Every Silver Lining Has A Cloud

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

I noted on the news that there is a new plan afoot to cool down the planet. This one supposedly has been given big money by none other than Bill Gates.

The plan involves a fleet of ships that supposedly look like this:

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

The web site claims that:

Bill Gates Announces Funding for Seawater-Spraying Cloud Machines

The machines, developed by a San Francisco-based research group called Silver Lining, turn seawater into tiny particles that can be shot up over 3,000 feet in the air. The particles increase the density of clouds by increasing the amount of nuclei contained within. Silver Lining’s floating machines can suck up ten tons of water per second.

What could possibly go wrong with such a brilliant plan?

First, as usual the hype in this seems to have vastly outpaced the reality. According to CBS News Tech Talk:

The machines, developed by a San Francisco-based research group called Silver Lining, turn seawater into tiny particles that can be shot up over 3,000 feet in the air. The particles increase the density of clouds by increasing the amount of nuclei contained within. Silver Lining’s floating machines can suck up ten tons of water per second. If all goes well, Silver Lining plans to test the process with 10 ships spread throughout 3800 square miles of ocean. Geoengineering, an umbrella phrase to describe techniques that would allow humans to prevent global warming by manipulating the Earth’s climate, has yet to result in any major projects.

However, this is just a quote from the same web site that showed the ship above. CBS Tech Talk goes on to say:

A PR representative from Edelman later sent me this note from Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution for Science: “Bill Gates made a grant to the University of Calgary to support research in possible unique solutions and responses to climate change. Administrating this research funding, David Keith of the University of Calgary and I made a grant to Armand Neukermanns for lab tests to investigate the technical feasibility of producing the fine seawater sprays required by the Latham cloud whitening proposal, one of many proposals for mitigating some of the adverse effects of climate change. This grant to Neukermanns is for lab tests only, not Silver Lining’s field trials.”

So Bill Gates isn’t funding the ships, and didn’t even decide to fund this particular fantasy, he just gave money to support research into “possible unique solutions”. Well, I’d say this one qualifies …

Next, after much searching I finally found the Silver Lining Project web site. It says on the home page:

The Silver Lining Project is a not-for-profit international scientific research collaboration to study the effects of particles (aerosols) on clouds, and the influence of these cloud effects on climate systems.

Well, that sure sounds impressive. Unfortunately, the web site is only four pages, and contains almost no information at all.

Intrigued, I emailed them at the address given on their web site, which is info(a)silverliningproj.org. I quickly got this reply:

Delivery has failed to these recipients or distribution lists:

info@silverliningproj.org

The recipient’s e-mail address was not found in the recipient’s e-mail system. Microsoft Exchange will not try to redeliver this message for you. Please check the e-mail address and try resending this message, or provide the following diagnostic text to your system administrator.

Hmmmm … not a good sign, four page web site, email address is dead … but onwards, ever onwards. Let’s look at a few numbers here.

First, over the tropical oceans, the rainfall is typically on the order of a couple of metres per year. Per the info above, they are going to test the plan with one ship for every 380 square miles. A square mile is about 2.6 square km, or 2.6 million square metres. Three hundred eighty square miles is about a thousand square km. Two metres of rainfall in that area is about two billion tonnes of water …

They say their ships will suck up “ten tonnes of water per second”. That’s about a third of a billion tonnes per year. So if they run full-time, they will increase the amount of water in the air by about 15% … which of course means 15% more rain. I don’t know how folks in rainy zones will feel about a 15% increase in their rainfall, but I foresee legalarity in the future …

Next, how much fuel will this use? The basic equation for pumps is:

Water flow (in liters per second) = 5.43 x pump power (kilowatts) / pressure (bars)

So to pump 10,000 litres per second (neglecting efficiency losses) with a pressure of 3 bars (100 psi) will require about 5,500 kilowatts. This means about 50 million kilowatt-hours per year. Figuring around 0.3 litres of fuel per kilowatt-hour (again without inefficiencies), this means that each ship will burn about fifteen million litres of fuel per year, so call it maybe twenty five million litres per year including all of the inefficiencies plus some fuel to actually move the ship around the ocean. All of these numbers are very generous, it will likely take more fuel than that. But we’ll use them.

Next, the money to do this … ho, ho, ho …

You can buy a used fire fighting ship for about fifteen million dollars,  but it will only pump about 0.8 tonnes/second. So a new ship to pump ten tonnes per second might cost on the order of say twenty million US dollars.

You’d need a crew of about twelve guys to run the ship 24/7. That’s three eight-hour shifts of four men per shift. On average they will likely cost about US$80,000 per year including food and benefits and miscellaneous, so that’s about a million per year.

Then we have fuel costs of say US$ 0.75 per litre, so there’s about ten million bucks per year there.

Another web site says:

A study commissioned by the Copenhagen Consensus Centre, a European think-tank, has estimated that a wind-powered fleet of 1,900 ships to cruise the world’s oceans, spraying sea water from towers to create and brighten clouds, could be built for $9 billion. The idea would be to operate most of the ships far offshore in the Pacific so they would not interfere with weather on land.

My numbers say $38 billion for the ships … and “wind-powered”? As a long time sailor, I can only say “get real” …

However, that’s just for the ships. Remember that we are talking about $11 million per ship for annual pumping fuel costs plus labour … which is an annual cost of another $20 billion dollars …

Finally, they say that they are going to test this using one ship per 380 square miles … and that they can blanket the world with 1,900 ships. That makes a total of around three quarters of a million square miles covered by the 1,900 ships.

The surface of the world ocean, however, is about 140 million square miles, so they will be covering about half a percent of the world ocean with the 1,900 ships. Half a percent. If that were all in the Pacific Ocean per the citation above, here’s how much it would cover:

Figure 2. Area covered by 1,900 cloud making ships.

Yeah, brightening that would make a huge difference, especially considering half of the time it wouldn’t even see the sun …

See, my problem is that I’m a practical guy, and I’ve spent a good chunk of my life working with machinery around the ocean. Which is why I don’t have a lot of time for “think-tanks” and “research groups”. Before I start a project, I do a back-of-the-envelope calculation to see if it makes sense.

My calculations show that this will cost forty billion dollars to start, and twenty billion per year to run, not counting things like ship maintenance and redundancy and emergencies and machinery replacement and insurance and a fleet of tankers to refuel the pump ships at sea and, and, and …

And for all of that, we may make a slight difference on half a percent of the ocean surface. Even if I’ve overestimated the costs by 100% (always possible, although things usually cost more than estimated rather than less), that’s a huge amount of money for a change too small to measure on a global scale.

Now Bill Gates is a smart guy. But on this one, I think he may have let his heart rule his head. One of the web sites quoted above closes by saying:

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation did not respond to requests for comment on Tuesday, nor did U.S. entrepreneur Kelly Wanser, who is leading the Silver Lining Project.

Smart move … what we have here is a non-viable non-solution to a non-problem. I wouldn’t want to comment either, especially since this non-solution will burn about 27 billion litres (about 7 billion US gallons) of fuel per year to supposedly “solve” the problem supposedly caused by CO2 from burning fuel …


394 thoughts on “Every Silver Lining Has A Cloud

  1. Great idea! Not only will we have more clouds and a colder planet, but the sea level should drop as well!

    Living in Pennsylvania, however, I’d like to see less clouds and more warmth for a change. But hey, I’m willing to make the sacrifice to save the planet!!!!!!

  2. One other thing, does this mean we can look
    forward to more rain, and salty rain as well? Hoe will the crops like that?

  3. Boy, you thought it was cold this last winter, just wait till they block a sizeable portion of the incoming radiation at the tropics and then the volcanoes blow. Anthropogenic Global Ice Age!

    And just exactly how are you going to warm us back up? Come on Mr. Gates, got an answer for that in the pipeline? Well if you don’t you need one, kinda like a B.O.P. on a well.

  4. Fantastic Willis, that last paragraph is a killer. Just need Bill Gates to read it now

  5. They’re basically saving the appearances, aren’t they? The IPCC is the new Inquisition, with a thousand little Torquemadas ready, willing and able to give hell to anybody whose conscience dictates opposition to these hare-brained schemes. I’d prefer the caveats of somebody as experienced as Willis Eschenbach anyday to all these horses built by committees.

  6. “$11 million per ship for annual pumping fuel costs and labour”

    Unless the pumps are wind-powered and the crew are magic robots with windmills sticking out of the top of their heads.

  7. Like most green and geo engineering projects this one isn’t practical. The concept might be valid on a small scale (re:cloud/fog forests), but practicality is the BSOD.

    Another nagging question, if they do manage to change the climate, will they be liable when their new and bigger storm swamps a metro area/wipes out crops/causes other disasters, or when our -30F January nights go -50?

    We are in a 6 year drought, can I order a foot or two of rain for this summer, with service pack 3 please? How much extra is it for the ‘Make My Whitewater River Roar Again 7 Professional’ and the ‘Snowmobiler’s Paradise 3.1’ packages?

  8. Hmmmm…..

    I just watched a wonderful program on TV about the wonders of the living, blue sea.

    One of those wonders is all the plankton, the microscopic plankton, which is the foundation of the entire food chain of the whole ecosystem of the ocean. Any self respecting lover of the world of life would tell you how critical it is to the entire chain of life to protect this fundamental foundation of the life cycle.

    This plankton roams the oceans on the very surface, the upper foot or so.

    Now comes along these huge vacuum cleaners, sucking all the plankton up into the air.

    Where is the outrage from the environmental community?

    Not only does the plankton produce oxygen, many of the developing embryos of the pelagic fishes make up an important part of this critical community.

    Now we’re going to pick up and spray these delicate, beautiful, and critical creatures into the air.

    Will Bill Gates now be the father of a real large Blue Screen of Death?

  9. Now Bill, for the right price I could let you have a gen-u-ine Buck Rogers Cosmic Ray Machine.

  10. 9 billion for 1900 aircraftcarrier sized ships? Or is it 9 billion for the 10 aircraftcarrier sized ships that they are going to use to test this? In that case it would be a staggering 1900 x 0.9 billion = 1710 billion.

    For that amount of money we could (probably) colonise Mars and the asteriod belt and beyond, and it would make more sense as well.

  11. I think you just proved that extreme pessimism and extreme wishful thinking don’t add up to zero.

  12. Anthony,

    Yahoo has a story about a grey whale that has moved into the North Atlantic/Mediterranean and there is speculation that this may be the first step in recolonization of the Atlantic since the species became extinct there in the 18th century. Of course, global warming and the unprecedented opening of the Northwest Passage is to “blame.” I thought you’d be interested in debunking the global warming disinformation in the piece.

  13. Excellent post Willis. Guess your practical brain is spoiling all the fun for these fantasists, you party pooper, you.

  14. Since seawater contains about 3.5% by weight salt, what happens to the salt content of rainwater should this Silver Lining project actually happen? It goes up accordingly. Plants would be subjected to a lot more salt than usual, and runoff from rivers would see a significant increase in salinity. I can’t see where this is a good idea at all. They should rename the project Unintended Sea Salt Rain (USSR).

  15. Nukes would do it bigger, faster, cheaper, louder. Proven technology and there’s a surplus that requires disposal. Ok, so there would be some environmental issues, but compared to the fuel costs for the pump fleet, it might not be such a bad deal. The ships will probably be wind or solar powered anyway, but key point is:

    “spraying sea water from towers to create and brighten clouds, could be built for $9 billion”

    Only $9bn? We should put a WUWT team bid in to develop and build for $8.5. If the UK pitches in with some of our Climate Change Act £15bn or so a year, we could have some real fun. I’m sure collectively we have the knowledge and experience to have a decent go of it, and as a non-profit organisation would be duty bound to spend everything we could get.

    I’m puzzled though that pro-AGW types think we’re all right wing capitalist swines who want to make lots of money, yet these kinds of pipe dreams aren’t exactly altruistic. Gates and Co. have been busily putting seed money into geo-engineering to grab patents and future returns for licensing those to save the planet. But then that’s the guy that did his own bit to boost energy consumption by giving us Vista.

  16. So then, Willis, why don’t you stop being so shy and tell us what you really think!

    ☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺

    /dr.bill

  17. And when Melinda Gates breaks the champagne bottle on the bow of the first ship, this is what the assembled crowd will hear over the public address system:

    “A fatal exception 0E has occurred at 0028:C0011E36 in VXD VMM(01) + 00010E36. The current application will be terminated. Press any key to terminate the current application. Press CTRL+ALT+DEL to restart.”

  18. A project like this makes for some interesting calculations. With 1900 ships pumping 10 tons per second I make it that they will blow about 6 x 10^14 kilograms of seawater into the air per year. This is of course insignificant compared to the amount naturally vaporized. However the amount of salt is not insignificant, something like 10^13 kilograms of chlorine. Since chlorine is supposed to be very bad for the ozone layer, one hopes that not too much of it makes it into the stratosphere.
    Also about 2 x 10^13 kilos of salt is enough for about 40 tons for each square kilometer of the Earths surface, so one also hopes that they keep well away from any land.

  19. Then there’s the small matter of pumping the most powerful green house gas of all into the atmosphere to mitigate the green house warming of a bit player.

    Oh, and then there is the other small matter that we don’t really have a complete understanding of cloud formation to begin with so who knows if this will change albedo anyway.

    And oops, how about that virgin rain forest subjected to salt water rain. That can’t be a wonderful thing for the earth’s lungs can it?

  20. Leave it to you to quote Al Sleet, the Hippy-Dippy Weatherman, with the title.
    My other favorite, “Tonight’s forecast–Dark, with widely scattered light in the morning.”

  21. I wonder what would happen when they spew that much salt into the mid to upper troposphere. — John M Reynolds

  22. Sorry Willis you missed a key point the ships are solar and wind powered and so no is fuel is required. I studied renewable energy based ships. They can generate this level of power per day but don’t move far or fast in the process.
    You missed the documentary on discovery channel, , where the discovery team did several of these projects. I think the channel did an obvious hack job on them with a lot of plagiarism thrown in as well. There are I believe some legal disputes. None of the organisations covered in the doco use the discovery channel footage with out editing the idiot PhD reporter – “Dr. Basil Singer — The Scientist” out. He claimed every project as his own, facilitating the idea, etc. and then killed it off with counter claim edited in after the real researchers and he had finished with the research.
    I have corresponded with Dr Salter who designed the technology. As cloud seeding technology is concerned its very reasonable. And the price is quite cheap if cap and trade is your only hope. 40 billion is a bargain against global cap and trade bills of trillions.
    If CO2 really did matter then these geo-engineering projects would matter and would help a little.
    The catch is that CO2 is not a big enough problem to warrant any large expenditure over and beyond fixing the weather data gathering and analysis systems.
    I still think ocean fertilisation will work as a sea farming technology and we will see power-sat and mirror sats in space. However as geo-engineering ideas they and Dr Salters idea is unfortunately dead. The boat should work fine the sails are quite storm-worthy. I want one minus the cloud maker.

  23. I think they should all be placed off the coast of Northern Washington State to enhance the Quality of life in Washington State. If the ships utilize solar to power the pumps then what little sunlight Seattle receives would go into making clouds to eliminate the sunlight. We all know the wind always blows at 10 knots in that region so theses ships along with wind turbines should definitely enhance the scenic views off the coast.

  24. Dang I hate html. Sorry Anthony can you fix the link they stuffed me up somehow?
    A preview button and a delete button would allow us to fix these glitches our selves and reduce your workload.
    I assume you can see the code and spot the glitch in seconds.

    [Reply: Fixed. Unfortunately, WordPress does not support a preview function, but there are workarounds. Maybe a helpful reader could post one or two. ~dbs, mod.]

  25. They must be barking mad – it’ll never fly!

    So, man has caused deadly global warming (irrefutable fact), by contaminating the atmosphere by emitting polluting greehouse gases by burning fossil fuels, so they want to experiment on global cooling by pumping millions of tonnes of some kind of fuel effluent into the atmosphere along with lots of little water droplets to produce more clouds to cool the planet. The logic is perfect I suppose? Is this just another attempt to show how mankind really rules the planet & not weak, feeble, ineffectual, mother nature? The next ice age is around the corner in all probability too in a couple or three thousnad years time! Now, where is there a volcano I can play games with?

  26. The money would be better spent on desalinization plants and pumping the water into arid regions to help grow crops and or trees.

    The fuel costs are immaterial as the ships will use wind power. Just need to add a few more towers on either end for the turbines ; )

    Is 3000 ft high enough to really do anything as far as making more clouds? Would the columns of water just wash dust out of the air, reducing clouds?

  27. Another lunatic idea. Their cloud spraying probably wouldn’t even make up for the CO2 it would take to create the clouds in the first place.

    There is no end to the stupidity…

  28. No, he didn’t ‘think with his heart’. He obviously needed some charitable deductions to reduce his tax liability and this is one of the ones his advisers found for him.

  29. wind powered only for the first fight, the second flight will be powered by tapping the Rainbow Power of the wonderful rainbows produced by the spray. As for the crews, the ships will be manned by trained unicorns, who as we all know need no sleep and are beautiful as well! The ships, of course, will be built by elves and lawn gnomes in their magical factories that produce no pollution and emissions smell like wild flowers (and profits don’t line the pockets of evil capitalists). And the fantastic byproduct of this happy product is: Stop global warming and lower the average temperature by 10 C.
    Hope I didn’t miss many fantantic ideas, those mine pale to the original concept. Will this *snip* get any more stoopid?????

