"relatively unknown Maryland scientist" wants to patent the swamp cooler to combat global warming

This just in, (h/t to Sonicfrog) the swamp cooler is being re-invented as a global warming solution. No mention of what the increased global humidity will do for the planet’s radiative balance. No mention of what the increased humidity would do for night-time low temperatures.


From Slashdot:

SUNSTOP writes to tell us that a relatively unknown Maryland scientist has proposed a public patent that he claims could combat global warming. The proposed plan would require massive amounts of water to be sprayed into the air in an effort to bolster the earth’s existing air conditioning system.

Ron Ace, a 69-year-old, has been researching the earth’s climate for years and has found what he calls the most “practical, nontoxic, affordable, rapidly achievable” and beneficial way to curb global warming and a resulting catastrophic ocean rise.

Ace proposes to spray gigatons of sea-water into the air and in effect, build a “a colossal refrigeration system with a 100,000-fold performance multiplier.” He contends a number of positive effects would be in action at the same time to help stave off warming.

“The Earth has a giant air-conditioning problem,” he said. “I’m proposing to put a thermostat on the planet.”

First, the sprayed droplets would transform to water vapor, a change that absorbs thermal energy near ground level; then the rising vapor would condense into sunlight-reflecting clouds and cooling rain, releasing much of the stored energy into space in the form of infrared radiation.

Kenneth Caldeira, a climate scientist for the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology at Stanford University whose computer simulation of Ace’s invention suggests it would significantly cool the planet. The simulated evaporation of about one-half inch of additional water everywhere in the world produced immediate planetary cooling effects that were projected to reach nearly 1 degree Fahrenheit within 20 or 30 years, Caldeira said.

But it appears that maybe they just haven’t thought this through carefully:

“Some complications related to releasing huge amounts of water into the air are not well understood, however.”

In the Slashdot comments there is this that caught my eye:

by cthulu_mt (1124113) on Friday December 19, @04:42PM (#26177863)

I think this gem earns a “whatcouldpossiblygoright“.


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Dear Mr. Ace:
Please, PLEASE turn up the thermostat. Some dummy left it on A/C.
— Freezing in Calgary


(sarc on) I imagine that the pump companies could get behind this. Let’s try this right after putting up one of those proposed 100 sq mile solar reflectors in space! (sarc off)

Neil Jones
P Folkens

The levels of stupid attained by the imbeciles that believe they can influence the world climate continue to amaze.
How much energy will it take to atomize gigatons of water? And how is that “practical, non toxic, and affordable”?
Does this guy even understand that evaporative cooling is NOT refrigeration?
Sprayed droplets don’t necessarily “transform to water vapor.” Boreal Ridge sprayed water droplets last week and got snow, but that’s not what Mr. Ace had in mind. He wants water vapor, not knowing apparently that water vapor is the dominant GHG in the atmosphere. If he were able to convert sea water into water vapor at the flip of a switch, he would trap warmth, not create cooling.
We need to bring back the fine art of ridicule . . . and fast!


I have more fear of these yahoos doing more harm to the planet trying to fix the non-existent problem.
Save the planet!

Mike McMillan

Kenneth Caldeira, a climate scientist for the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology at Stanford University whose computer simulation of Ace’s invention suggests it would significantly cool the planet.
Another computer simulation. Yup.
And that would be a “wetlands” cooler, BTW.

So how will these swamp coolers be powered?


There is a much easier way to create a lot more cooling without pumping a lot of stuff into the atmosphere. If everyone on the planet simply painted their roof white, it would be the equivalent of millions of acres of low-latitude ice. It would reflect a good deal of solar radiation back into space before it had a chance to generate heat. Might trigger an ice age, though …
If people did that, always parked their car out of the sun, and cities included “cool pavements” (usually lighter concrete rather than black asphalt), we could probably reduce temperatures in most urban areas by a degree or two in summer. That would, in turn, greatly reduce energy consumption. As the sun is lower in the sky in the winter months, the impact wouldn’t be as great. Maximum impact would be during maximum insolation during the Summer months.


Re Neil Jones
That must be the silliest theory of neanderthal extinction ever. The neanderthal died out near the Glacial Maximum when temperatures were about ten degrees lower than now, they disappeared from north to south (the last ones lived in southern Spain) and they survived the last interglacial, when temperatures were warmer than now.


The idiocy is reaching a new, unprecendent climax.
This guy is ruining the image of the scientists even more.


…. so, when I’m using a sprinkler to water my lawn…. I’m actually cooling the Planet!….. I’ll have to remember that, if the city council catches me using one during water restrictions….. My defence from now on…. I’m cooling the planet and making more clouds. hehe.

