cent of the CO2 taken out of the atmosphere and absorbed by the oceans would be re-emitted by the grinding process.”

    Common sense isn’t going to stop them, but here goes: what about environmental and CO2 impact of mining and distributing across the oceans 3 gigatonnes a year – about 10% more than all the iron ore mined globally; what about costs of at least $300/t mined, hauled, crushed, ground, jet-milled, handled, shipped – especially packaged for 1 micron size (cigarette smoke is 2 microns), and applied – certainly not sub-aerially! What about capital costs, reclamation costs, – lets forget what it might do to things larger than plankton. Price ~1 trillion a year and perhaps the death of the fisheries and macroscopic productivity of the oceans to solve a non-problem

    If you design an elaborate experiment to solve a (questionable) problem and it turns out to be totally impractical, why would you report on it. The idiots that funded the proposal when on its face it is simply a stupid idea tells us that this kind of idiocy has become the largest industry in the world. Wegener (and Planck on other occasions) must be revolving continuously in their graves. This is the new generation from which the Nobel committee has to choose – other asterisked hall of famers.

  63. Crispin in Waterloo says:

    This sounds like an extremely expensive way to do something that is really simple : iron fertilisation of the surface to stimulate CO2 use by critters. This idea has been screamed against by the Greens since it was first mooted 30 years ago. The reaction was bizarre at the time because the objection had no scientific foundation (and still doesn’t). The intervening years have managed to pop up little theoretical objections now and then but so much more is now known about why it will work (and well). Describing iron fertilisation as ‘pollution’ is insane, literally. Rivers send massive amounts of iron in the form of laterite into the oceans each day. It that ‘pollution’ too? Where do they think the iron comes from?

    In other words the agenda was and is to reject iron fertilisation and the justification of the rejection can be attempted later. Why? Because it is cheap and effective and there is basically no money to be made from it unless carbon trading is available. If carbon trading is available, there is NO technology that will make as much profit as sea surface iron fertilisation because it is so effective. Bye-bye-windmills. That of course is not the plan. The plan is to raise funding through controllable channels. If the money existed without CO2 being involved the whole process of controlling the funds would be so much more convenient.

    OT I hope everyone noticed the EU tax on financial transactions has started. At least that leaves the physical environment alone.

  64. Steven Mosher says:

    Look this is exactly like dumping C02 into the air. The null hypothesis is that it will cause no harm. So dump away.

  65. AnonyMoose says:

    garymount: Doesn’t really matter where nuclear explosions are detonated at the surface, as a disturbance inside the atmosphere won’t affect the Earth’s movement much. The photons from nuclear explosions will give a little push to the planet, but not enough to matter — the Sun is already giving us plenty of photons. One has to do some complex engineering in order to apply an Orion drive to the planet (include the task of asteroid mining to get enough fissionables to run the operation — so it’s probably better to just put Orion drives on asteroids and use gravitational tractoring to move Earth around).

  66. Berényi Péter says:

    These guys would let tides & waves grind ultramafic rocks deposited into coastal seas to dust. They are talking about a quantity of 7 km³/annum, cost-effective meaning several hundred billion dollars (presumably collected as taxes) spent in a year.

    Earth Syst. Dynam. Discuss., 2, 551–568, 2011
    doi:10.5194/esdd-2-551-2011
    Rolling stones; fast weathering of olivine in shallow seas for cost-effective CO₂ capture and mitigation of global warming and ocean acidification
    R. D. Schuiling and P. L. de Boer

  67. RockyRoad says:

    garymount says:
    January 22, 2013 at 7:36 am

    @RockyRoad: You might be surprised at how much I know. Yes I did know that.
    I don’t know if you want to optimize for the results of the event under discussion, do you compensate and adjust the timing for the event (detonation) for where the sun actually is located, or where is looks like where it is, and feels like with regards to the gravitational field, which is approximately 8 minutes difference.

    Well, if you did know that, then you haven’t incorporated it into your logic. Where the sun appears to be by gravity or by sight is the same. No adjustment between the two is necessary–we’re influenced by the sun’s gravity on our current location, not where the sun currently is.

  68. RockyRoad says:

    Steven Mosher says:
    January 22, 2013 at 8:05 am

    Look this is exactly like dumping C02 into the air. The null hypothesis is that it will cause no harm. So dump away.

    Just when I think there’s no hope for you, Steven, you come along and restore my faith in a lost sheep. Welcome back.

    (Or do you have any evidence that falsifies the null hypothesis? No, I didn’t think so.)

  69. TRM says:

    Where is the brake pedal? Where is the reverse gear? Would you go for a ride in a car without either? Not me. All these geo-eng ideas are based on the faulty belief that CO2 is too high and is a danger. I see evidence for neither.

    I don’t mind scientists theorizing about what would be the most cost effective way to do these things but brakes, reverse and prove it is actually required. I think geo-eng ideas on how to prevent the next ice age would be a better use of funds as that is highly likely whereas CO2 at double or triple current levels causing us problems is highly unlikely.