  30. “What could possibly go wrong with such a brilliant plan?”

    Oh, I’d say the worst that could happen is that it works beyond their wildest expectations and then I’d have to pack up and move out of the way of the next North American glaciation.

    The moral of the story? Quit fooling around with Mother Nature until you really know what you’re doing.

  31. If I lived on an island, or even the mainland, nearby I don’t think I would appreciate salty rain on my crops.
    And 12 guys per vessel is way too few – I would think 20.
    And they would need another 10 on leave to relieve them even if they work two months on and one off.
    Lots of work for out-of-work seamen (aka Pirates) from Somalia, SE Asia, etc. etc. .
    But a great way to burn up the fossil fuel and increase the CO2 so the trees grow quicker.

  32. At least it is an improvment on the massive Sulphur Dioxide pipe that the Freakonomics Twins wanted!

  33. it makes me wonder if all that spraying is going to increase the amount of chlorine in the air as well. if that happens in a big way, maybe we’ll get to find out just how important the ozone layer really was. LOL!

    btw, you don’t think that lawyer in nigeria whose been trying to send you a few million bucks has decided to go into the environmental salvation business do you?

  34. That this idea went for more than 10 microseconds indicates the dearth of critical thinking by people who are wont to call themselves engineers and scientists.

    This sort of thing really makes me despondent.

    Willis, your summing up is right on the money “non-viable, non solution to a non problem”.
    Says it all really doesn’t it ?

  35. Bill Gates wants to bring the “blue screen of death” to the entire planet, including Mac and Linux users.

    This is the what the sky will look like:

  36. 3 bars is about 43.5 PSI, not 100… Time to double the fuel costs. If this were a government project, this would be discovered after the pumps are built, of course, tripling the cost of those.

  37. I think it would take more than a dozen crew for one of those tubs. More likely around a hundred, especially if they are sail boats. If it were me, I’d skip the sails and go straight for oars and drummers. It’s a proven green propulsive technology and would provide gainful employment and much needed exercise for progressive pencil necks.

  38. “The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation did not respond to requests for comment on Tuesday, nor did U.S. entrepreneur Kelly Wanser, who is leading the Silver Lining Project.”

    Well, of course not!

    The whole scheme is nought but window dressing anyway to make Billy Boy Gates appear as if he’s got a few fingers in the pie.

    Appearances, damn it! Appearances!

  39. Willis,

    Nice article but it is FAR worse than you calculated. If you calculate the power required to lift 10 tonnes per second to 3000 ft you get a bit larger number.

    power = (weight * height)/second
    = (20,000lb *4.448 N / lb)(3000ft*.3048m/ft)/1 second
    = 81,345,000 = 81 million watts (MW)

    This calculation results in 15 times more fuel consumption from the above calculation for an ideal pump. IC engines run at about 60% efficiency, the pump to launch something that fast would be hard pressed to be more than 50% my guess though would be well under 20 percent efficient.

    If we ignore the pump and include just the IC engines efficiency – 81MW/.6 = 135MW with a perfect pump.

    If the pump were as efficient as I expect you would reach 1/2 gigawatt per ship.

    Now after a tired morning of research– Bill Gates please send checks to WUWT Skunkworks…

    Perhaps the article could have been “15.21 gigawatts, what was I thinking!”

  40. The picture looks like these are planned to be Flettner rotor ships. I almost wouldn’t mind seeing one of these white elephants built just for the joy of seeing a Flettner rotor ship of that size in operation.

  41. Such ambition! Man believes himself master of the planet.

    Once the climate is fully under control, maybe we should turn our minds to controlling the sun. Pesky thing is due to turn into a red giant. Solutions on a postcard please.

  42. Apparently those at Silver Lining are either very smart or very dumb. My bet is on very smart, they got their grant and will produce nothing. Nice work when you can get it.

  43. Not to split hairs here but it would take considerably more than 3 bar pressure to pump water 3000 feet into the air. Probably more like 300 bar.

  44. Cloud machines? Surely they’re not Ceres.
    Sure Gates is smart. He knows a money-making scheme when he sees one.

  45. Rocky Road and others already talked about the salt problems, but my other question is wouldn’t these low-lying clouds be the wrong type of clouds? I thought that higher clouds did a better job of reflecting than low clouds. Please enlighten–thanks.

  46. Alan the Brit says:
    May 12, 2010 at 4:10 am
    They must be barking mad – it’ll never fly!

    (…)

    Now, where is there a volcano I can play games with?
    ————
    Reply: Got one just 80 miles north of me–Yellowstone! When I was a grad student at the U of U, professors there had just finished up a study of the heat gradient under Yellowstone Lake using borehole data. It was calculated that if somehow the lake level dropped just 4 feet instantly, the whole thing would go up like a pressure cooker with the top popped off.

    So, I propose if they REALLY want to cool the planet, they’ll induce Yellowstone. Use nukes if you want; at that point it becomes immaterial. Hey, it won’t matter that the earth will be plunged into 2 or 3 years of no summer (hence elimination of much of the CO2-spewing population due to starvation), at least we’ll get this BOILING EARTH PHENOMENA under control! And it would be a lot cheaper than continuously pumping a gazillion gallons of seawater into the atmosphere. (Just think of the tickets you could sell to spectators to watch the Yellowstone show, although finding a safe site might be difficult!)

    My vocabulary can’t begin to denigrate these “AGW geoengineers”, but suffice it to say the same unprintable description applicable to our politicians also applies to them.

  47. 3800 square miles, Willis, not 380.

    [snip… 5 sentences of snark deleted. ~dbs, mod.]

  48. Willis,
    Your 3 bar pressure on the discharge side of the pump will only get the water 30 metres up in the air. They are talking about 3000 feet (900 metres). This would require 90 bar pressure. That is one serious pump…

  49. Jon says:
    “Not good for surface sealife … airborne plankton?”
    Not a problem. Gate’s will fund a project to genetically engineer flying whales.

  50. Talk about geoengineering..
    A Google search on “stephen schneider”, autocomplete line 3 and 4:

    stephen schneider global warming
    stephen schneider global cooling

    What a guy!

  51. Gawd, you would think it would be easy to block out the sun. They did it in the Matrix. But then again they all had to live 4km underground where it was warm.

  52. Willis, you didn’t really do your homework on this one. The Lantham approach has been examined in rather a lot of detail. If you’d like to see the discussions on this, go to the geoengineering google group and take a look at the discussions there. They’ve run quite of bit of modeling on what is needed and what it will do. At present, they would target the arctic (they think it is melting). They have already tested the elements of the ship design and it is not as expensive as a naval ship by any means, and is a “drone” ship operated by a land-based operator.

    The proponents believe it ought be tested, including field tests, because it has the smallest potential adverse effects of the various geoengineering techniques under serious consideration.

    In general, the geoengineering community believes these kinds of techniques, at least three of which appear to be cost-effective, feasible and effective, would only be developed as an insurance policy should temperatures actually rise. Because the cost of cooling the planet (should it actually heat up) would be so much less by using geoengineering than by carbon reduction, it provides a means to transition out of carbon over a period of many decades at a cost that is not unreasonable and is one to ten thousand times less expensive than carbon reduction.

  53. The problem is that those droplets are not ionized as water droplets in clouds. For a more crazy idea:

  54. December 17, 1903, Kitty Hawk, NC

    Today, two brothers from Dayton, Ohio made the first, powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flight. Wilbur and Orville Wright, bicycle makers, mechanics and tinkerers combined wood, fabric and a gasoline engine of their own design to make a device they are calling an airplane.

    Within the next hundred years, it is envisioned that fleets of giant airplanes made of exotic materials and powered by oil burning turbines will economically carry millions of people on trips from city to city and across the oceans at speeds greater than 500 miles per hour.

    There will be an additional charge for checked baggage.

  55. I think this must be run through IPCC’s climate models first…. heck, for all you know, the temperature could go up!

    Wasnt the roof of that Wood-guy’s greenhouse-experiment made of Salt-chloride or something? (You remember, that experiment that debunks the AGW theory….)

    hehe

  56. stevengoddard says: LOL!…just imagine, if run on Windows Vista it would DUPLICATE the vessel and it couldn´t be deleted the vessel´s copy…
    It would also UPDATE every morning just when the crew was preparing to sow new clouds
    It would also need a ROBUST antivirus to prevent sudden sinking…etc.
    In the end they should have to launch Vessel Version Windows 7.
    Thinking it well they better buy an Apple vessel.

  57. Note from Bill to Willis

    “Detail! Details! Details!

    Don’t bother me with details Willis!

    Just send the 30 second grab out. That’s all the unwashed masses understand”

  58. Doesn’t salt, when carried high into the atmosphere, form ozone destroying chemicals?

  59. You guys have all missed the real point – this is not about reducing CO2, it is a conspiracy designed to increase biodiversity. Spraying trillions of living plankton and fish larvae into the air for years on end is bound to result in the evolution of plankton that live in clouds and fish that can truly fly! Imagine that, green clouds and schools of fish swooping and diving around our yards. And all that airborne plankton would suck up LOTS of CO2. Of course, we would then be living at the bottom of the atmospheric “ocean” and would have to deal with the rain of dead plankton that would probably kill off many of the surface plants.

    I live in the tropics where we have lots of clouds and I say, GO FOR IT!!

  60. David Schnare,
    The only ‘geo-engineering’ technique with real potential is to fertilize the oceans.
    And then when it fails, you have at least improved fishery production.
    I would not trust the ‘geo-engineering’ community to make a lego castle at this point.

  61. The clouds that will be sent up will be in the shape of letters: sky writing!

    They’ll sell advertising to offset costs. Imagine the ads that will float across the skies of the world.

    First ad: “BP – For A Greener Tomorrow”

    ;o)

  62. Commenters are saying that the ships will use solar or wind power. 5,500 kilowatts to do the pumping, so the ships have to find a place outside the doldrums where the wind is blowing faster than the ocean current, then shut off the engines and drift as long as possible. The best place to mount a 6MW wind turbine would be on the stern, so drag would tend to keep the adrift ship pointing into the wind, but then your turbine is on the leeward side of the tall water pipes. And if you’re using a 6MW turbine, you can only pump at full speed when the turbine encounters conditions when it can run at full power. Good luck with that. I wonder how many wind turbines one can fit on a ship.

  63. People don’t realize that these ideas go down in history in the patent office as hilarious examples of human silliness. I wonder if the sea pumping ship design HAS been sent to the patent office?

  64. For $40 Billion I think it would make more sense to build transporters. I know, sounds like science fiction, but for that kind of cash, I think it could be done. Just beam goods and services around the planet. I think I could build a small demo system for about $1 Billion. Big enough to move a single person across an ocean. I have the bill of materials already:

    2 large cardboard boxes, $12 million each
    2 gallons green paint (it has to be green, that’s the default) $8 million
    2 painting crews, one day each, $4 million
    Safety inspection and certification, $96 million
    Management fees, $899 million

    Of course the leaves the test subject, who is going to want to be the first to try it given all the things that could go wrong? I think we could find someone though, and ad in newspapers like this ought to work:

    One time job testing prototype transporter. $1 million. No experience with transporters required. Strong preference for persons with “pulling rabbit from hat” and “escape from padlocked trunk” experience. Must supply own identical twin.

  65. Your calc needs to update. You can’t spray water too high with 3 barg. It’s 30m water column.

  66. You could get the same effect at much less cost by just putting an additive (silver iodide?) into aviation fuel. Turn every international air flight into an efficient cloud seeding operation. No need to build a specialised fleet. Use one that already exists.

  67. So climate change is bad and their solution is to fix it by deploying a fleet of ships (a warmada perhaps?) to er, change the climate? They’ve really tied themselves in knots since they re-branded global warming as climate change.
    My mental image of Bill Gates selling this reminds me of Montgomery Burns touting his Spruce Moose to Smithers – that thing could carry two hundred passengers from New York’s Idyllwild Airport to the Belgian Congo in seventeen minutes!

  68. One good source of contact information is the whois protocol/database. However, a number of organizations prefer to keep their information private (domain name holders get a fair amount of spam), and DNS registrars will provide their own contact information. That appears to be the case here:

    tux:wuwt> whois silverliningproj.org

    Domain ID:D158696581-LROR
    Domain Name:SILVERLININGPROJ.ORG
    Created On:25-Mar-2010 21:43:13 UTC
    Last Updated On:25-Mar-2010 21:43:31 UTC
    Expiration Date:25-Mar-2011 21:43:13 UTC
    Sponsoring Registrar:Domain-It!, Inc. (R157-LROR)
    Status:CLIENT TRANSFER PROHIBITED
    Status:TRANSFER PROHIBITED
    Registrant ID:WOCH-R1269553409
    Registrant Name:DomainIt Private Registration
    Registrant Organization:Attn: silverliningproj.org
    Registrant Street1:9891 Montgomery Road, #225
    Registrant Street2:
    Registrant Street3:
    Registrant City:Cincinnati
    Registrant State/Province:OH
    Registrant Postal Code:45242
    Registrant Country:US
    Registrant Phone:+1.5133514222
    Registrant Phone Ext.:
    Registrant FAX:
    Registrant FAX Ext.:
    Registrant Email:ufxsesx5i4bn50jhum@hideyourwhois.com

    Even the Snail mail address is for the registrar, see http://www.domainit.com/contact.mhtml

    So, no info there. Proactively hiding the decline, I guess.

  69. Willis, I have been bringing this project up since last year.

    http://www.eta.co.uk/2009/08/07/cloud-making-ships-tackle-climate-change

    I was all for it.

    1) it does not use pumps. It has a
    A rotor-powered ship replaces conventional sails with spinning rotors. It works because a spinning body in a moving airstream experiences a force perpendicular to the direction of the airstream. In the case of the Dr Slater’s design, propeller-like turbines in the water beneath the ship power both the spinning rotors and the droplet-generator.
    2) It would use solar energy for the rest, and will be robotic on a grid.

    3) It is nondestructive non permanent and thus a nice toy to give geo engineering people to play with until the world realizes that there is no problem to solve. It can be stopped on a penny.
    One need not increase rain by 15%. A 1% change in albedo drops the temperature appreciably.
    more:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article4648680.ece
    http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/35693

  70. How many such ships per square kilometer would it take to start a tropical storm? On the other hand, I would rather not pay someone so I could be cooled by a tropical storm.

  71. wesley bruce says:
    May 12, 2010 at 4:00 am

    Sorry Willis you missed a key point the ships are solar and wind powered and so no is fuel is required. I studied renewable energy based ships. They can generate this level of power per day but don’t move far or fast in the process.

    “This level of power per day.” Power is typically watts, watts per day is fairly meaningless.

    The power isn’t needed for locomotion, it’s needed to “suck up ten tons of water per second.” Willis says that’s 5.5 Mw. Given the salt particles need to get up to cloud level, I think his 100 psi pressure may be woefully inadequate, let’s just call it conservative.

    Are those towers wind turbines? Why doesn’t the drawing show solar collectors of whatever sort work with cloud makers?

    Please expand on what it takes to for a renewable energy based platform to produce 5.5 Mw for a substantial portion of every day.

  72. “…turn seawater into tiny particles that can be shot up over 3,000 feet in the air.”

    This requires a bit more pressure than 3 bars…

  73. The natural method is far superior. A thunderstorm only gets started at 3,000 feet altitude and hits over 40,000 ft. A thunderstorm is distilled water and has no salt. Tell Gates we don’t want acid rain or salt rain. The power of the thunderstorm in my county yesterday has more water and power than all the boats his 60 billion dollar$$$ could buy. It will happen again today.

  74. You ever wonder why no one contributes to research regarding new nuclear power plant designs? Or even how conventional nuclear power plants be made cheaper and better. My guess would be the payoff for that research would be far more worthwhile than all these stupid studies of stupid ideas.

  75. wesley bruce says:
    May 12, 2010 at 4:00 am

    “Sorry Willis you missed a key point the ships are solar and wind powered and so no is fuel is required. I studied renewable energy based ships. They can generate this level of power per day but don’t move far or fast in the process….”
    ____________________________________________________________________
    Willis , I hope they really do make these ships ” solar and wind powered” with no diesel engine back-ups. Think of all the wide eyed idealists who would sign up to sail these ships and the large dose of reality they will receive. English impressment gangs and “shanghiad” come to mind.

  76. I suspect that what they are after here is putting very small salt particles in the atmosphere (after the ocean water evaporates upon being blown skyward) to act as condensation nuclei for cloud formation since they would need cloud cover for sunlight reflection and not rain. Don’t know how efficient or effective this would be as I could find no studies in this area. However with salt particles, cloud droplet formation can apparently occur as low as 75% humidity because it is hygroscopic.

  77. Yes, combat global warming, supposedly caused by greenhouse gases, by pumping the most dominant greenhouse gas into the atmosphere. These theories all make sense.

    Of course, global warming would increase if we sucked water vapor out of the atmosphere. In other words everyone, it’s a lose-lose situation. It’s going to warm up no matter what we do.

  78. Thanks Willis for presenting this fantasy project for the joke it really is.
    It it proofs anything besides the incredibly mad ideas that come from some of our universities today, it’s the price of creating “Green Jobs”!

    It’s simply not going to happen.