Chris H

This proposal seems to have the same basis as one I previously read in the New Scientist (UK), which would have had a large fleet of ships spraying a fine mist of sea water into the air (IIRC powered by the sun).
While most of the proposed technological quick-fixes to global warming are barmy, and potentially very harmful, this proposal has one major plus side: If there are problems, then we can turn it off immediately.

I live in an exceedingly humid part of the South African, alongside the coastline. Right now it is a stinking summer, and we are dripping away. This morning you couldn’t see a kilometre, it was so murky. The absolute last thing I want to think about is some nut case squirting sea water into the atmosphere. Apart from the sweltering aspect, what about the tons of salt this wild idea would add to atmospheric pollution? Here we know a good deal about atmospheric corrosion–but if this guy has his way there will be yet more lessons for us.

anna v

Actually we had seen here a much better cooling proposal, supposing we need cooling, in those ships which would be solar powered and vaporising sea water so as to seed with salt the cloud layer and increase albedo.
I hope this winter’s ice will stop all such speculations.

If my choice is supporting carbon credits or supporting one swamp cooler….I think I’d take the swamp cooler.


The idiocy is reaching a new, unprecendent climax.
Indeed, I don’t know what’s more disturbing: a Scientist with a ridiculous idea (lets face it, Human Progress is based on Scientists with ridiculous ideas) or a media with Science editors who are willing to entertain these ideas and publish them.


Silly Roy. You’ll be taxed to support BOTH.

Ron de Haan

This is the age of political and social Uri Geller like spoon bending and disinformation.
People looking for their inner self run around with magnets because it promotes a good karma, engage in paranormal sessions, virtual religions and ceremonies.
Reality and common sense are gone.
This is the age of semi science, semi religion, semi Government working on semi solutions for semi problems, in short: A most effective but dangerous way to waste resources, time and money.
The swamp cooler is a waste of money.
I think that we have a major problem in the field of education.
But it (still) is a free country and people can patent whatever they want.
And I can assure you that patents have been filed for inventions that are even more “waco” than this one.

Bill Marsh

P Folken,
Since he doesn’t understand that spraying water into the air isn’t ‘evaporative’ in the first place and won’t cause anything but limited local cooling (in the path of the droplets as they settle back to earth) unless you can somehow spray it 3000 feet into the air (even then that most likely is useless) and without suitable amounts of cloud condensation nuclei you’re not going to get clouds no matter how much you spray into the air, I suspect he doesn’t understand.
When I was a kid I read SciFi about ‘terraforming’ Venus. This is right up there with that.
What we need are these huge fusion plants to process the atmosphere, we can call them ‘shake and bake’ .. (from the movie ‘Aliens’)


Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t water vapor a much more effective greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide? So with all this extra water vapor wouldn’t there be more heat retained…either way it’s a moronic solution to a non-existent problem.

Bill Illis

This idea is not new. It is the subject of an actual peer reviewed paper by at least one scientist from NCAR at Boulder, Colorado.


As mankind has been pumping CO2 into the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution with little or no effect how does this fellow honestly expect that if we now start pumping water into the atmosphere that we can affect the climate.
Merry Christmas to all from the Jungles of South Sumatra.

Martin Auldey

They certainly can’t have it both ways.
Water vapour has a positive feedback on global warming, in which case the idea’s stupid,
or water vapour has a negative feedback, in which case uncontrolled global warming cannot occur as the seas warm, the alarmists are wrong, and the idea’s stupid and unnecessary.
Clue: The idea’s stupid, unknown Maryland scientist.


From what source will the many, many, many killowatts of electricity be produced to move all these gigatons of water???


Is this the same idea as having everyone piss in the wind?

CPT. Charles

Hmmm…let me get this straight, this knucklehead wants to create a device[s] that’ll generate huge quantities of the No. 1 GHG and inject into the atmosphere?
That’ll turn out well…sorta like giving a gaggle of five-year olds a box of detonators to play with.
This gives new meaning to the classic phrase …’what could possibly go wrong?’…

Richard P

Any bets that he will get grant funding for a small scale proof of concept project? However, he needs to think bigger. How much money can you get for pointing a water hose in the air? Maybe he should enhance his project with a tilting bird shredder (wind turbine). This way he can produce energy to run the system from the horizontal oriented axis shredders, and enhance the convection with the vertical ones. It would work like those misting fans you can buy at the ballpark. If placed correctly the vertical shredder would pull air from the surrounding area causing air flow to power the horizontal axis power generators. You could model it on a computer and show it works, and that should be enough for the fruit loops at many of these grant agencies or carbon credit exchanges.
If done properly think of the carbon credits that could be generated out of thin air and thicker water! And since the laws of physics do not apply to computer models, carbon credit trading exchanges, or the global warming religion everything should be great. At least the money would not go into vapor ware carbon credits, but into actual equipment that could cool the next “Live Earth Concert”. Oops, I forgot you didn’t need to cool them down since they are in the real world and the Gore Effect is in full force.