  70. RockyRoad says:

    Lemme see–considering this will be “government grade” olivine, I predict (with capitalization, campaign donor fees (production will go to a “friend” of the administration, of course), unionized mines and mills, and a pile of environmental restrictions and regulation thrown in) each tonne of “Eco-green Olivine” will cost around $1,000. Multiply that by 40 billion tonnes and the cost is a meeeeeesly $40 Trillion.

    Why, sure–all we have to do is let the Treasury start printing $Trillion notes so just 40 will be sufficient (just think of the savings in paper costs, especially with Obama’s mug on each bill!).

    (By the way, the World GDP for 2011 was about $70 Trillion, so we’re only spending 57 % of that to fertilize the oceans. But say we’re able to drop the cost of this Eco-green Olivine to $500 a tonne due to economies of scale (although I’d be very surprised if anybody could), we’d be spending only $20 Trillion a year! Ok, ok, that’s more than the US GDP, but so what, you Conservative? Just marvel at how much colder it will be! No need for iced tea!)

    /sarc in a very big way!

  71. No Name Guy says:

    Lets put this nonsense into perspective: This olivine is about 2.84 short tons / yard (at the wiki SG of 3.37) At 3 gigatons / year, that’s only 1.057 billion yards / year. At 3,097,600 square yards / square mile, that would be a hole one mile square about 341 feet deep per year. By way of comparison, the Panama Canal excavation is 268,000,000 yards. So, it would be digging the Panama Canal about 3.9 times PER YEAR. These clowns need to be forcefully slapped up side the head and told to quit being stupid.

  72. John F. Hultquist says:

    Julian Flood says:
    January 22, 2013 at 5:47 am
    “There has been an increase in dust from agriculture/forest clearance etc since the 18th century.

    It might be interesting to see a time-line graph of this going back a few tens of thousand years. Having lived on the edge of “The Palouse” – a region of wind deposited silt (loess) – I have driven many visiting friends on a quick tour of the landscape. As I recall, researchers claim glacial periods are dry, windy, and dusty. These characteristics seem less so during interglacials. The recent anthro-dust might be hard to notice unless careful scaling (as with CO2 diagrams) is adopted.

  73. DirkH says:

    Steven Mosher says:
    January 22, 2013 at 8:05 am
    “Look this is exactly like dumping C02 into the air. The null hypothesis is that it will cause no harm. So dump away.”

    I wouldn’t mind you spending your money on olivine. But warmists generally use Other People’s Money for that (the Null hypothesis of the relationship between warmists and money).

  74. catweazle666 says:

    Quem deus vult perdere, prius dementat.

  75. Ken Harvey says:

    Zimbabweans rejoice! There are still thousands of megatons of Rhodesian Chrysotile in mines abandoned in the seventies. These profoundly clever people are going to come and buy it.

  76. Steve C says:

    No Name Guy says (January 22, 9:36 am):
    “These clowns need to be forcefully slapped up side the head and told to quit being stupid.”

    Better still, round ‘em up, give ‘em some pickaxes and tell ‘em to get back to us when they’ve got the first three gigatonnes ready to go.

  77. john robertson says:

    I have a co2 reduction method that will meet the approval of 60% of voters.
    Shut down our governments, the useless travel, the offices and endless gassing.
    Theres the 25-40% reduction with no pain to productive members of society.
    Note all percentages compatible with climatology standards.

  78. CRS, Dr.P.H. says:

    DirkH says:
    January 22, 2013 at 2:14 am
    Peak Olivine.

    …hand to face, LMAO!

  79. John: I like it! We probably have to pay these guys to stay home and do nothing at the median wage level, but it’s worth it to save ourselves from the destruction and bad science heaped on us by these people.

  80. Gunga Din says:

    This seems like such a waste to just dump it into the ocean. When I was a kid, I always liked Ovaltine.

  81. TImothy Sorenson says:

    The entire US coal production (2011) is 1.1 billion short tonnes. 40 Gigatonnes would then be 40xUS entire production of coal.

  82. Dr Evil. says:

    Thank you Mr Smith….

    I intend to simply hollow out the moon and convert it into a “Death Star”…..

    I pay the bills around here (along with everyone else) so demand a little respect…..

    Ref Volacano?……..That is soooo yesterday…..

  83. Berényi Péter says:

    John F. Hultquist says:
    January 22, 2013 at 9:37 am

    It might be interesting to see a time-line graph of this [increase in dust] going back a few tens of thousand years.

    Here is air-borne dust from the Vostok ice core, Antarctica.

    There was a hundred times more dust in the atmosphere during glacial times. As global ice volume was only 2 or 3 times more than it is now, it would be more appropriate to call it a dust age.