  79. Interesting post. However I think you greatly underestimated the power required to run the pump. It requires a minimum of 1300 PSI or 90 Bar to raise a column of water to 3000 ft, ignoring losses fue to friction. This multiplies the energy required and fuel cost and polution by a factor of 30!

  80. Why not build Nuclear power stations on the coasts instead? The cooling towers will boil the oceans and provide the clouds, and we get to use the waste -product ( aka electricity) to power our PCs !

    Global Cooling, plus Recycling for fun and profit!

    Do you think Gates would buy this one ?

  81. Atomic Hairdryer
    May 12, 2010 at 3:31 am

    Count me in on your ‘non-profit’ idea. I have been an AGW crisis skeptic for almost 20 years now (after discovering that the science was lame and the arguments were emotional), but have yet to collect a dime from ‘Big Oil’ or any right wing think tanks. Frankly, I am pretty strapped and could use a bit of that Bill Gates largess.

    The ideas that are getting funded are so stupid that I am sure we could come up with something a little better. Of course, we would have to do it on the condition that our propositions never actually get implemented. Humans can cause changes to the environment unintentionally, but it is when they deliberately try to ‘fix’ the environment that they can really screw things up! (see the history of Yellowstone National Park).

  82. Didn’t the Romans do a pilot project to study the effect of distributing salt across the landscape? Carthage was the test site, if I recall correctly.

  83. A lot more than that, Willis. You’ve not only got to move this water, but LIFT it.

    To propel 10,000kg of “tiny particles that can be shot up over 3,000 feet in the air” (let’s say to 1000 metres) requires energy as follows:

    Energy = force x distance = mass x gravitational acceleration x distance
    = 10,000 (kg) x 9.81 (m.s^-2) x 1000 (m)
    = 98,100,000 joules, say 100,000,000 joules.

    So to propel 10,000 kg of seawater per second to that height, with no losses, by any method of propulsion you care to choose, would require a minimum of 100 megawatts of power. Add in all the inefficiencies, air resistance, atomization and the rest, and I doubt you’d get away with less than 500 megawatts per ship. That’s of the order of 100 times what you calculated.

    So, if your subsequent calculations are correct, that’s 15 million x 100 = 1.5 billion litres of fuel per year, per ship. If using oil distillates, that would require the output of well over 10 million barrels of oil per ship, per year. Let’s say around 1 billion dollars of fuel per year, per ship. Or, for a fleet of 1,900 ships, around 2 trillion dollars-worth of fuel per year, and consuming approximately the world’s total annual production of oil. Methinks that might produce a few ‘greenhouse gasses’.

    It doesn’t matter whether we are a bit out in the estimates, when you look at these numbers, it is obvious that anyone who is trying to get investors to part with their money to support such a scheme is a complete charlatan.

  84. We woke up to a blanket of fresh snow in the Denver area today. We are getting snow 8 month a year. I wish that we would get this global warming problem fixed so that we could get snow 10 month a year.

  85. Curiousgeorge says:
    May 12, 2010 at 4:50 am

    “… If it were me, I’d skip the sails and go straight for oars and drummers. It’s a proven green propulsive technology and would provide gainful employment and much needed exercise for progressive pencil necks.”
    ___________________________________________________________________________

    George, you forgot a few very essential parts, the leg shackles, whips and the big enforcers who bring the geeks on board one at a time.

  86. RE: Prof Keith at the U of Calgary. I wrote a “letter to the editor” in January after his grant-fed concepts were in MSM here in the Frozen North. (Where our tulips may finally bloom next week and where commercial potato planting is 3 weeks behind sked because of the cold and snow we have been getting!!) Here is the letter as published:

    Lethbridge Herald
    RE: Sun screen idea floated January 28, 2010

    Readers should be alarmed that their tax dollars are being wasted on the likes of U of C Professor Keith. He is proposing that he get grant money for the concept of seeding the atmosphere with particles to block the sun and make our weather colder than it already is.

    Yet the world’s climatologists don’t know how climate and weather change. We now know that the role of carbon dioxide has been overblown by the politically motivated UN IPCC, by the sensation-seeking media and by grant-hungry researchers riding the “climate gravy train.” So bad is the “science” behind the UN’s 2007 climate report from IPCC, that University of Victoria’s oft-quoted Weaver (a global warming alarmist) recently said that the IPCC has crossed the line between political advocacy and science. Weaver has also linked extreme weather with carbon dioxide and yet the IPCC has been forced to admit that their 2007 report’s claim of link between carbon dioxide and media-hyped “extreme” weather was unfounded.

    Now Professor Keith is proposing to study the addition of “stuff” to our atmosphere to stop climate change when we don’t even know how the climate changes! The arrogance is as amazing as it is frightening.

    We know that volcanoes have drastic affects on climate as witnessed by terrible weather following Pinatubo, Krakatoa and Tambora. Now imagine putting a bunch of particles into the atmosphere, followed by an unexpected and major volcanic eruption. If you thought the past two winters have been cold, and if you blinked and completely missed the few days of summer in 2009, you will not like colder weather that Professor Keith is proposing to produce. Sugar beets and summer-loving folks won’t like it one bit. (Here in Lethbridge, 2009 was the coldest year of the century and the coldest since 1996!)

    Ignatieff, Suzuki, IPCC, Gore and their dangerous ilk (including some academics here in Lethbridge) want the world to waste trillions because they wrongly believe they have power over the world’s climate. In the meantime hundreds of millions of the world’s poor don’t have adequate health care and clean water. An immoral crime.

    Clive Schaupmeyer
    Coaldale, Alberta

  87. Since a lot of marine life lives at the very top of the water column, one would think this machine would be excellent at killing the microbes and krill which form the root of the food chain. Brilliant.

  88. Ric Werme and others have pointed out the questionable claim that water vapor can be shot up 3,000 feet. Maybe if the vapor was very hot steam, which would tend to rise [and would add significantly to the energy consumed], but atomized sea water would normally be slowed dramatically by air friction, and winds would tend to send the vapor laterally.

    If Bill Gates is intent on shoveling money into this idea, a land-based prototype would be needed to determine the velocity required to shoot a column of water vapor to 3,000 feet altitude; the real world usually has different ideas about what is possible. Mr Gates should first round up a few practical engineers to discuss the feasibility of this steam in the sky idea — something that obviously hasn’t been done yet.

  89. According to our wide eyed optimist the ships will also use solar power (and batteries). these I presume are supposed to power the pumps. How effective are these solar cells going to be given all the salt water that is being sprayed and the clouds this ship is supposed to create?
    For Clouds and haze this backyard type study says about 75% compared to full sunlight. http://www.greentoronto.me/effects-of-hazy-sun-and-cloud-cover-on-solar-cell-output/

    But who knows what a constant bath of salt water will do.

  90. @Theo
    That is actually the point. Water vapor is a much better green house gas and the only way to actually show a warming will be to raise the concentration in the troposphere. Soon they will be desperate enough to start this project among others on a global scale to be able to raise the tax on oil. So the demand will not exceed the available amount, because if that happen they would be far better off playing with Yellowstone ….

  91. I find this idea rather interesting, but not very practical.

    There is a one hour TV show on this topic. I think the show is called like “Discovery Earth” The show was able to get clouds to form using flares, but was not able using water droplets. Evidently, it is hard to get the water droplets to the right size and right elevation.

    The numbers i remember is that it will take 1 million ships to cool the earth, so a couple of 00’s need to be added to the cost estimates of these ships. Unless the ships can be solar/wind powered and run by computers, they will be cost prohibited.

    I do think someone will build a few of these ships for things like climate control on tourist beaches, and over islands of the super rich. Dubai would seem a likely early adapter to me. They might also have some potential use as a “rain maker” to replace desalinazation plants. I can see say a few of these in the Red Sea increasing the rain for selected Saudi towns.

  92. Something’s gotta be done. I can barely move in all this London heat today. It’s been so warm recently, definitely an indication of climate change. Not like that bad weather we had over the winter. Haven’t you felt the climate warming up over the last couple of months?

  93. “”RayB says:
    May 12, 2010 at 3:10 am

    Another nagging question, if they do manage to change the climate, will they be liable when their new and bigger storm swamps a metro area/wipes out crops/causes other disasters, or when our -30F January nights go -50? “”

    Also, what happens when say in Israel 20 of these ships to increase rainfall in the Jordan River Valley, and these ships also cause severe floods in Syria. Does Syria go to war?

    Also Generals and Admirals have dreamed of ages for being able to use the Weather as a Weapon. If this technology works, a few hundred ships might be able to adjust the weather over a critical battlefield. I can image Adm Nimitz trying to flood Okinawa, to drown the Japanese in their tunnels, or Hitler trying to flood out Leningrad.

  94. Interesting that no one has commented on how fish, etc. would be affected by this proposal.
    And, yes, while clouds do have an albeldo effect, but some clouds also keep the surface temperature warmer at night.
    And more heat-trapping water vapor in the air . . . mmmmmmmm . . .

  95. Ian H says: “You could get the same effect at much less cost by just putting an additive (silver iodide?) into aviation fuel. Turn every international air flight into an efficient cloud seeding operation.

    Thinks: When, in a decade or so, we desperately need more warmth, is there any way to achieve the opposite – turn contrails off?

  96. #
    #
    Tony says:
    May 12, 2010 at 6:40 am

    “Why not build Nuclear power stations on the coasts instead? The cooling towers will boil the oceans and provide the clouds…”

    A heck of a lot better idea than the silver lining scam.

  97. “hunter says:
    May 12, 2010 at 5:56 am
    Doesn’t salt, when carried high into the atmosphere, form ozone destroying chemicals?”

    I believe they are targeting clouds very near the surface, say under 1500 feet.

  98. Bill Gates is a prime example of someone who made his money by using the mind yet denies it’s efficacy outside of computer software. He should be ashamed of his narrowness.

  99. We could eliminate the plankton and the salt by building massive desalination plants. Then mount these towers in shallow water a couple of miles off the coast. If we build a line of them, say 1 every 10 miles along the coast of California where the trade winds blow to the east we can control which ones we fire up each day to increase cloud cover and rainfall into the valley, and snow pack in the winter months, thus eliminating the threat and fear of drought ever again in california.

    If the technique works, we can do the same thing in Egypt. Draw water from Lake Nasser, no desalinaton required, shoot it into the air and create clouds and increase rain in the sahara, thus regreening the desert.

    Potential side effects are increased moisture in the tropics. Storm systems the travel west off of the African continent are the Hurricane makers that devastate the gulf coast and the eastern seaboard. Do youthink this might increase the severity of the se storms by loading the atmosphere with more H2O?

    Fun to think about. Ok back to work now.

  100. Using the concept of “human pop reduction” from Logan’s Run, we could use this machine to shoot the vapor of eco weenies up in the air 3,000 feet. It would serve two main functions as it would reduce the world population and would eliminate pesky green weenies .. while not adding any new carbon since eco weenies are not carbon-based life forms. ☺
    /spoof

  101. Solar and wind power? Where are the solar panels and wind turbines? and solar panels need the sun – – – this ship creates clouds – – the bane of solar panels – – and no onboard crew members? complicated electronics, hugh turbines, a maze of pipes – valves -filters, totally unpredictable ocean water conditions and volatile/dynamic weather…. and they think they can control/maintain these remotely?
    Well, I can see why Gates invested in it – sounds like it will work as well as Windows 3.11
    The filtering “system” alone is beyond comprehension or technological capabilities in todays world. And even if solvable, the birds killed by all the wind turbines in the world (& that number is in the 10s of thousands!) would pale in comparison to the sea life killed by just one of these suckers!

  102. This is why I switched to an Apple computer. Bill Gates wants to “blue screen” the entire planet!

    I pictured the boat shown, for a second, with Sylvester McMonkey McBean on top steering the ship. Sylvester is the character, with the famous red and white striped floppy hat, from Dr. Seuss’s book about the star-bellied sneetches. He invented a star-making machine to put stars on any sneetches that had no stars, so they would not feel inferior to the star-bellied ones. Then the original uppity star sneetches had him invent a machine to remove stars on their bellies, so they would still feel superior to the “nouveau starred” sneetches. Of course, after awhile no one knew who was the original star-belly and who wasn’t. So Sylvester got filthy rich, and everyone gave up putting on and taking off stars, and lived in harmony because stars were now irrelevant. I think Bill and Melinda Gates, once in demand for their original ‘star machine’, have now become marginalized by evil demagogues like Mann and Gore, now funding dangerous AGW and population reduction (genocidal?) programs, and the like. They may have a Seussian fantasy view of the world that, because of their wealth, may also stimulate the imaginations of crooks and swindlers who are waiting in the weeds.

  103. Xi Chin at 7:12 am said:
    Something’s gotta be done. I can barely move in all this London heat today.

    Xi, that’s friction heat! from all those bodies moving in and out of 10 Downing St.

    It’ll pass…

  104. Just seen a documentary on this. Apparently, those towers rotate at about 200rpm, and therefore power the ship along via a wind-enduced benouli effect. But, as the Cousteau family found out many years ago, this is about the least efficient form of propulsion you can get. A standard sail is much less draggy, and does not need a motor to rotate it.

    On this documentary they used dry salt in flares, which would probably be much better than trying to lift 10 tonnes a second of sea water. Would it work? Well, we know you can seed clouds and produce clouds with condensation nuclei, but my guess is that it would be a drop in the ocean – literally.

    Greenies often fail to visualise how big the Earth really is.

    .

  105. The man who gave us Vista? Oh give me a freaking break… If this plan worked as well as XP-which they killed they might have a chance,BTW I agree with Willis having done a bit of Blue water sailing -I would not want to ride a storm out in one of those ships.
    Having been around Catamarans and Trimarans some, this screams “Pitchpole!”….

  106. Bills better stick to his WWF-scheme of mosquito bourne fertillity vaccines.
    If he manages to sterilize 40% of the african women, he will reduce future agw significantly.
    Copenhagen could have starved millions to death also, but it failed:(
    http://dieoff.org/page119.htm
    …for a living planet!
    http://www.wwf.or.th/about_our_earth/teacher_resources/webfieldtrips/population_growth/pop_density/
    mad scientists any?
    Maybe youve seen “Dominic (Maurice) Green”, the eco-villain in the Bond movie “Quantum of solace”, that is of course “Maurice Strong”.
    http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0056473/
    Will Bill Gates be the next Bond villain? Or maybe Holdren, Obamas science tzar?
    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/07/21/obamas-science-czar-considered-forced-abortions-sterilization-population-growth/
    Reality really is stranger than fiction.

  107. Sure, it’s impractical, unaffordable and impossible …BUT… those are cool looking ships.

  108. AJStrata says:
    May 12, 2010 at 6:56 am

    Hey, AJ, don’t windmills, too, act as giant bird swatters, with windmill farms killing thousands upon thousands of migrating birds? Some have proposed putting road-kill cafes at the base of windmills to harvest the carnage. Can we expect fishing ships following these cloud ships with their nets, not under the sea, but up in the air? Makes me wonder about the laws of unintended consequences. With Bill Gates, I also think about the Peter Principle.

  109. I gota say though, looking at them again, the ships are kind of – – sexy. Maybe when it doesn’t work, we could pick one up cheap, replace those – pipes? (& sell them as insulators?) with sails and we could have decent wind powered cruse ship – for WUWT members only, of course.

  110. See this the problem with skeptics website, you are skeptical, don’t you know that this is the age of “yes we can”. So get on board and drop the negativity. You must be one of the people who when the first rockets from NASA failed said ” man will never walk on Mars”. …… well ok . But just look at how far we have come with cold fusion since it was discovered….ok then how about… Oh never mind it won’t work.

  111. I think they ought to be patient another 2 or 3 years and watch how the planet will cool all by itself. Helping it along might make many of us sorry.

  112. I strongly suspect the only real sucking involved here is a (so far successful) attempt to suck millions of dollars from Bill Gates’s wallet. A con man’s best mark is an arrogant dude like Bill who thinks he’s smarter than everyone else.

  113. Willis:

    Obviously these ships will be solar powered, so have no annual fuel costs:
    http://www.buffalosolarboats.com/new_e_boats.html
    They will be automatic, so no need for “twelve guys to run the ship 24/7” – think of a Roomba on the ocean, GPS guided to a set cloudmaking pattern:
    http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/product.asp?order_num=-1&SKU=14707697
    They will use intermittent capacitor-fired mass driver (electromagnetic catapult) seawater launchers, which are highly efficient and electrically powered. The ships structure will be made mainly of recycled 2 liter soda bottles, in China, for a total cost of $3 million each, not $20 million. Expected maintenance free lifetime: 30 years.

    With economies of scale, this idiotic innovative concept can be implemented far cheaper and quicker than you would expect. And by reflecting incoming solar radiation over vast swaths of the tropical oceans just a kilometer from the surface, humans won’t have to launch that 8000 mile by 8000 mile reflective shield to cool the planet – that would have been an eyesore, and some say, an expensive boondoggle.

  114. Or we could just take the salt that New York City restaurants will not allow to serve, and throw it in the air.

  115. Oh, it’s viable all right. But as your calculations show, one would have to break the bank in most western countries, redirect all foreign aid into this project, and drive the world into its deepest financial crisis in modern history. The project would take on the scale of a century or so to get into full swing, that is assuming that enough alternate fuels are obtained, as by then there would be insufficient fossil fuels to drive this project plus run the world.