Since hurricanes and typhoons (and the storms that routinely rumble through “Tornado Alley“) feed off of warm, moist air, wouldn’t these additional gigatons of fairy dust-powered* warm, moist air, oh, I don’t know, feed more and stronger hurricanes and typhoons (and storms rumbling through “Tornado Alley“)?
Inquiring minds want to know.
*Note: How does he propose to power the tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of gigantic pumps that would be needed to pump gigatons of water into the atmosphere for decades? Also, how would he possibly get past Green Peas and their army of lawyers, when word got out that they’d be sucking up billions of tons of sea life and adding to the noise pollution that is driving the whales insane?)

Robert Bateman

Why doesn’t this yahoo patent Cold Fusion instead. His perpertual motion generator could then power all the devices we need to freeze the Earth harder than it’s freezing right now.

So, turning all of our window air conditioners around so they cool the outside won’t work either?


With the group of science advisers recently appointed in Washington, you can look forward to a stream of stuff, much like this, coming from the new administration.


Let’s see. AGW theory says that CO2 will cause catastrophic warming by increasing water vapor in the atmosphere. To combat the extra heat from the water vapor, let’s add more water vapor.


As long as this genius doesn’t fire boneless chickens at the sun with a cannon, I will refrain from filing a patent challenge.

I’ll be laughing at the very first lawsuit this sea water mist injection would produce.
Could you imagine the claimants asking for money because a hurricane may have increased in strength because of increased humidity? Someone gets flooded out of their village and it’ll be inevitable that someone claims some of that rain was first injected into the atmosphere on purpose?
Silly stuff, really.


Will these crackpots never be still? Where does this
tin-foil hat nutcase think the terawatts of energy to pump all
this water is going to come from? What’s that? “The sun”? So
just how is creating more clouds going to help with
solar energy? Cleverness. The downfall of the clever. D’oh


Even the IPCC says that the climate models don’t understand clouds. So when these unfortunate fellows turned to a popular climate model, they ended up using what is known to be the wrong tool for proving the effect of more water vapor.
They also think the same effect could be caused by thousands of smaller sprinklers. I’m certain just the U.S. golf courses have thousands of sprinklers, and there are quite a number of farms using large sprinklers. I saw mention a few years ago of the possible increase in local warming due to water vapor from the many sprinklers and ponds which have appeared across the U.S. (I can’t find the paper).


“and a resulting catastrophic ocean rise.”
The oceans are currently not rising and up until recently had only been rising 1-2mm per year.
Sound the alarm.

Howard White

Build a few nuclear power plants in the regions where evaporative cooling would be most helpful at managing the earth’s weather. Remember: nuclear plants add nothing to global warming — no CO2, no chemical polutants, no radiation, nothing bad. During daytime hours use that electrical power to run great banks of seawater pumps and sprays to increase evaporation, cloud cover and rainfall. Whamo, you have compensated for increased CO2 in our atmosphere. That’s a lot more reasonable than extracting CO2 from the atmospere and storing it underground or deep in the oceans.
By the way, don’t we need more rainfall in many places around the globe?
The problem with Ron Ace’s patent application is that it is “not invented here”. By that I mean it is not the result of government funded work of scientists in the global warming “community”.
A side note: “If Global Warming is the Problem, Nuclear Power is the Answer.”


You know, they used to tar and feather snake oil salesmen…

old construction worker

I think I found the problem.
‘Kenneth Caldeira, a climate scientist for the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology at Stanford University whose computer simulation of Ace’s invention suggests it would significantly cool the planet.’
‘computer simulation’ The frogs are flying!

Unruly Human

Let me see if I got this right.
We’re going to spend Trillions to stop ourselves from putting one minor greenhouse gas into the atmosphere while we build Giant Patio Evaporative Coolers all over the planet to increase the level of the dominant greenhouse gas? And then the pesky climate will stop changing?
Yeah, that ought to do the trick.

…. so, when I’m using a sprinkler to water my lawn…. I’m actually cooling the Planet!….. I’ll have to remember that, if the city council catches me using one during water restrictions….. My defence from now on…. I’m cooling the planet and making more clouds. hehe.
Sounds like you live in Kalyfornya!