  84. Konrad says:

    Steven Mosher says:
    January 22, 2013 at 8:05 am
    “Look this is exactly like dumping C02 into the air. The null hypothesis is that it will cause no harm. So dump away.”
    ————————————————————————————
    Wait on. Wasn’t that the same null hypothesis that Kevin “Travesty” Trenberth wanted reversed for AGW? I have a copy of that speech to the AMS. He even used the easy search tag “denier” ;)

    Sceptics will never forgive and the Internet will never forget. I hope Mosher can now see how this game works. The stain of AGW advocacy lasts forever.

  85. Chris R. says:

    I have a much better geo-engineering scheme. Mount Pinatubo’s
    eruption dumped a lot of sulfates into the atmosphere, resulting in
    cooling for circa two years, as I recall.

    AGW theory states that the “relentless increase of GHG in the
    atmosphere” causes continued warming, unless canceled out.
    Large volcanic eruptions are known to cause worldwide cooling
    (see data from Pinatubo, “year without a summer”, etc.).

    So, locate a suitable volcano. Put a small nuclear explosive down
    it and blow the magma dike, causing an eruption. Watch the global
    temperature cool, stabilize, then start to rise again. Repeat every
    five-to-ten years as necessary. Much more likely to work, cheaper,
    does not require enormous mining investment. Radioactive fallout
    can be a problem, but that can be minimized.

    Problem solved. Next problem!

  86. Rhoda R says:

    If the idea is to increase plancton why go through all these gyrations? Just allow phosphorous back into detergent and dish washing solutions again. This way at least we’ll have clean cloths and dishes again.

  87. Gunga Din says:

    Steven Mosher says:
    January 22, 2013 at 8:05 am
    “Look this is exactly like dumping C02 into the air. The null hypothesis is that it will cause no harm. So dump away.”
    =======================================================================
    Expend resources that could be better used on something proven, rather than just theorized, to do good rather than just “cause no harm”?
    That CO2 is harmful is a theory. That dumping oviline into the ocean is helpful is a theory based the theory that CO2 is harmful.
    As Willis once said when you were being dumped on, “I like Mosh”. I think I do to. I think you’re honest. I just think you’re wrong. If you’re not wrong, we don’t know enough yet to commit what the Mann’s and Hansen’s and Gore’s (and now Obama’s) would have us commit.
    (I know, that’s political but, lacking proof, unfortunately that’s what it’s come down to.)

  88. Gunga Din says:

    Let me add, I think Mosher is the honest skeptical side to this “skeptic” site.

  89. crosspatch says:

    There are easier ways to get silicates into the oceans.

    Beer would be the easiest way. Simply dump all waste beer (expired, spoiled, whatever) into the ocean and there you go.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100208091922.htm

    Beer … it’s the miracle substance.

  90. Gunga Din says:

    higley7 says:
    January 22, 2013 at 5:07 am
    DId they calculate the huge fleet of ships, the machinery, the time and the fuel it would take to distribute this stupidity? Reminds me of biofuels where at best you spend as much energy as you get out, probably more when the infrastructure and equipment are suitably considered.
    ========================================================================
    I think you are missing the point. It will create jobs! Who cares whether what they do produces anything of value. As long as they vote. (After voting is done away with, as long as they obey.)

  91. David A. Evans says:

    “Taking all our conclusions together – mainly the energy costs of the processing line and the projected potential impact on marine biology – we assess this approach as rather inefficient. It certainly is not a simple solution against the global warming problem.” said Köhler.

    Translation…

    We wasted our time and this is not viable.

    DaveE.

  92. Big Trev says:

    these people are on drugs

  93. GregK says:

    Perhaps we could get the ships that would be required to transport the olivine to instead all line up at the southern end of India and push it north a little more. The subsequent rise of the Himalayas, and increased weathering/erosion thereof, might tie up sufficient CO2 or carbon to do something……

    http://www.geo.cornell.edu/geology/research/derry/himalaya.html

    But then again it might not………

  94. Mikegeo says:

    I think the authors should first have looked at the composition of the ocean floor. It’s mostly basaltic and Olivine is a common component and already is dissolving into the water. On top of that there are an estimated 3 million or more undersea active volcanic vents pushing more material and gases out continually.
    Who peer reviews these things anyway? Does anyone need to possess even general knowledge of the earth?

  95. Julian Flood says:

    John F. Hultquist says: on January 22, 2013 at 9:37 am

    quote
    Here is air-borne dust from the Vostok ice core, Antarctica.
    unquote

    Seeing graphs like that makes one understand why geologists are wary of ‘we’re all doomed’ scenarios. When you see the changes over hundreds of thousands of years it’s obvious that what’s going on now is nothing special. Has anyone done an isotope study of what happens to atmospheric CO2 during the temperature swings?

    If dust alters the plankton populations then it will have a climatic effect: maybe one of the climate scientists could carry out an experiment… or, better still model it. The latter would ensure that the results are incontrovertible.

    JF

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