    The kicker is that the project would probably begin to have noticable effects just in time to accellerate the pace of the end of the current interglacial and drive the world into its next deep freeze state.

    Perhaps Bill Gates could be nominated for a superduper-sized Darwin Award. Come to think of it, this may be good evidence that it’s time our race moved on and left room for someone a bit smarter … or, rather, wiser.

  116. The figure of ten tonnes of spray per second was NOT per vessel but was the estimate for total spray from a fleet of 300 ships and, depending assumptions for initial nuclei concentration and drop half life, we think would be enough reverse the cumulative warming since pre-industrial times. Vessel displacement is 300 tonnes and plant rating about 150 kW all of which would come from the wind. This gives a rough cost estimate of $2 to $3 million each. Plankton have to be filtered from the water and will be returned to the sea. More detail from
    http://www.see.ed.ac.uk/~shs/Climate%20change/Phil.Trans.%20Seagoing%20hardware.pdf

  117. Not just plankton would get sucked up by this; what would happen to fish swimming near the surface? I imagine they’d be pulversized. Enjoyed this example of climate looniness – we need a good laugh.

  118. hey.. you guys don’t see the value of it… they tackle multiple problems at the same time: at least cooling by introducing more clouds and sea level rising. And this for a mere 9 bn with a govmnt and non-profit NGA over-running the budget 300%.

    it sounds like a plan to me. being sarcastic of course.

  119. Well, if I could control the climate, I would also warm it up by 5 degrees Celsius or so, and reduce the clouds.

    And like others, I have been disappointed by Bill Gates’ attitude to the AGW – because I am a big Bill Gates fan.

    On the other hand, this stuff is not that bad. If I had dozens of billions of dollars, I would also play with similar stuff. Whatever signs are, playing with the weather is clearly a fashionable goal for ambitious and rich players. And i do think that it makes sense to attack this problem via the influence on the cloud cover: I wanted to approach the problem in the same way. ;-)

    So Bill Gates, I am not gonna criticize you here. Willis’ practical comments are surely useful – but I guess that with one amount of money or another, all of them can be resolved.

  120. Bill Thomson says:
    May 12, 2010 at 6:38 am
    Interesting post. However I think you greatly underestimated the power required to run the pump. It requires a minimum of 1300 PSI or 90 Bar to raise a column of water to 3000 ft, ignoring losses fue to friction. This multiplies the energy required and fuel cost and polution by a factor of 30!

    Yes. When the Sears Tower was built, they grappled with extreme water pressures to supply sinks and toilets on the top floors. One way would be to mount an oil well pump up at 3,000 feet and lift water. This problem is at the 5th grade level. If the nozzles were at 3,000 feet, the boat would blow over in the slightest breeze unless they had a 1,000 foot deep keel or stabilizing pontoons 800 feet appart.
    Anything is possible with “models” or a good photo shop software.
    When I was young, a Me TOO boat builder invited a newspaper out and some friends with cameras to see a new sailboat launch. It was under 20′ length overall. When dropped in the water, it turtled. That means the center of gravity was above the waterline and the boat was top heavy. It turned upside down without help.

  121. Anthony:
    I thought you were interested in honest science. If you, and the rest of the folks weighing in on this idea, want to do your homework, you might begin with this paper and peruse the citations in it. The concept is valid, cost-effective and sensible as an insurance policy should we ever need it.

    http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/4/4/045112/fulltext

    Geoengineering by cloud seeding: influence on sea ice and climate system

    Philip J Rasch1, John Latham2,3 and Chih-Chieh (Jack) Chen2

    1 Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, 902 Battelle Boulevard, PO Box 999, MSIN K9-34, Richland, WA 99352, USA
    2 National Center for Atmospheric Research, PO Box 3000, Boulder, CO 80303, USA
    3 SEAES, University of Manchester, PO Box 88, Manchester, M60 1QD, UK

    Received 10 August 2009
    Accepted 20 November 2009
    Published 18 December 2009

    Abstract. General circulation model computations using a fully coupled ocean–atmosphere model indicate that increasing cloud reflectivity by seeding maritime boundary layer clouds with particles made from seawater may compensate for some of the effects on climate of increasing greenhouse gas concentrations. The chosen seeding strategy (one of many possible scenarios) can restore global averages of temperature, precipitation and sea ice to present day values, but not simultaneously. The response varies nonlinearly with the extent of seeding, and geoengineering generates local changes to important climatic features. The global tradeoffs of restoring ice cover, and cooling the planet, must be assessed alongside the local changes to climate features.

  122. Stephen Salter says:
    May 12, 2010 at 8:04 am

    “The figure of ten tonnes of spray per second was NOT per vessel but was the estimate for total spray from a fleet of 300 ships and, depending assumptions for initial nuclei concentration and drop half life, we think would be enough reverse the cumulative warming since pre-industrial times. ”

    Oh, please don’t make me laugh. 10 cubic metres of water per second are going to cool the whole earth significantly. That’s equivalent to the rate of precipitation over the acreage of a small farm when it’s raining. Give us a break.

  123. The people problem here is you put emotional people onto technical problems. Hoping and anxious behavior will not get the water pumped. For every wild idea from an eco weenie, there come up obvious eco weenie problems.

    I do not see people on this board favor dirty air , water or harm to wild life.

    The vacum pumps will draw in and kill the tiny fishies. Who wants to kill the fishies? That is why they shut down irrigation pumps in California because of the little fishies being killed by the pumps. Now the same pumps for this wild notion will also kill little fishies. Sea kittens.
    With negative pressures that draw 10,000 tonnes persecond, it will pull the whiskers off a catfish from 1 kilometer away from the boat water intakes.

  124. Oh come on now….they’re going to power it with Unicorns and Rainbows. Then it’ll all be fine….

  125. Shame!

    It is entirely unfair to subject the ideas of “Liberals” to logical and rigorous analysis. Such schemes are not ever intended to actually do anything effective, are they?

  126. I have a better idea. Don’t steal it, my patent is pending.

    First, build a fleet of aircraft that fly at high altitude. Use jet propulsion. These will create high streaks of water vapor, some of which will block incoming sunlight. Sometimes these “vapor trails” will even cause clouds to form around them, but that’s okay, the main goal is to block some incoming sunlight.

    We’d need thousands of these things, just basically flying willy nilly all over the planet. So in order to make them dual purpose we could fit them with seats and allow people to use them for transportation. They could fly regularly scheduled routes.

    Now, since Bill Gates lives just a stone’s throw away from a little startup company called “Boeing”, he could discuss directly with them the best way to get this giant fleet of sunlight blocking aircraft into the skies.

    Again, don’t steal this idea, it’s mine, I’m the only one who ever thought about it. Yeah, that’s the ticket…

  127. “”” The machines, developed by a San Francisco-based research group called Silver Lining, turn seawater into tiny particles that can be shot up over 3,000 feet in the air. The particles increase the density of clouds by increasing the amount of nuclei contained within. Silver Lining’s floating machines can suck up ten tons of water per second. “””

    So quick now; here’s the third grade science question. for $1500.

    Assuming just gravity (no air resistance drag); calculate the required launch velocity to fire a water particle to a height of 3000 feet.

    And for $2000, the 4th grade science question, is; assuming the machine is operating properly at the ten ton per second rate, calculate the downward force on the ship, and estimate how fast it will sink deep enough to shut off the contraption.

    How about a demo right in front of the Golden Gate Bridge; sink that sucker right in the middle of the shipping channel.

  128. Henry chance says: …and they are electrically powered..(It rains after not before lightnings).

  129. Wow.

    By the way, isn’t water vapor considered a greenhouse gas?

    Don’t things like hurricanes/typhoons feed on water vapor? While we may (and I stress may) be causing warming, do we really know enough to try to cool the planet?

  130. This is the first time I’ve been disappointed by this blog.

    Humor is fine. Failing to do your homework to know whether the idea deserves the humor is not.

  131. “”” Milwaukee Bob says:
    May 12, 2010 at 7:35 am
    Solar and wind power? Where are the solar panels and wind turbines? and solar panels need the sun – – – this ship creates clouds – – the bane of solar panels – – and no onboard crew members? complicated electronics, hugh turbines, a maze of pipes – valves -filters, totally unpredictable ocean water conditions and volatile/dynamic weather…. and they think they can control/maintain these remotely? “””

    Come now Bob; you should be more up to speed than that; ain’t you never heard of negative feedback from clouds. There’s no electronics at all on this thing; it is completely self regulated by hydraulics.

    Damn thing just keeps on making clouds till it shuts down enough solar power to turn itself off. Totally brilliant if you ask me.

    Hey I keep trying to tell Y’alls; IT’S THE WATER !

  132. This IS not a practical idea, IT WAS a practical idea: Just wonder how many millions less of taxes were saved by BG funding this idea. THAT one was the real idea.

  133. Spraying water will cool the air. Need to add differences in air density and entrained air. e.g. see Evaporative cooler
    Spray cooling is being evaluated to cool naval vessel exhausts. See:
    Three-Dimensional Simulation on Mist Cooling in Power Machine Exhaust System in Motive Military Target

    YUAN Jiang-tao1, YANG Li1, SUN Rong2, ZHANG Jian1, CHEN Xuan1(1.College of Naval Architecture and Power, Naval University of Engineering, Wuhan 430033, China;2.Naval Academy of Armament, Beijing 100073, China)
    For the gas-liquid mixed flow during the water spraying into the exhaust system, the mathematical model was proposed based on the gas-particle two-phase flow theory.The k-ε model was used to describe the gas phase and the stochastic trajectory model was used to express the particle phase.The coupling interaction between the gas phase and the particle phase was considered in the three-dimensional simulation analysis.The water droplets’ moving trajectories in the flue and the information of the velocity field and the temperature field during the water spraying into the exhaust system were obtained.The predicted results are in good agreement with the results in the references.

    (For those reading Chinese)

    Maybe chimneys will help. See:
    High Altitude Atmospheric Injection System and Method

  134. David Schnare,

    Anthony is always willing to publish well written articles. Why don’t you write an article showing why this vapor launch idea is credible?

    I would honestly like to know if it could actually be implemented within reasonable physical and financial parameters.

  135. This isn’t the first time the Gates foundation got taken for a ride. Remember the greenhouses in Gaza? the ones that were promptly ransacked and raided by the locals?

    Everyone keeps forgetting that Bill isn’t the only one running that outfit.

  136. “”” Theo says:
    May 12, 2010 at 6:11 am
    Isn’t water vapour a more effective “greenhouse gas” than CO2??? “””

    Well no, Theo; haven’t you heard that water is only a feedback factor for amplifying the anthropogenic warming effect of man made CO2 emissions.

    So this Rube Goldberg gizmo is going to cause man made global warming like you wouldn’t believe with all that feedback enhancement of anthropogenic fossil fuelled CO2.

  137. Smokey says:
    May 12, 2010 at 8:43 am
    David Schnare,

    Anthony is always willing to publish well written articles. Why don’t you write an article showing why this vapor launch idea is credible?

    I would honestly like to know if it could actually be implemented within reasonable physical and financial parameters.

    Smokey,
    Steve Salter, Anna V and I all provided you links to the literature. If you can keep up with this blog, you can understand that literature and form your own conclusions. All I ask is that before the buffoonery and bluster one might at least do some homework on the issue before posting an article like the one Willis posted above.

  138. Grant B:

    “Don’t be so negative. Time is running out. We have to do something. Anything.”

    Your very own sentence contradicts itself! (Just to explain so you understand, the phrases “Time is running out” and “We have to do something. Anything.” are incredibly negative.

    Now, if you want to try POSITIVE thinking instead, try this:

    “Climate is a vast system with literally thousands of variables. Throughout history, whether man has been on the planet or not, the climate has CHANGED CONSTANTLY. Sometimes it has been EXCEPTIONALLY hot, other times it has been so cold that it is a wonder any life survived! I am a mere human. To the earth we are but ants. Our ability to cause any measureable change in something as huge and complex as “the climate” is completely negligible. No matter what we as humans do, the climate will go on. In addition, the climate will go right on CHANGING, and sometimes terribly dramatically, just as it has throughout the life of this planet.”

    Stand in front of a mirror and recite that aloud at least once per hour for the next 3 months. I guarantee you that you will feel a lot better.

  139. So Bill Gates thinks that ship design is seaworthy.

    Judgment like that explains Vista.

    It is all clear now.

  140. You guys have me in stitches. A skit like this could put Saturday Night Live outa business.

    My favorite so far:
    Andy Scrase says:
    May 12, 2010 at 3:21 am

    Just what Planet Earth needs – Service Pack 1 from Bill Gates

    [With Wilie Coyote as runner up]

  141. “”” Luboš Motl says:
    May 12, 2010 at 8:12 am
    Well, if I could control the climate, I would also warm it up by 5 degrees Celsius or so, and reduce the clouds. “””

    Actually; I believe that it is Lubos, who has stumbled over the Rosetta Stone here.

    The really fundamental question here, is if you could control the world’s thermostat knob, just where would you set it; and who should make that decision ?

    I can see whole libraries of books being written about the unintended consequences of turning mankind loose with the tools to mess with Gaia’s system.
    What for example is the consequence of implanting water droplets at 3000 feet, without the latent heat of evaporation that would normally accompany that water. Wouldn’t it simply rain immediately, and have all that water simply crash back in the ocean ?

  142. Honestly, I wish I had thought of this garbage. I missed a great opportunity to make money off of Bill Gates.

  143. It is not as if these people really care/believe that CO2 is causing global warming – their main motivation is population control and the decrease of our species. This is why they are against use of DDT and genetically modified foods. Obviously a warmer world promotes sustainability for a larger population. They want to cool it, which has very clear and opposite effects. And of course, this brain-dead idea, along with others (like covering the arctic with white blankets), will certainly have unintended consequences. You cannot stop climate change.

    Furthermore, if the problem is really CO2, at least stick to your principles and try to remove it from the atmosphere. Of course that would reveal a continuation of warming and cooling cycles.

  144. There is a just published paper in the journal Environmental Science and Technology that lays out an argument against the use of carbon capture and storage for economic reasons and instead advocates that building wind and nuclear capacity is more cost effective.

  145. So, anyone know whether the greenhouse effect of the water vapor or the solar radiation reduction of the supposed cloud formations will win this lunatic lottery? Someone said it very well in an above comment. What kind of minds can even dream this crap up? My bet is that the glaciers are coming back in any event. I predict continuing low sun spot cycle and increased vulcanism with glaciation setting in sooner rather than later. The ice core data says it’s about time. There, my prediction cannot be any worse than anyone else’s since NO ONE really knows to any statistically significant level.

  146. wesley bruce says:
    May 12, 2010 at 4:07 am

    Dang I hate html. Sorry Anthony can you fix the link they stuffed me up somehow?
    A preview button and a delete button would allow us to fix these glitches our selves and reduce your workload.
    I assume you can see the code and spot the glitch in seconds.

    Try http://www.w3schools.com/html/html_primary.asp

    They have tryit screens available.

  147. Willis –

    Did they even test the feasibility of accelerating the water to 3,000 feet? Pumping 10,000 tons of water per second at a single elevation is one thing. Getting water lifted to 3,000 feet as a stream/fountain is one thing. Turning it into a mist and getting the mist to an elevation of 3,000 feet is another thing altogether. I don’t think it is remotely possible. The air resistance to the mist will be enormous. It will lose upward velocity almost immediately.

    They aren’t proposing the towers shown are going to be 3,000 feet high, are they?

    And pumping/lifting water upward has always been a problem. Getting enough “head” has – to my knowledge – been something that needs to be done in stages. There is just too much weight of water if it is liquid. If it is a vapor, almost as soon as it leaves the top of the stack its upward velocity will be near zero. And that is if they can get it to the top of the stack. Heat would help, but then that defeats the purpose, doesn’t it?

    Ther are all KINDS of reasons why this is a stupid idea. Do the people know ANYTHING about reality?

  148. So they are going to send the ships to the Arctic in winter, and take all summer off then?

  149. These poor blokes are really under the gun. They have to hurry and do something fast so they can take credit for the present cooling cycle taking place that will peak (temperatures plummet, that is) in 2030. “See, I told you it would work, the big spitting machines and the white blankies” did it!

    Frankly, if anything we should be putting black blankets at the poles.

  150. Perhaps these giant pressure washer ships can solve their energy consumption problem by drilling for oil at the same time?

  151. Just for fun, go to the library and dig up old copies of Popular Science where the futurists have drawn all types of inane machines that never materialized. Remember Dick Tracy riding around in magnetic cars? B.O. Plenty said, “he who controls magnetism, controls the universe”.

    I love the pictures of cities that were predicted in the year 2000, where there are magnetic unirails and magnetic cars floating around floating cities! AND, everyone was wearing the same outfit, with high Dracula collars and such. Now THAT would be a boon, to eliminate fashion and the concomitant waste. We surely could legislate that into existence, no?

    As a scientist myself, I don’t dismiss off-the-wall ideas in a knee jerk response out of hand. The trick is to come inside the extremes of fantasy and come up with pragmatic solutions to REAL problems.

    Bill Gates would be better directed to pour money into controlled fusion technologies. With such unlimited power from that, if feasible, anything else under the sun would be possible.