Roof-mounted home/business unit?
Let us hope he remembers that all this water won’t be available during a drought (as in the SE and FL and CA lately.
Plus all that nice humidty. Grows LOTS of fungi, insects, mold, slime, mildew and funky-green-living things ALL OVER the nearest 15-25 feet of EVERY available surface.
(Hope no roofs collapse because of the extra weight up topside.)
(And how people will die from falls cleaning, installing, maintaining these ugly boxes on millions of rooftops? (On the ground? )


I thought the sun already did the heavy lifting in putting water back into the atmosphere. But not being a climate scientist I’ll not defend that idea.
Crosspatch mentions the white cities idea. And I think there may be something in it for reducing UHI effects.
Gradually we could build and manufacture with whiter materials and paint with white. I suppose the vehicles of the Earth, which must total over half a billion, could move to lighter colors also. Roads seem more problematic, the best cost/durability choices may be what we already use.
Living in Arizona I inquired about the new paints that promise less absorption even for darker colors; a property that rattles my inadequate knowledge of physics a little.
Apparently the paints do exist but cost significantly more – requiring on-site mixing of some titanium compound just before application.

Mike Bryant

Wow, if this thing starts really working what will happen to this map:

David L. Hagen

Correction on the title – Ace’s patent was issued in 2004.
United States Patent 6,688,129
Ace February 10, 2004
Geothermal space conditioning

An excavationless geothermal system for heating and cooling applications includes a potable water storage container that receives water from a water supply through a supply line and a reversible water meter. The water in the storage container is circulated through a heat pump, and when the temperature of the water in the container is increased or decreased by the heat pump, the water is returned to the supply through the reversible meter.

Scientists doubt inventor’s global cooling idea — but what if it works?
(with video of Ace describing his invention.)

David Travis, a University of Wisconsin-Whitewater professor who’s studied clouds extensively, praised Ace’s innovation, but said he’s “generally opposed to geo-engineering” solutions and can’t imagine evaporating water on a large enough scale to have a near-term effect.
. . .
One thing is certain: Ace is dead serious. He’s tenaciously compiled more than a thousand pages of research, sometimes during all-night binges despite a fight with cancer. He said he’s invested large sums in patenting his global-warming inventions. . . .”I never saw myself making a dime on it,” said Ace, who said he’d donate his patent to the U.S. government if he gets one. “It’s mostly that the data seemed to be incorrect, and I wanted to know what is right.”

Water in the atmosphere and precipitation is actually little understood. see: Global Warming and Nature’s Thermostat by Roy W. Spencer, Ph.D.
It will be very interesting to see how Ace’s swamp cooler fits with Miskolczi’s planetary greenhouse theory – e.g. where Miskolczi predicts that energy conservation and energy minimization will maintain about constant optical depth.

Greenhouse effect in semitransparent planetary atmospheres,
Ference M. Miskolczi, Quarterly Journal of the Hungarian Meteorological Service, Vol. 111, No. 1 Jan-Mar 2007, pp 1-40
Miskowlczi observes:

“The problem for example with the highly publicized simple ‘bucket analogy’ of greenhouse effect is the ignorance of the energy minimum principle (Committee on Radiative Forcing Effects on Climate Change, et al., 2005).”

Ferenc Miskolczi – Physics of the Planetary Greenhouse Effect
Miklos Zagoni, Dr. – Paleoclimatic Consequences of Dr. Miskolczi’s Greenhouse Theory
See also:


Umm, saltwater tends to be very bad for plant life on land. Wouldn’t flinging all that saltwater up in the air be bad for the plants the salt or saltwater landed on? They wouldn’t be able to convert CO2 into O for us. They cannot get anything growing in Galveston. Everything is crusted in salt.


Comparing this idea to the intelligence of a sack of rocks insults the intelligence of the sack of rocks.
My bet is that it is powered by enviro-friendly perpetual motion.
The fallacy of this, yet its being supported by any sort of climate scientist, has already been pointed out: If water vapor is indeed a negative climate forcing, then the claims of Hansen &co. are wrong.


Need someone who knows what he is talking about (not me) but If I remember correctly burning one gallon of gasoline produces more that one gallon of H2O. So if we want to increase the water vapor we should drive around in an SUV.
Next we will discuss how a propane refrigerator works, and then boil up some ice cubes.

Gary Palmgren

Years ago Popular Science had a article about a much more detailed plan. The proposal was to build a large hollow 1km high tower in the desert and pump sea water spray into the top. This would create a cool falling column of air in the tower that would in turn power a turbine at the bottom to create electricity. The whole idea was to create electricity in excess of that needed to power the sea water pumps. Excess water would would wash the salt back to the ocean. The cooled moist air could be used to grow plants or air condition a small town.
All you need is that 1km hollow tower that doesn’t blow away in the first windstorm.