  152. Did anyone calculate how much additional CO2 will be produced by homes that have to run their heaters longer when they further cool the planet? Does this end up being a zero-sum gain?

  153. Blimey, in which season would you want to do a thing like? it would make so much difference.

  154. But I thought water vapor was a GHG? So this would actually warm the planet.
    Why don’t they just create fake clouds by utilizing the commercial airline industry.
    Hey, now that’s brilliant!!!

  155. We already have thousands of ships covering the globe daily making clouds. They are called jets. Yes, those clouds do have an effect on radiative heat transfer. On 911 when they did not fly, the day/night temperature difference increased 1.1 degree C. Clouds block incoming radiation from the sun and also block outgoing radiation from the earth. I believe the net effect is insignificant.

  156. @Drew. Good luck with that. The greenies in power do not care about renewables or nuclear. They know we will burn fossil fuels until they are no more. They aren’t going to start selling carbon permits, or start making money in the carbon markets, only to voluntarily make those revenues and profits disappear “in the name of the environment.”

  157. It would actually be more cost effective to find a tall mountain next to the ocean, pump seawater to the top of that, and blast it into the atomosphere from there (Hawaii comes to mind as a possible perch); most mountains I know are already at 3,000 ft. elevation. There’d be a whole lot of energy saved by transporting water as a liquid in a pipeline uphill rather than trying to squirt it any distance upwards through the air. Of course, the leeward side of the fountain mountain would likely be desolate due to salt dropout (not much grows in seawater), but that’s a minor sacrifice. And if one mountain isn’t enough, a whole range would work, like the Cascades or the Sierras (not many people live east of those ranges). It might even help replenish the salt that’s being removed from the Great Basin’s Great Salt Lake. Or put the seawater sprayers just west of Death Valley. Lots of more realistic options rather than having a bunch of ships out in the ocean wasting so much energy.

  158. An Inquirer says:
    May 12, 2010 at 7:18 am
    “Interesting that no one has commented on how fish, etc. would be affected by this proposal.
    And, yes, while clouds do have an albeldo effect, but some clouds also keep the surface temperature warmer at night.
    And more heat-trapping water vapor in the air . . . mmmmmmmm . . .”

    Now here’s an idea. Fish are very shiny. Fill the sky with them and that’ll increase the global albedo… Maybe we could get them to lie on their backs…

  159. So wait, I skimmed David Schnare’s linked article and all it seems to talk about is the potential effect of anthropogenic clouds on Earth albedo. I’m having a hard time finding the schematics and engineering drawings to show that these mythical ships designed to accomplish that task could actually be built and would work.

    It’s difference between discussing the mineral richness of Saturn’s rings and actually mining Saturn’s rings.

  160. I can just see the error message now “General Earth Fault: Please re-run the Big Bang…”

  161. What a plot for a disaster movie! Scientists mutate into rabid spanner monkey Earth-last-ers, battling for a contract from the man with the wad, then unleashed into action. It all goes horribly wrong when then excess cloud cover causes RUNAWAY GLOBAL WARMING. Hollywood on your doorstep?

  162. Ridiculous. They’ll end up destroying plant and marine life that requires sunlight and lower temperatures, which kills FAR more than a poxy 1C warming does.

  163. On operating costs: 3000 feet of lift is more like 1300 psi (not 100) – discounting levitation. So fuel costs (ignoring transporation) are understimated by 13X

    On ship (capital) costs: (10/0.8)^0.6 * 15 = 68, so capital costs are underestimated by about 3.5X – assuming ship costs is dominated by the water spraying gear.

    just saying

  164. Mozilla betook me browser to:
    UN Ban Moon’s whine list: “wants”, “wants”, “wants” “in earnest”.

    “An advisory panel has told Harper to play down climate change at the G20.”

    Go see Ban’s waggy finger.

    Moon’s “want” list is Moon’s whine list.
    …-

    “Put environment on G20 agenda, UN chief tells Harper

    United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon delivers a speech at the Chateau Laurier in Ottawa on Wednesday May 12, 2010. The Canadian Press

    Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says Canada has essential role to play in fighting climate change”

    “UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon wants climate change on the agenda in earnest when Canada hosts the G20 summit next month in Toronto.

    He also wants Canada to live up to the greenhouse-gas reduction targets it negotiated under the Kyoto Protocol.

    And Mr. Ban wants the prime minister to work the phones with his fellow G8 leaders to persuade them to live up to their previous aid commitments to poor countries.”

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/g8-g20/news/put-environment-on-g20-agenda-un-chief-tells-harper/article1566211/

  165. The few times I have been at the Gulf of Mexico, I was impressed by the haze. The only time I could see very far out to sea was first thing in the morning. The wind seems to blow at a good clip, and evaporation and spray got the air full of moisture quickly. I also noticed abundant cumulus clouds reaching very high. I think natural systems can take care of the climate very well, and even if our increasing CO2 contribution brings the temperature up a bit, the existing system will equilibrate at no cost. Attempts at geoengineering will undoubtedly be costly and most likely ineffective.

  166. “The idea would be to operate most of the ships far offshore in the Pacific so they would not interfere with weather on land.”

    What an absurd statement that is.

  167. David Schnare says:
    May 12, 2010 at 8:37 am

    This is the first time I’ve been disappointed by this blog.

    Humor is fine. Failing to do your homework to know whether the idea deserves the humor is not.

    The idea definitely deserves the scorn it is getting, and more. There is not a single positive outcome that can come from it. There’s a saying; if it ain’t broke, don’t “fix” it. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? The climate is doing just fine, thank you very much. Trying to mess with it is a fools errand, and an expensive one, with actual negative consequences very likely.

  168. Interesting. We know from the feedback debate that clouds cool during the sunshine of day while warming during night times. Therefore climate modelers should be able to tell us the optimal timing and placement of these floating contraptions. Since at the equator the sun shines close to 12 hours a day – meaning half cooling and half warming, a poleward placement where days are longest may be optimal. But then again, at high latitudes the sun is less direct and so the optimal spot to generate clouds might be nearer the equator where the sun is stronger . These seem to be the kind of tradeoffs that engineers typically analyze when they attack design problems. I would say that if the various climate models cannot give consistent answers to this question then the models flunk.

    I also often wonder if these climate models that are used to predict global warming are able to tell us anything about cloud patterns – day versus night, ocean versus continent, and high versus low latitudes. I suspect that they can’t. If a climate model is useful for telling us only one thing – future temperature. I would suggest that the models are not at all robust and that calling them “climate models” is a misnomer since they are really only temperature models. A true climate model should be able to replicate and make all kinds of climatic predictions beyond temperature. Such as: humidities, pressures, precipitation patterns, wind patterns, diurnal patterns, seasonal patterns, cloudiness, additionally it should not only replicate averages but it should be able to predict distribution and extremes around the the averages. If the models don’t replicate such things ….. it’s a travesty that they don’t.

  169. Michael D Smith says:
    May 12, 2010 at 4:45 am

    3 bars is about 43.5 PSI, not 100… Time to double the fuel costs. If this were a government project, this would be discovered after the pumps are built, of course, tripling the cost of those.

    Yeah, you’re right … like I said, “things usually cost more than estimated rather than less”, funny how life is asymmetrical that way.

  170. This “precautionary principle” BS blows up in your face, more often than not.

    As an old-dog environmental scientist, I recall the vast uproar over asbestos in the mid-1980’s. Of course, federal and local EPAs decided that all asbestos everywhere had to be ripped out ASAP and disposed of.

    Problem was, removing the asbestos disrupted it, causing an even bigger public health menace than just leaving it alone. Also, the regulators soon discovered that disposal options were limited.

    So, they punted & went for “encapsulation,” wherein the asbestos is just frozen into place with various technologies.

    Never forget Hippocrates….”First, do no harm.” Before I’d sign off on any stupid geoengineering, I’d want to see years of reliable temperature data, evidence of ocean acidification, and proof that this is justifiable from a cost and public health standpoint. I doubt that the worse-case scenarios of Hansen (runaway Venus effect) are even possible.

  171. I like this paragraph:

    “Smart move … what we have here is a non-viable non-solution to a non-problem. I wouldn’t want to comment either, especially since this non-solution will burn about 27 billion litres (about 7 billion US gallons) of fuel per year to supposedly “solve” the problem supposedly caused by CO2 from burning fuel …”

    And how much more fuel will we burn here in Michigan (and other northern parts of the world) to keep us warm with the decreased temps in the winter from blocking what little sun we get then. I have been waiting for the lower winter heating bills that should come with promises of “global warming”. So far the past several years we have had to fire up our “CO2 generating equipment” (aka furnaces) a lot more than we used to.

  172. I too am very disappointed at the lack of critical thought in both the article, which sets up strawman hypotheses and goes on to refute them and ridicule them, and with the readers, who have been provided with serious and rational links by myself and others, as the one by Stephen Salter below, which does describe the ingenious method of increasing albedo non destructively.

    http://www.see.ed.ac.uk/~shs/Climate%20change/Phil.Trans.%20Seagoing%20hardware.pdf ,

    This proposal just changes the albedo while it is working and reverts to normal when it stops. In contrast to the sorcerer’s apprentice other methods offered for geoengineering, from sulfur in the sky to iron in the oceans.

    It should be supported by skeptics as a second line of defense and as an alternative to the idiotic cap and trade stuff being rammed down our throats.

    Those of you who know me on this board, know that I am convinced by the data that the warming observed is natural, not man made. Nevertheless, the countries of the world do not listen to skeptics and are ready to tie up trillions and destroy the western way of life on the assumption that the slight heating observed is due to CO2 increases.

    This project is ingenious and the construction of a test ship should be supported, and not ridiculed. It offers great savings both in money and in a way of life, supposing that AGW were true. By the time one ship is built and tested the PDO etc cycles will probably convince everybody that there is no great heating going on, and the project can stop, though the idea to have a station self propelled and with little energy expenditure roaming the oceans is also useful, if demonstrated to work.

    The Flettner rotors are already in use:
    http://www.enercon.de/www/en/windblatt.nsf/vwAnzeige/4DA5AEEBACEAEDFDC12574A500418221/$FILE/WB-0308-en.pdf

    The important thing is it is nondestructive and its effects easily stopped.

  173. A disappointing post with many disappointing comments. I am not an engineer, but the egregious misinterpretations of the paper indicate that I’m not alone.

    First, the clouds: how does a blanket of clouds form over 30% of the world ocean at heights around zero to three thousand feet? This zone is known as the boundary layer and within it turbulence takes dimethyl sulphide particles from plankton and diatoms, salt particles from breaking waves and biological particles from dead bacteria, plankton etc. The particles reach a cooler area where the water vapour is at the right temperature to condense on them and form reflective droplets. If there are lots of particles there will be lots of droplets, high albedo and lots of incoming radiation from the sun will be bounced back into space.

    Nature does not need huge pressures to boost those particles to 3000 ft, it happens naturally. The same would happen with Salter’s cloud ships. Did anyone look at the cloud trails from ships sailing through areas deficient in CCNs, cloud condensing nuclei? That’s the effect these cloud ships are designed to produce, not huge rain clouds (which would waste good reflecting droplets), not tonnes of salt dropping on parched farmland (which would waste good CCNs), just lots and lots of tiny reflective droplets which stay airborne as long as possible in that turbulent zone.

    What if it causes problems? You switch it off. Bang, just like that, the droplets disperse over a few hours, the reflectivity of the boundary layer clouds returns to normal and you are back to the status quo ante. Other methods, sulphur or silver nitrate, cannot be controlled with anything like the same accuracy. As for shoving the sulphur out of planes… high clouds warm, low clouds cool, that’s the general rule. And, please, sodium chloride is not chlorine….

    I have another reason to approve of these ships; eventually someone is going to wonder about the ‘normal’ production of CCNs from the ocean surface. From there it’s only a step to wondering what happens if you pour 700 million gallons of oil onto the ocean together with a like quantity of surfactants. That’s enough oil to coat the surface with a sheen of oil every two weeks, all of it, all the oceans. I’d bet a pint that we are changing the albedo of the strato-cumulus layer and, unlike Professor Salter’s ships, it’s an uncontrolled experiment in the wrong direction.

    Barbara Nozière of Stockholm University, Sweden, and colleagues suggest that surfactants secreted by many species of bacteria could also influence the weather. While these are normally used to transport nutrients through membranes, the team have shown that they also break down the surface tension of water better than any other substance in nature. This led them to suspect that if the detergent was found in clouds it would stimulate the formation of water droplets. I’ve read, but cannot find, a paper which found the same thing but using light oil — droplets coalesce more readily and fall out, reducing albedo. Lower albedo, less sunlight reflected, more warming.

    Tom Wigley, in the UEA emails, complains about the unexplained blip during WWII: you can find the non-bucket-corrected graph at Climate Audit. The graph had to be corrected in typical climate science fashion because the models could not reproduce the data from 1939 to about 1950 — obviously it was the data at fault because the models were, and are, infallible.*

    Well, Professor Wigley, here’s a better way than just changing the data — do some experiments with oil spills and find out if there was something going on from 1940 to 1945 which might have spilt a bit of oil. I’m sure you’ll think of something. Have a look at the Gulf spill and see the oil sheen, see the downwind low level clouds being eaten away by the pollution. Then get someone to work out the result for the entire Earth.

    Mr Gates, if you want to use a bit of seed money with potentially huge returns, might I suggest that you fund some fundamental science such as that carried out by the VOCALS team — if we are interrupting the production of CCNs then all the CO2 calculations will have to be done again. Flights around spills and over the cleanest water possible should be carried out urgently, before we commit ourselves to huge expenditure for nothing.

    Professor Salter, thank you for taking the time to explain the misinterpretations made here — we’re a nice bunch really but a bit volatile after years of snake oil salesmen. When a real doctor comes along we tend to be a bit wary. And thanks for the Black Knight, when I see the one in the Science Museum it makes me want to weep for the wasted opportunities.

    Julian Flood
    *In case it is not obvious, I am being sarcastic.

  174. Bill Gates is heavily into carbon trading schemes, and likely a supporter of international efforts to suck money from “rich” nations to support, among other things, dubious non-commercial schemes such as this. Could it possibly be that he would stand to profit from “supporting” such enterprises?

  175. How will they be powered – diesel?
    What if the increased cloud cover actually increases the temperature?

  176. As an interim measure, before the first ships are ready, I suggest mounting the spray thingies on bridges. It so happens I own a really nice one in San Francisco that’s for sale…cheap.

  177. “Nature does not need huge pressures to boost those particles to 3000 ft”

    I would refer you to Newton and Bernoulli – but what would be the point?

  178. Thanks for this Willis…

    So the saying goes, a fool and his money are soon parted…

    But Bill is no fool, and he is funding many such “studies”, some of which, like this one, will never see the light of day in reality. Your “back of the napkin” figuring is the best kind of figuring and is certainly the most effective. Heck, Bill Gates ought to just fund you with a supply of napkins and pens, and let you have the first shot at the feasibility of some of these outrageous proposals.

    As a person who is currently only about 75% convinced that AGW is happening, and then fairly neutral on whether or not it will be a problem anyway, I grow very uneasy at all of these geoengineering proposals. First of all, they might be a huge waste of time and resources, but second of all, what gives any company or government the right to tinker with something that can affect the entire planet? I don’t actually think anyone has that right, and if I was going to get “up in arms” about something, it would probably be those who would assume the right to even attempt to tinker with the planet. I oppose such efforts on many ground, legal and ethical, and go back to the old saying, “sometimes the cure is worse than the disease.” Such may very well be the case for geoengineering…

  179. IF they get these things to work, would they affect ocean currents?

    Putting a big sun screen in orbit around the planet sounds far more practical than this idea.

    I do recall a plan to put big mirrors into space to reflect more light into Leningrad during the winters.

  180. #
    Gail Combs says:
    May 12, 2010 at 6:47 am

    Curiousgeorge says:
    May 12, 2010 at 4:50 am

    “… If it were me, I’d skip the sails and go straight for oars and drummers. It’s a proven green propulsive technology and would provide gainful employment and much needed exercise for progressive pencil necks.”
    ___________________________________________________________________________

    George, you forgot a few very essential parts, the leg shackles, whips and the big enforcers who bring the geeks on board one at a time.

    Well, we might need a few sharp HR/Marketing people, but I suspect we’d get a lot of volunteers initially if it were properly marketed: “International Green Rowing Teams Needed to save the planet. Free room and board, and your name on an oar! Career path to management”. :D

  181. “I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now,
    win or lose, but still somehow
    its life’s illusions I recall
    I really don’t know clouds, at all….” Joni Mitchell

    They try to cloud the issue but fortunately a ray of light strikes through, illuminating the darkness and banishing the shadows from our minds.

    I am surporised that they didn’t justify this with a mathematical model result as proof of effect……or maybe they did……

  182. “A true climate model should be able to replicate and make all kinds of climatic predictions beyond temperature. Such as: humidities, pressures, precipitation patterns, wind patterns, diurnal patterns, seasonal patterns, cloudiness, additionally it should not only replicate averages but it should be able to predict distribution and extremes around the the averages. If the models don’t replicate such things ….. it’s a travesty that they don’t.”

    HankHenry for the win!

  183. Has anyone calculated what the saving to humanity would be if Microsoft increased the quality of their software?

    Let’s see….Windows/Word/ etc. cost 1 billion ‘users’ (=sufferers) 10 minutes per day in irritating crashes, file corruption, and the like. That is 10 billion minutes of wasted time or many, many thousands of wasted work years. (I won’t even mention the fiasco of the ‘ribbon menus’).

    Physician heal thyself – you do-gooder busybody!

    To be fair though – various pharmaceutical projects Gates gets involved in make more sense and serve to correct (at least partially) the unfair research strategies employed by ‘big pharma’.

  184. Great post. And well done following the trail to get some facts. But who cares about the awkward details, the artistic impression of the ships involved looks suitably Jetsonish.

  185. Actually – I know just the person to choose to build the new water sucking boats. He’s a South African here -http://wp.me/pDjed-l9 – he’s already designed a zero-emission aeroplane.

  186. Meanwhile, scientists claim farming in the North-American Midwest has caused late-summer days to be cooler:
    [ http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/weather/ct-met-weather-crops-20100511,0,1217706.story ]

    Quote: “(…) more densely planted corn and soybean fields scattered across the Midwest are changing the regional climate by releasing more water vapor into the atmosphere. The more water vapor that reaches the atmosphere, the higher the dew point, and the fewer extremely hot summer days.

    In other words, while some still question whether people are to blame for changing weather patterns around the globe, farmers around the Midwest are already altering the region’s climate in significant ways (…) ”

    So, why worry? I presume Bill Gates’ machines are obsolete, already. Farming is the answer. More farming=more water vapour=more clouds= a cooler planet! No more problems, no more global warming. :) !!

  187. R. Gates says:
    May 12, 2010 at 11:01 am

    I would be content if Mr. Gates (the one listed here) had the last word. A word to the wise is sufficient. This has been a useful brain teaser, just as the ‘dispensing of soot in the Arctic’ proposal, to warm up the earth in the 1970s cold spell to stop the Ice Age, was back then. Also a non-starter.

  188. Stephen Salter says: “The figure of ten tonnes of spray per second was NOT per vessel but was the estimate for total spray from a fleet of 300 ships”

    Goodness! 10 tonnes per second sounds like peanuts to me – are you really sure of your figures Dr Slater?

    There are thousands of enormous nozzles dotted around the globe, propelling huge quantities of water vapour high into the atmosphere. They’re called cooling towers.

    And these will pale into insignificance compared to the plumes of water vapour being propelled high into the atmosphere from the associated burning of fossil fuels.

    If it is to be argued that 10 tonnes per second of water being elevated to a height of 1000 m will cool the globe, how much cooling should we attribute to the millions of tonnes being sent aloft from the global power industry?

  189. It would be cheaper to bomb a volcano with a nuke. Then the volcano would send a lot of SO2 high in the atmosphere.

  190. So, again I ask, anyone out there who can at least conjecture as to the answer of the question as to which will win out, the greenhouse gas warming effect of the water vapor (much stronger than co2) or the solar radiation reflection of the supposed clouds to be formed? Would this “idea” warm us or cool us? What about increased rain fall from all of these clouds? Where will that occur? Floods? Hurricanes from the higher moisture unsettled air? Blizzards? Tornados? Are there any weather people on this blog?

  191. I think someone should place some kind of a gadget on these ships that would make them useful, ie, provide some kind of a good or service, or perhaps provide energy, to people.

    Then the environmentalists would be in an Almighty Hurry to put a stop to it!

  192. anna v says:
    May 12, 2010 at 10:39 am
    I too am very disappointed at the lack of critical thought in both the article, which sets up strawman hypotheses and goes on to refute them and ridicule them, and with the readers, who have been provided with serious and rational links by myself and others, as the one by Stephen Salter below, which does describe the ingenious method of increasing albedo non destructively.

    http://www.see.ed.ac.uk/~shs/Climate%20change/Phil.Trans.%20Seagoing%20hardware.pdf ,
    ———–
    REPLY: Thanks for the link. In part, it says:

    “The vessels will drag turbines resembling oversized propellers through the water to provide the means for generating electrical energy. Some will be used for rotor spin, but most will be used to create spray by pumping 30 kg sK1 of carefully filtered water through banks of filters and then to micro-nozzles with piezoelectric excitation to vary drop diameter.”

    You can’t be serious!! The energy consumption of this plan astounds me….I’m not aware of any source of renewable energy that would enable this, except perhaps nuclear reactors aboard the ships. And, “carefully filtered water through banks of filters…” etc. opens a new can of worms in terms of energy requirements, capital investment, labor etc..

    We are undergoing a grand solar minimum, the US carbon dioxide emissions in 2009 dropped by about 7%, and you seriously propose this?

  193. There is something wrong with the math, and I have evidence. LOL
    My 2500 psi preassure washer has a problem to deliver mist to the top of
    second floor window (from ground level). I hope Bill can spare some change
    for me for further research

  194. What if the increased cloud cover actually increases the temperature?

    Don’t worry, nobody knows enough about climate forcings to be able to prove that! :^)

  195. wesley bruce says:
    May 12, 2010 at 4:56 am

    The original paper.

    Now we see if the html works.
    Not so hard to find folks.

    Thanks for the citation, Wesley. Not sure what “not so hard to find folks” means, I didn’t even know of the paper’s existence.

    It is another wonderful example of people with no practical experience putting to sea in their dreams. I see that the cloud making ship shown in Fig. 1 is not intended to be a fantasy, it is actually supposed to be a practical vessel. It is to be run by Flettner rotors, which were invented back in the 1920s. Here’s an example, from the reference cited by Wesley:


    Figure 3. Vessel “Cloudia”, February 28, powered by Flettner rotors

    What could be wrong with that? Well, two things. The first one is that you can’t “reef”, or reduce the area, of the “sails”. Flettner rotors do work … but the wind can work much harder. Ever been in a real, serious storm at sea? Been there, done that, it is terrifying.

    First the wind starts to wail. Then it rises, and begins to howl. After a while it is shrieking. Eventually the sound of the wind rises until it is almost above the range of hearing, a piercing, keening scream that drives spray horizontally and knocks ships over and runs up and down your spine and drives men insane. At such a time, the smallest scrap of sail is far too much windage … and a tall Flettner rotor that you can’t get down out of the sky is a ship’s death sentence. Why do you think they were never widely adopted? Because sea folk have this nasty habit, we want to keep on living … and to do that, you have to be able to reef your sails to reduce your windage.

    The second problem is that the amount of power developed by Flettner rotors is pretty small. For example, the caption to the photo of the good ship Cloudia above says:

    With a rotor drive power of 600 watts, she could sail faster than the beam wind, stop, go into reverse and yaw 180° in either direction about her own axis.

    Whoa, 600 watts, enough to light six light bulbs, less than one horsepower, be still my beating heart. My figures indicate that to pump 10 tonnes per second we need about 5,500 kilowatts, not watts but kilowatts. So each rotorship will need to have rotors with an area about ten thousand times as big as the “Cloudia”, that’s four orders of magnitude larger. I suppose that’s why the ship in Figure 1 is so tall, tall enough to be blown over by a medium sized squall …. and even then, there’s no way that the rotors of the ship in Figure 1 are 10,000 times larger than those of the “Cloudia”. To be that much larger, they’d have to be 100 times taller and 100 times wider than the rotors of the “Cloudia”. From the picture, the taller rotor is 27 feet tall and about 5 feet wide, so the rotors on the real pump ship would have to be 500 feet across and 2,700 feet tall, over half a mile, that’s nearly a kilometer tall … riiiight … but wait, wait, hold the presses, they have three rotors instead of two, so the rotors would only have to be 500 feet across and 1,800 feet tall. Phew, I feel much better now, I was worried for a minute there …

    Finally, their idea is that they will avoid the problem of having folks on board by running all of this by remote control … yeah, that’s the ticket. You know the old saying, “What goes around, comes around”?

    Well, at sea we have a saying, “What goes around … stops.”

    The idea that you could do this remotely, without anyone on board to fix the machinery or clean the filters or remove the chunk of abandoned net that has fouled the rudder or scrape the seagull … ummm … guano … out of the self-steering gear or any of the thousands of everyday marine problems is a sick joke. The tropical marine environment is one of the most corrosive, destructive environments for machinery and electronics known. Single-handed sailors (which I have been in my life) do everything we can to automate our boats, and we still spend a lot of time at sea fixing and jury rigging and maintaining the boat’s machinery and parts. Remote control? Give me a break.

    Final conclusion?

    Never hire a think-tank to design a sailboat. The ocean is a beautiful but cruel mistress. I love her dearly, but she’s a bitch who will destroy your ship without even noticing … and she pays very little attention to the ideas of tanked-thinkers …

  196. Finally we should have concluded that the only way to do it is ask, implore He who is the one who commands the weather and climate on earth, the supreme God of Climate, the incomparable beast from the nether world, he who only appears before us to warn us of all conceivable armageddonian consequences derived from our sinful behaviours, AL the most magnificent bedwetter himself. Be praised His Holyness. Only HIM can change everything, only HE who can pee everything from above could direct us to behave correctly so as not to offend HIS beloved daughter: GAIA.

  197. Jeff Id says:
    May 12, 2010 at 4:56 am

    Willis,

    Nice article but it is FAR worse than you calculated. If you calculate the power required to lift 10 tonnes per second to 3000 ft you get a bit larger number.

    power = (weight * height)/second
    = (20,000lb *4.448 N / lb)(3000ft*.3048m/ft)/1 second
    = 81,345,000 = 81 million watts (MW)

    This calculation results in 15 times more fuel consumption from the above calculation for an ideal pump. IC engines run at about 60% efficiency, the pump to launch something that fast would be hard pressed to be more than 50% my guess though would be well under 20 percent efficient.

    Thanks, Jeff, you are quite correct. Like I said, I was being generous in my numbers to favor their plan. I saw but ignored the “lift to 3,000 feet” part of the equation, figuring that was just someone’s fantasy, and that they would figure that the mist would be lifted that high by turbulence or something. But no matter how you figure it, it doesn’t pencil out.

  198. Steve Salter and Anna V have shown there are proto types. See the paper is called :

    Sea-going hardware for the cloud albedo method of reversing global warming
    B Y STEPHEN S ALTER , GRAHAM SORTINO & J OHN LATHAM

    Institute for Energy Systems, School of Engineering, University of Edinburgh,

    http://www.see.ed.ac.uk/~shs/Climate%20change/Phil.Trans.%20Seagoing%20hardware.pdf

    “…. If the possible power increase of 3.7 W mK2 from double pre-industrial CO2 is divided by the 24-hour solar input of 340 W mK2, a global albedo increase of only 1.1 per cent will produce a sufficient offset. The method is not intended to make new clouds. It will just make existing clouds whiter. This paper describes the design of 300 tonne ships powered by Flettner rotors rather than conventional sails…..”

    From our favorite place wiki Flettner rotors:
    “Flettner’s spinning bodies were vertical cylinders; the basic idea was to use the Magnus effect. The idea worked, but the propulsion force generated was less than the motor would have generated if it had been connected to a standard marine propeller.[2] These types of propulsion cylinders are now commonly called Flettner rotors….
    The University of Flensburg is developing the Flensburg catamaran or Uni-cat Flensburg, a rotor-driven catamaran.

    The German wind-turbine manufacturer Enercon launched and christened its new rotor-ship E-Ship 1 on the 2nd of August 2008. The ship will be used to transport turbines and other equipment to locations around the world.

    In 2009 the Finland-based maritime engineering company Wärtsilä unveiled a concept for a cruiseferry that would utilise flettner rotors as means of reducing fuel consumption. This concept has been linked with the Finnish ferry operator Viking Line,[4] who have stated they will make a decision on whether or not they’ll order new ships during 2010.[5]

    Stephen H. Salter and John Latham recently proposed the building of 1,500 robotic rotor-ships to mitigate global warming. The ships would spray seawater into the air to enhance cloud reflectivity.[6][7] A prototype Rotor ship was tested on Discovery Project Earth. The rotors were made of carbon fibre and were attached to a retrofitted trimaran and successfully propelled the vessel stably through the water at a speed of six knots. The focus of the experiment was based on the ability for the boat to move emissions free for a specialized purpose leaving it unclear whether or not the efficiency of the rotors was on parity or superior to conventionally propelled vessels….”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rotor_ship

    So the pictured catamaran is fitted with Flettner rotors rather than conventional sails. Enercon is a wind turbine manufacturer and produced the Flettner rotor ASSISTED propulsion ship E-1. A neutral engineering type analysis of flettner rotor and other green sea-going tech is available here: http://www.admiroutes.asso.fr/larevue/2009/95/windpropulsionforship.pdf

    So far the Flettner rotors seem to be in use as an auxiliary to the main power source.

    Where I have a real problem is getting that water up to 3,000 feet THAT I do not think is possible. Better to just boil the water and let it rise on its own.

    Here is the information from the latest up to date firefighting ships:
    “The primary firefighting equipment aboard the FiFi 1 class tug Eleanor F. Moran, delivered to Moran Towing in March 2007 by Washburn & Doughty, includes two remote-controlled FiFi monitors, each capable of delivering 5,280 gpm of water for a distance of 394 feet and reaching a height of 148 feet.” professional mariner

    If we assume it actually is possible and it is powered by solar cells:
    Just pumping H2O up 260ft from my well takes a LOT of electricity (energy). I need a big 5000 watt generator for standby power for my pump.

    Looking up a 5000 watt solar system I get
    12 solar panels 56.1″ x 25.7″ [125 watts 7.20a / 17.4v] or 14ft by 9 ft of solar panels
    and
    (12) 360 amp hour, 6 volt deep cycle batteries

    Willis came up with 5,500 kilowatts which has to be corrected by dividing by 300 thats 18333 watts or four times the power used to operate my 3/4 horse pump.

    Jeff ID calculated the power required to lift 10 tonnes per second to 3000 ft and came up with 81,345,000 watts (again divided by 300) or 271150 watts or 54 times the power of my pump. This does not include all the problems of dealing with pumping “dirty water” and cleaning filters. That I have dealt with and even with “clean” city water it is a real nightmare. (I will never drink city water again after taking care of a DI water system – yuck)

    I am not an engineer but you are looking at a lot of solar cells and perhaps batteries to run this mother taking it you can actually build a machine capable of doing it.. If it is any thing like a normal pump, the power to get it going is much greater than the power to keep it going.

    Doing this; getting the water to 3,000 feet AND of the correct particle size AND using green energy is an engineering feat similar to putting a man on the moon.

  199. Paul Daniel Ash says:
    May 12, 2010 at 5:29 am

    3800 square miles, Willis, not 380.

    They said 3,800 square miles would be covered by 10 ships, which is 380 square miles per ship.

  200. Has their application for taxpayer funding been approved yet? (Er, sorry about that, so to be PC , let’s say “Government Funding” instead, hoping that a few million rich guys like Bill Gates, Al Gore et al will have no objection to their being stung deeply for those idiotic costs, and us ordinary peon taxpayers will not be.) Yeah.

  201. David Schnare says:
    May 12, 2010 at 5:47 am

    Willis, you didn’t really do your homework on this one. The Lantham approach has been examined in rather a lot of detail. If you’d like to see the discussions on this, go to the geoengineering google group and take a look at the discussions there. They’ve run quite of bit of modeling on what is needed and what it will do. At present, they would target the arctic (they think it is melting). They have already tested the elements of the ship design and it is not as expensive as a naval ship by any means, and is a “drone” ship operated by a land-based operator.

    The proponents believe it ought be tested, including field tests, because it has the smallest potential adverse effects of the various geoengineering techniques under serious consideration.

    In general, the geoengineering community believes these kinds of techniques, at least three of which appear to be cost-effective, feasible and effective, would only be developed as an insurance policy should temperatures actually rise. Because the cost of cooling the planet (should it actually heat up) would be so much less by using geoengineering than by carbon reduction, it provides a means to transition out of carbon over a period of many decades at a cost that is not unreasonable and is one to ten thousand times less expensive than carbon reduction.

    What? You mean that computer models show that this will work? Heck, if I had known that this had been verified by actual computer models, I wouldn’t have … oh, wait, never mind …

    PS – I went to the Geoengineering Google Group and found this … surely that’s not what you are talking about. Do you have a link?

  202. I wonder how they are going to get all that water to 3000 feet altitude. In a perfect vacuum it would require an exhaust velocity of about 300 mph to get to that altitude. However we are not in a vacuum, and the only way to get those small droplets that high would be to entrain them in a massive airflow, so you would actually need to lift rather more than 10 tons per second. Also I wonder if in the real world you wouldn’t be nudging the speed of sound to get an airstream that high. Considering the amount of shear I think the sound level would create serious engineering problems.

    Alternatively you could heat the air/water mixture and use convection, however this would require an even more massive energy expenditure.

    For a field test I would suggest upending a really large low bypass-ratio jet engine, injecting sea-water into the afterburner and sea how high that gets you.

  203. Henry chance says:
    May 12, 2010 at 6:28 am

    The natural method is far superior. A thunderstorm only gets started at 3,000 feet altitude and hits over 40,000 ft. A thunderstorm is distilled water and has no salt. Tell Gates we don’t want acid rain or salt rain. The power of the thunderstorm in my county yesterday has more water and power than all the boats his 60 billion dollar$$$ could buy. It will happen again today.

    True with one caveat. Over the ocean, salt crystals are one of the main cloud nuclei, so rain over the ocean does contain a bit of salt.

  204. Julian Flood says: “I am not an engineer, but the egregious misinterpretations of the paper indicate that I’m not alone … Nature does not need huge pressures to boost those particles to 3000 ft, it happens naturally.”

    I am an engineer Julian, and I agree with others on this thread who calculate that it would take about 100 MW to lift 10 tonnes of water per second to a height of 1000m. That only rests on conservation of energy.

    We could lift water to a much lower level and leave the rest to atmospheric turbulance. But then only a small proportion of the water would ever reach the 1000 m level. To get the same outcome, we’d need to pump much more water, so I wouldn’t expect savings in power requirements.

    And I agree – it is good to see Dr Salter here. (Sorry for the typo and getting his name wrong in my previous post).

  205. How about this. My kids sail Hobie Cat sailboats. With a brisk breeze they will pull a water skier. If we can install a little rooster tail generator on the end of the skis, we have disrupted the waters and created mist.

    I see nothing wrong with this Gates solution. If it fails, we will have signed up for an extended service relationship and as someone already mentioned, just download Service Pack 1 to upgrade the vessel.

  206. I suppose, if one WANTED to do this badly enough, you could mount the equipment on a solid chunk of island and run it with a nuke reactor. Yeah, that’s the ticket! Bikini Atoll is probably still available.

    You’d still have problems with Bioaerosols. During some red-tide conditions, seawater is quite toxic. All you would need to shut this thing down forever would be a nice plume of bioaerosols that decide to settle upon a human population somewhere. http://www.whoi.edu/redtide/page.do?pid=9679&tid=523&cid=27689

    I’m not entirely convinced that aerosolized seawater, no matter the level of algal toxins, wouldn’t be toxic by itself, as it contains selenium and other metals. Rain is, after all, seawater that has evaporated, leaving all that stuff behind.

    There are still too many unknowns about seawater aerosols even suggest such a plan at this point, the environmental impact studies would take years.

    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/research/themes/aerosols/

  207. anna v says:
    May 12, 2010 at 10:39 am
    It should be supported by skeptics as a second line of defense and as an alternative to the idiotic cap and trade stuff being rammed down our throats.
    A defense against what, exactly? Warming? But, you know that warming isn’t a problem, nor is it man-made. So, in other words, the whole reason for doing it, and for we skeptics/climate realists to support it is to mollify the Alarmists, provide them with a “security blanket” if you will. No, sorry. That won’t fly. Coddling them only encourages them. Give them an inch and they’ll take a mile, camels nose under the tent, take your pick. The truth is winning. This is no time for bargaining.

  208. Willis,
    Whoa there,
    another strawman with the 600 watt yacht engine.

    The ship designed by Enercon
    A large portion of the
    energy required to propel the ship will be supplied
    by four sailing rotors – large, rotating,
    vertical metal cylinders, 25 metres tall.

    http://www.enercon.de/www/en/windblatt.nsf/vwAnzeige/4DA5AEEBACEAEDFDC12574A500418221/$FILE/WB-0308-en.pdf

    In http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/35693
    they talk of 30% economy , and that is quite a hefty energy slice.
    The ships they propose to build will be lighter than the commercial ones.

  209. anna v says:
    May 12, 2010 at 7:11 am

    There are no pumps

    People please read the links I provided in
    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/05/12/every-silver-lining-has-a-cloud/#comment-388079
    before getting on the bandwagon.

    anna v., before you get off the bandwagon, your first link above says:

    In this case, seawater is forced through an incredibly fine mesh to produce a mist of droplets less than one micron wide, known as cloud condensation nuclei. These ‘seeds’ are the particles around which water vapour coalesces to form rain.

    How do you plan to force seawater through the “incredibly fine mesh” without pumps?

  210. Mr. Schnare
    Steve Salter, Anna V and I all provided you links to the literature. If you can keep up with this blog, you can understand that literature and form your own conclusions. All I ask is that before the buffoonery and bluster one might at least do some homework on the issue before posting an article like the one Willis posted above.

    What you have in the cites are all things that suggest that many of the individual elements of the project are theoretically possible. However if one does some homework on the issue any suggestion that this scheme might be put into operation within our grandchildren’s lifetimes vanishes.

    For example the Flettner ship technology is, to be kind, in its infancy. Yes, the theory has been around since early in the last century, but there’s only one ship -about- to be launched (e-Ship -1) http://uglyships.wordpress.com/2010/03/10/e-ship-1/ . The only ships using the technology were built in the 30’s and the ships developed serious mechanical problems because of the constant vibration of the rotors and they still relied on wind for this type of propulsion. So at the time rotors did not offer a significant advantage over existing technologies, they merely offered added complexity and unreliability http://openlearn.open.ac.uk/mod/resource/view.php?id=254231

    In best of these cases, the ships have given a savings of roughly 35% in fuel costs.

    Now, for this project we are to build fleets of giant (ultra-giant?) examples of these unproven vessels out of futuristic materials combining multiple unproven technologies in ways that they have never been combined, powering them with energy sources that haven’t been proven to generate the amounts of power necessary in, and put them into very difficult environmental conditions without a crew, with the expectation that they will operate autonomously day and night year after year.

    Frankly, if you do more than skim paragraphs such as the one quoted below, the phrase pie-in-the-sky will come unbidden into your mind.
    http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/366/1882/3989.full
    Electrical energy for spray and rotor drive will be generated by a pair of 2.4 m diameter axial-flow turbines on either side of the hull as shown in figure 10. These are very much larger than any propellers needed for a vessel of this size but can act as propellers for 10 hours in windless conditions using energy from a bank of Toshiba SCiB batteries. The vessels will also carry a liquid-cooled version of the Zoche ZO 01A radial diesel aero engine to give trans-ocean range in emergency. The turbine rotation speed will be limited by cavitation to approximately 80 r.p.m. This is fast enough for the use of polyphase permanent-magnet rim generators built into the turbine ducts. Tiles of neodymium-boron magnets will be moved past wet printed-circuit pancake stator windings sealed in glass-flake epoxy Parylene.

    If you could show me where these technologies are in use in this kind of combination -anywhere in the world- I might be able to stop laughing.

    What the college kids engineers who envision this project have done is to take dozens of theoretical technological possibilities and combine them and assume that they will work continuously at their ideal functional rates without any losses or errors.

    Anyone who has actually had to build something, anything, just begins to giggle when the difficulties of such small problems (compared to the other hurdles to be faced here) as filtering 10,000 litres per second of seawater are dismissed with explanations such as A weakness of the micro-nozzle approach is that particles much smaller than a nozzle can form an arch to clog it. Fortunately, the need to remove viruses from ground water for drinking purposes has produced a good selection of ultrafiltration products that can filter to a better level than is needed. Suppliers guarantee a life of 5 years provided that back-flushing can be done at the right intervals.

    Of course, we will just need to design an autonomous system shipborne to back-flush the filters at regular intervals and the suppliers will guarantee them for 5 years! How simple!

    Of course if you want to accuse me of nit-picking on details like filters, and just focus on more basic issues, perhaps you could distract me by explaining the power and propulsion systems in more detail for me.

    Numbers of remotely controlled spray vessels will sail back and forth, perpendicular to the local prevailing wind. The motion through the water will drive underwater ‘propellers’ acting in reverse as turbines to generate electrical energy needed for spray production.

    You see I get confused here. The Flettner’s spinning bodies have been proven at best to save 35 percent on fuel costs ( prototype Rotor ship was tested on Discovery Project Earth. The rotors were made of carbon fibre and were attached to a retrofitted trimaran and successfully propelled the vessel stably through the water at a speed of six knots. The focus of the experiment was based on the ability for the boat to move emissions free for a specialized purpose leaving it unclear whether or not the efficiency of the rotors was on parity or superior to conventionally propelled vessels.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rotor_ship

    , but here they are not only to propel the ship but to move it with enough force to power turbines that are spun by the movement of the ship through the water. I do understand that they will be supplemented by solar panels, albeit the ones currently available can’t supply the power for a typical American home.

    To summarize – these guys have done the equivalent of combining the old tips for saving gasoline by tuning up your car, checking your tire inflation, accelerating slowly etc, where when the sum of the savings of all the tips is combined you improve by more than 100% on your fuel economy.

    Except they’re doing it by combining a dozen unproven technologies.

    Was that enough homework for you?

  211. Gail Combs says: “Where I have a real problem is getting that water up to 3,000 feet THAT I do not think is possible. Better to just boil the water and let it rise on its own.”

    True – every time we introduce a mechanical or electrical conversion process, energy is going to to be lost and it takes more input energy to achieve the same outcome. The KISS principle suggests it would be better to create a plume of warm water vapour.

    Just like all those power stations and large industrial complexes are doing every day. My question remains – how much cooling do we expect from those millions of tonnes being raised into middle atmospheric levels (easily exceeding heights of 1000 m)

  212. ..Ignatieff, Suzuki, IPCC, Gore and their dangerous ilk (including some academics here in Lethbridge) want the world to waste trillions because they wrongly believe they have power over the world’s climate. In the meantime hundreds of millions of the world’s poor don’t have adequate health care and clean water. An immoral crime.

    Clive Schaupmeyer
    Coaldale, Alberta

    Clive, I’ve been reading this blog for a few years now and have suspected that you were the “Clive” from Southern Alberta who’s comments I’ve been reading.

    Universities world wide are breeding grounds for “group-think” mentality.
    Government funding to find solutions to non issues pretty much ensures consensus of post normal science.

    When I was a Management Systems consultant, I had a saying: “If you’re not part of the solution, there’s good money to be made prolonging the problem”.

    Fish on Clive,

    Manfred Kintop
    Calgary, Alberta

  213. Considering that here in CO we had several inches of snow last night and it’s currenlty 36 degrees on May 12th at 1:30pm, and we’ve had a cold wet spring following a very cold snowy winter, I could do with some warming, not cooling.

  214. I thought the AGW’ers from the IPCC were still claiming that clouds are a net positive forcing?

    WUWT??!

  215. Say, maybe they can use surplus Space Shuttle High-Pressure Oxidizer Turbopumps to blast the seawater up into the sky. There should be a lot of those available on E-bay very soon.

  216. Better than all this – considering the immense energy requirements and the doubtfulness about getting the mist 3,000 feet in the air:

    Balloons on tethers.

    BIG Balloons on tethers, with hoses reaching down to the water.

    BIG balloons on tethers, with hoses reaching down to the water, and pumps every so often in order to overcome the weight of the water.

    BIG balloons on tethers, with hoses reaching down to the water, and pumps every so often in order to overcome the weight of the water, and then have mist-ers up at the balloons to vaporize the water.

    BIG balloons on tethers, with hoses reaching down to the water, and pumps every so often in order to overcome the weight of the water, and then have mist-ers up at the balloons to vaporize the water, plus some way of getting rid of the salt and minerals that are going to clog it all up.

    Doing it THEIR way:
    @ tty says: May 12, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    I wonder how they are going to get all that water to 3000 feet altitude. In a perfect vacuum it would require an exhaust velocity of about 300 mph to get to that altitude. However we are not in a vacuum, and the only way to get those small droplets that high would be to entrain them in a massive airflow, so you would actually need to lift rather more than 10 tons per second.

    There ARE nozzles from a company called Vortec that will entrain something like 10 times the air flow from the surrounding air as passes through the nozzle. However, the velocity rapidly drops to zero within several feet – perhaps 20-30 feet – and that is on the horizontal. It sounds POSSIBLE that a series of Vortec nozzles could be used in the stacks, once the water is vaporized. But how high the vapor can be lifted is anybody’s guess. But to get to 3,000 feet? You’d need 2,975 feet of stack with nozzles every 25 feet or so – and every one of them has to be supplied with compressed air. And compressing air costs a LOT of money. And 10 tons of water would take probably 20 tons of air – every second – to move it at all. The air volume is immense. How many cubic feet per minute it is I don’t know off the top of my head, but I doubt there is a compressor in the world that big.

    All I can say is I’d want to have stock in the power company supplying even ONE of them.

    I have to say:
    The green folks are just too caught up in the idea that energy comes free. They believe that solar panels and wind farms can supply the world’s energy needs, and they just don’t have any idea how FEEBLE all the green technologies are, as compared to what they are asking of them. They throw out this silly half-baked idea and thinkit will solve all the world’s problems. But it would suck up so much of the world’s energy. Gazillions of megawatts don’t come free.

    Perhaps they just want Peak Oil (don’t get me started) to happen that much earlier…

  217. Just as the Catlin expedition was ready to claim their prize as “most silly and banal 2010” Bill and Melinda Gates steal the show and the prize. What a shame, poor Catlin. Last year B&M pulled off a similar coup with their “End hurricanes in our lifetime” scheme using strategically placed ships in the gulf of Mexico to pump deep, cold water to the ocean surface. Oh well, there’s always next year and I’m sure Catlin will think up something new. I just hope they don’t underestimate the sheer stupidity of Bill & Melinda Gates again.

  218. Lokki says:
    May 12, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    When one is making a new proposal, one may talk of hundreds of ships, but of course one should build an experimental vessel that will demonstrate feasibility.

    It is an ingenious proposal, by a professor with a wide experience, (not college students)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Salter

    and it should be given the funds to go into a prototype. Considering the billions spent on climate studies, the funds required are minimal. Considering that the cost of cap and trade to society will be enormous, the cost of the prototype is minimal.

    A nondestructive geoengineering solution is much much preferable to cap and trade.

  219. Could this be possible?
    the fund of Bill and Melinda Gates is preparing a new GM bomb, transgenic “golden” rice that causes cillae on fallopian tubes. Again, it is hidden behind charitable intents. Allegedly, the rice replenishes vitamin A and iron in the body. Recently Bill Gates gave a speech at a conference in Long Beach where he mentioned that he was looking forward to a vaccine that will reduce growth of the world population.
    http://english.pravda.ru/science/health/113350-2/

  220. George Smith: if people could really control the world’s temperature by degrees, for reasonable price, it would be a big battle for influence. There would be lots of rich people or powerful politicians who would press it in one random direction while others could do something else. Bill Gates could think that Seattle is not cold and rainy enough so he could cool the planet, indeed. It could soon run out of control. ;-)

    REPLY: Just imagine the small scale “war of the thermostat” between husband and wife on a global scale. Yikes! -A

  221. http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/366/1882/3989.full.pdf

    From this reference inked to above:
    If world temperatures are to be kept steady with no carbon reduction, the
    working fleet would have to be increased by approximately 50 vessels a year plus
    extra ones to replace any lost. If the assumptions used for figure 3 are correct, the
    cancellation of 3.7WmK2 associated with a doubling of pre-industrial CO2
    will need a spray rate of approximately 45 m3 sK1 and perhaps less with skilful
    vessel deployment. If 0.03 m3 sK1 is the right design choice for one spray
    vessel, this could come from a working fleet of approximately 1500.
    ===============
    The water is microfiltered and trash filtered so spray will be water.
    read the document for full information!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    \harry

  222. My favorite green Rube Goldberg fantasy machine was shown on the Discovery Channel a while ago. They had an elevator made of carbon nanotubules that carried an elevator to outer space, 30 miles long or so, so we did not have to launch shuttles any more. Yes, nanotubes are strong, but they have to be lined up to be strong, and they would have to carry their weight, any payload, and resist storms and lightning (yes nanotubes are perfect conductors). It was a real science fiction show, with little to recommend it to belong in a pragmatic science arena.

    Another was a microwave transmitter feeding on solar and transmitting MW to earth below. Ya think that enough little critters are being killed by windmills? This would be crispy critters galore. Not to mention all the chemistry they would be doing in the atmosphere on the way down. Good luck with getting that idea through safety regs.

    These guys appear serious, but they are not really. They are more than smart enough to know all these things. What keeps them holding a straight face is they are hoping that a side effect, or small facet of the technology will be patentable so they can hit the jackpot! Right now, they are just FAGTs (Feeders At Government Troughs) maneuvering for big $$$ from lightweights with more money than sense.

    Post Modern Science. The New Scammery.

  223. We only need to THINK that the project is cooling the Earth; it doesn’t have to work. It is a great way to excuse any global cooling, by claiming responsibility for it, and give a reason to compensate the Third World with $x billion, in this case for all the extra rainy day problems.

  224. Willis, good article. Slight error:

    “2.6 square km, or 2.6 million square metres.”

    A kilometer is a thousand meters, so it should read “2.6 thousand square meters”

  225. I’ll be attending this colloquium in about 0.5 hours, and I’ll post the link to the archive video when Fermilab makes it available on their website:

    “Cloud feedbacks on climate: a challenging scientific problem”
    Joel Norris, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

    One reason it has been difficult to develop suitable social and economic policies to address global climate change is that projected global warming during the coming century has a large uncertainty range. The primary physical cause of this large uncertainty range is lack of understanding of the magnitude and even sign of cloud feedbacks on the climate system.

    If Earth’s cloudiness responded to global warming by reflecting more solar radiation back to space or allowing more terrestrial radiation to be emitted to space, this would mitigate the warming produced by increased anthropogenic greenhouse gases.

    Contrastingly, a cloud response that reduced solar reflection or terrestrial emission would exacerbate anthropogenic greenhouse warming.

    It is likely that a mixture of responses will occur depending on cloud type and meteorological regime, and at present, we do not know what the net effect will be.

    This presentation will explain why cloud feedbacks have been a challenging scientific problem from the perspective of theory, modeling, and observations. Recent research results on observed multidecadal cloud-atmosphere-ocean variability over the Pacific Ocean will also be shown, along with suggestions for future research.

  226. @ Common Sense

    Considering that here in CO we had several inches of snow last night and it’s currenlty 36 degrees on May 12th at 1:30pm, and we’ve had a cold wet spring following a very cold snowy winter, I could do with some warming, not cooling.

    ROFL – I lived in Denver in the mid-1970s, and it snowed on the last day of JUNE in 1974. So you’ve still got 7 weeks to go to match that.

  227. This entire idea is, of course, absurd since it is getting colder rather warmer and AGW is a non-scietific political money grab, but before we pick at all the flycrap of how and why it will or will not be possible to execute, why no attmpts to answer the real upfront question: Even if it CAN be done, what would the effect be? Warmer climate, colder climate, too much rain, too little, more storms, less storms etc., etc.? Greenhouse gas vs solar radiation reflection. That would be a more interesting body of knowledge than how to sail the boats or squirt the freeking water!! Picking at fly turds!

  228. Stephen Salter says:
    May 12, 2010 at 8:04 am

    The figure of ten tonnes of spray per second was NOT per vessel but was the estimate for total spray from a fleet of 300 ships and, depending assumptions for initial nuclei concentration and drop half life, we think would be enough reverse the cumulative warming since pre-industrial times. Vessel displacement is 300 tonnes and plant rating about 150 kW all of which would come from the wind. This gives a rough cost estimate of $2 to $3 million each. Plankton have to be filtered from the water and will be returned to the sea. More detail from
    http://www.see.ed.ac.uk/~shs/Climate%20change/Phil.Trans.%20Seagoing%20hardware.pdf

    Thanks, Stephen. The figures from that citation are much, much lower than those from the articles I had found. So let’s look at their numbers.

    They say that spraying a total of ten tonnes of water per second into the air will be enough to reverse the supposed warming that is projected to happen from a doubling of CO2.

    Global rain averaged over the surface of the planet is about a metre per year. The surface of the planet is about 5.11 x 10^14 square metres. Which means that the current amount of water going into the air is about sixteen million tonnes per second.

    Do you truly think that adding another ten tonnes per second of water to the air (about 0.0001% of the current amount going into the air every second) will actually change the temperature of the planet?

    PS – you say:

    Vessel displacement is 300 tonnes and plant rating about 150 kW all of which would come from the wind.

    If you can get 150 kW of average power from a Flettner rotor ship in the wind, please build one and we can wire it into the power grid. Note that the “Cloudia” above produces 600 watts, and that is only when the wind is blowing … typical capacity factors for turbine wind plants are about 15%-20%, so to get 150 kW of average power, you’d need to have a turbine rated at about three quarters of a Megawatt, and that’s a very, very, very big Flettner rotor … big enough to tip over a 300 tonne ship when the wind kicked up. One of the problems with Flettner rotors is that the drag is huge.

    The other problem with Flettner rotors is that they don’t work well at low wind speeds … which, of course, is most wind speeds. So their capacity factor will be even smaller than for turbine wind plants.

    Look, Flettner rotors have been around for almost a century. If they were a practical way to provide the main motive power for ships, we’d see them used. We don’t because they are inefficient and have a huge drag. As a result, any Flettner rotor big enough to actually power a ship (rather than just add a bit of power, as with the ship Flettner had built) is big enough to tip the ship over. So they can add some power, but are impractical as the main power for a ship.

    Costeau tried a similar system on a couple of boats, the “Moulin au Vent” and the Alcyone. Yes, it did work, and it reduced the amount of fuel needed to drive the Alcyone by a third … but that’s not a ringing endorsement, since the Alcyone didn’t require a lot of fuel to begin with. And it is certainly not enough to provide 150 kW average power for the cloudships.

    Finally, according to the usual font of misinformation, Wikipedia,

    Cousteau and his research team mounted the invention on a catamaran christened Moulin à Vent (Windmill). Cousteau and his colleagues validated the system by sailing from Tangier to New York. The crossing was nearly complete when, not far from the American shore, they ran into winds of more than 50 knots. The soldering that held the Turbosail in place gave way and the prototype fell into the sea.

    The system consisted of a single turbosail mast, painted a navy blue. The research program for this vessel was designed to test efficiency of thrust with the propulsive system. While the turbosail did generate thrust and power, they were less than those of the sails and generator set which it replaced.

    Ooops …

  229. Stephen Salter

    The figure of ten tonnes of spray per second was NOT per vessel but was the estimate for total spray from a fleet of 300 ships and, depending assumptions for initial nuclei concentration and drop half life, we think would be enough reverse the cumulative warming since pre-industrial times.

    So 10000 liters/300 ships=33 Liters/sec for each ship. Hmm, my kid has a super soaker that can put out about that much…
    Lets get this straigh, a storm front stretching a few hundred miles with 20-40mph winds would kick up more salt mist into the atmosphere in a day then all these ships combined would achive in a year, I bet.
    I haven’t noticed any preindustrial tendencies around here after one of these mundane fronts passes through.

  230. David Schnare says:
    May 12, 2010 at 8:16 am

    Anthony:
    I thought you were interested in honest science. If you, and the rest of the folks weighing in on this idea, want to do your homework, you might begin with this paper and peruse the citations in it. The concept is valid, cost-effective and sensible as an insurance policy should we ever need it. …

    Gosh, you mean that this cloud modification project has been actually demonstrated using real live computer climate models? The models that all modelers agree do very poorly at modeling the clouds? The models whose results of clouds by latitude look like this?


    Figure 4. Modeled clouds and observed clouds by latitude. Black line is observations.

    I thought you were interested in honest science …

    PS – I’m not Anthony.

    PPS – As I mentioned above, this is a solution to a non-problem. Come back when you can demonstrate (using, you know, evidence, not computer models) that human cause warming is a) detectable, and b) a problem. Me, I figure a bit of warmth in the extratropics at night in the winter is not an issue, human caused or not … but I suppose YMMV.

  231. Julian Flood says:
    May 12, 2010 at 10:41 am
    A disappointing post with many disappointing comments. I am not an engineer, but the egregious misinterpretations of the paper indicate that I’m not alone.
    ————————
    Reply:
    I’m disappointed that someone would go to all that bother without credibly displaying the problem in the first place. As an engineer, it is a waste of time and money to find solutions to problems that don’t exist (the mental exercise is even a waste of time). By that I mean if Phil Jones could or would show us his data, I’d be more inclined. If Hansen was forthright with FOIA requests, I’d entertain the idea. And if Mann didn’t require an AG from Virginia to get his lab notes (and anything else, for that matter), which were paid for by the public’s tax dollar, I’d be open to suggestion.

    But until that happens, you’re engineering a “solution” for which there is no valid, verifiable problem. (And no, Al Gore’s “testimonials” and self-righteous, self-promoting, and self-aggrandizing spiels aren’t sufficient. Not even close.)

    I have a hard time getting serious about a non-problem solution.

  232. David Schnare says:
    May 12, 2010 at 8:37 am

    This is the first time I’ve been disappointed by this blog.

    Humor is fine. Failing to do your homework to know whether the idea deserves the humor is not.

    David, your “homework” consists (as near as I can tell) of believing in computer model results (regarding clouds, of all things), claiming that putting ten tons per second of water into the air (0.0001% of the natural amount) will change the world’s temperature, and putting credence in totally impractical and unseaworthy remote controlled Flettner powered rotorships. Sorry, but as a man who has spent a good chunk of my life at sea, there’s not much I can do but laugh, it’s either that or cry and I prefer the former.

  233. Failure of filtration – damn near killed the desalination plant project in Tampa. After spending 10s of millions more in redesign and installing of much more efficient continuous flushing system, they finally are producing 80-90% of their projected volume of 25m gal per day. Why only 80-90%? because they still have to shut it down on a regular basis to “replace” filters they can’t flush in-place. And that filtration was NOT to “purify” the water, it was to prevent clogging the system of valves, pipes, etc. That volume is about 1/9 of the volume they are talking about for these ships – out in the open ocean. ALL you GEO engineering types, I’d suggest you try sucking 10 ton of ocean water per sec. into a mockup of turbines on an old freighter and see what happens. Get it running for – 30 days? without stopping before you go spending any of Bill’s money on any of these “sexy” catamarans.

  234. Willis “If you can get 150 kW of average power from a Flettner rotor ship in the wind, please build one and we can wire it into the power grid.”

    The rotor produces a force, but no motion means no power. The most efficient thing to do with the rotor force is to drag the vessel through the water. If we try to convert that motion into something more useful, we introduce at least one more stage of conversion. By my reckoning, the net useable power will be less than half of the power developed by the rotor. Perhaps a lot less than that.

    Willis – another fabulous post, great debate with excellent comments and commenters.

  235. Automated; remote control
    ha hahaha haha haha haha many times over !

    I used to be Radio & Electronics Officer at sea. I am now a Process Control and AUTOMATION engineer.

    I do bleeding edge remote support of factories on a GLOBAL basis.

    and what happens when good old Sol wakes up & throws us a nice CME & all the satellites go off line for a couple of days – no sat nav; no remote control…….

    excuse me while I recover from another outburst of hysterical laughter….

    No country will authorize unmanned cargo ships. None; nada; zilch. They’ve been feasible (note feasible not just possible) for at least 10 years.

    And a fully automated cargo ship would be several orders of magnitude simpler to control than one of these proposed vessels. (That’s before my amateur naval architect level skills send me off in paroxysms of hysterics again).

    Despite every ship owners efforts to achieve maintenance free reliable ships this has still not been achieved.

    I suggest the well intentioned dreamers be allowed the joy of being on a 60 000 ton Panamax tanker going through a hurricane; and experience the mind blowing experience of looking UP from the top of the 5 story block on top of the 10 metre above water level deck – looking up some 60 degrees to the top of the next wave; and then being the roller coaster carriage that 60 000 tons of cargo imitates for the next 3 days (72 continuous hours).

    Don’t think this will float.

    Don’t you think ‘Big Oil’ would have un-manned tankers & LNG carriers running around by now if this could done ?

    ha haha ha ha haha ha

    Ask the engineers FIRST; not last.

  236. To the proponets of this idea:

    Here is another observation. These ships would be most productive in equatorial areas. Increasing albedo there would have the most impact. However, what are you achieving? You are not cooling the air, you are cooling the ocean. Lets say a 5C drop in ocean temperature covering, say the equatorial area between Africa and South America. Hmm, that would do wonders to the Gulf stream etc. You speak about stopping the process in hours. How do you return those surface currents to their normal temperature and speeds in a few hours? You don’t, the impact would be massive and could last years.

  237. anna v says:
    May 12, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    “…When one is making a new proposal, one may talk of hundreds of ships, but of course one should build an experimental vessel that will demonstrate feasibility.”
    ______________________________________________________________________
    WRONG, WRONG WRONG!

    Before he goes spending any money, first he needs to prove the idea has at least some merit. How about tests using a conventional air plane like a crop duster. Then he has to prove the engineering of getting the water to the desired height. Use a stationary pilot operation on a sea coast. Then you might be ready to build a prototype on a manned ship. Other wise it is just another scam to bilk people of money like Molten Metal Technology Inc. (start at paragraph 10) http://sentinelradio.wordpress.com/2009/10/19/obama-maurice-strong-al-gore-key-players-cashing-in-on-chicago-climate-exchange/

    There is a very good reason commercial corporations use pilot plants before going full scale. It saves them lots of money not to mention embarrassment.

  238. Greg says:
    May 12, 2010 at 1:16 pm
    Willis, good article. Slight error:

    “2.6 square km, or 2.6 million square metres.”

    A kilometer is a thousand meters, so it should read “2.6 thousand square meters”

    Greg, the keyword is “square” km

  239. How about having a fleet of aircraft to seed the clouds with silver iodine or…or….DRY ICE! ….HA…..ha …..ha

  240. anna v says:
    May 12, 2010 at 10:39 am

    I too am very disappointed at the lack of critical thought in both the article, which sets up strawman hypotheses and goes on to refute them and ridicule them, and with the readers, who have been provided with serious and rational links by myself and others, as the one by Stephen Salter below, which does describe the ingenious method of increasing albedo non destructively.

    http://www.see.ed.ac.uk/~shs/Climate%20change/Phil.Trans.%20Seagoing%20hardware.pdf ,

    anna v, thank you for your contribution, as always. I know that you and Stephen Salter are “disappointed”, but the proposal for remote-controlled Flettner rotorships is a sailor’s nightmare. The fact that you think this could work means you’ve never been in a big storm in a small boat. There is a reason that the rotors aren’t used for anything but a way to reduce fuel costs …

    This proposal just changes the albedo while it is working and reverts to normal when it stops. In contrast to the sorcerer’s apprentice other methods offered for geoengineering, from sulfur in the sky to iron in the oceans.

    It should be supported by skeptics as a second line of defense and as an alternative to the idiotic cap and trade stuff being rammed down our throats.

    If anyone could actually show that it might stand a chance of working, I suppose that might make sense. But altering the temperature by changing the amount of water going up into the air by 0.0001% doesn’t strike me as a reasonable claim. And supporting things that won’t work and don’t seem reasonable, as a second or any other line of defense, just leads to people laughing at you … how does that help anyone?

    For me, it is a solution to a non-problem. If you back it, you are implicitly agreeing that there is a problem … I’m sure you can see the problem.

    Those of you who know me on this board, know that I am convinced by the data that the warming observed is natural, not man made. Nevertheless, the countries of the world do not listen to skeptics and are ready to tie up trillions and destroy the western way of life on the assumption that the slight heating observed is due to CO2 increases.

    This project is ingenious and the construction of a test ship should be supported, and not ridiculed. It offers great savings both in money and in a way of life, supposing that AGW were true. By the time one ship is built and tested the PDO etc cycles will probably convince everybody that there is no great heating going on, and the project can stop, though the idea to have a station self propelled and with little energy expenditure roaming the oceans is also useful, if demonstrated to work.

    The Flettner rotors are already in use:
    http://www.enercon.de/www/en/windblatt.nsf/vwAnzeige/4DA5AEEBACEAEDFDC12574A500418221/$FILE/WB-0308-en.pdf

    No, they’re not. That ship has not yet sailed, it is still tied up to the dock. And when it does, we’ll see how much actual energy they get from the rotors … note also how big the ship has to be to support that size of rotors … that’s not a 300 tonne vessel as called for in the cloudship specs, that’s 10,500 tonnes.

    I say again, if Flettner rotors worked as you guys claim, sailors all over the world would be using them. They aren’t being used because they can’t be reefed, are inefficient in light winds, and don’t provide much power. As a result, you need a huge ship to support a big rotor, so nothing is gained.

    Finally, this whole idea is built around the concept of “cloud seeding”, making clouds by increasing the number of cloud nuclei. I remember the hype around cloud seeding when I was a kid … funny how that worked out. In 2003, the National Academy of Sciences said:

    There still is no convincing scientific proof of the efficacy of intentional weather modification efforts. In some instances there are strong indications of induced changes, but this evidence has not been subjected to tests of significance and reproducibility.

    So we’re pretty sure the Flettner part won’t work, the idea of remote controlled ships seems mad to this old sailor, the weather modification part has never been scientifically demonstrated despite decades of trying, and the claim is that adding 0.0001% to the natural water going into the air will change the global temperature … hey, what’s not to like?

    The important thing is it is nondestructive and its effects easily stopped.

    Funny, but for me, that’s not the important thing. I look for important things like “practical” and “possible to actually make work” and “basic principles are scientifically sound” and “might actually make a difference on a global scale” and “could be cost-effective” as well.

    anna v., I always enjoy your posts, but when a supposedly scientific study starts proposing Flettner rotorships, you’ll forgive me if I don’t take it seriously. I’ve spent far too much time at sea for that.

  241. There are a lot of misconceptions about Flettner rotor ships. The rotors don’t spin themselves. Flettner rotor ships need a motor, typically electric or diesel, to spin the rotors. So long the the rotors are spinning (about 200rpm is ideal) they act as very efficient sails. But the rotors themselves are not wind powered. Flettner himself abandoned the idea after practical tests showed that he’d be better off using the energy required to spin the rotors to power the boat directly with a standard propeller. In this proposal they plan to use a submerged propeller to extract energy from the boat’s motion through the water to turn the Flettner rotors. But if it takes more energy to spin the rotors than it does to push the boat through the water at the same speed with a propeller then doesn’t that mean you probably won’t be able to extract enough energy from a marine propeller to power the rotors to propel the boat.

    Forget whether the thing will have any effect on clouds. What I’m asking myself is will the basic propulsive concept even work.

  242. anna v says (May 12, 2010 at 12:52 pm): “A nondestructive geoengineering solution is much much preferable to cap and trade.”

    Obliterating junk science trumps ’em both.

  243. anna v says:
    May 12, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    Willis,
    Whoa there,
    another strawman with the 600 watt yacht engine.

    Oh, please, stop with the straw man accusations. I’m just taking the best numbers I can find. I notice that you have not cited a single number to date.

    The ship designed by Enercon
    A large portion of the
    energy required to propel the ship will be supplied
    by four sailing rotors – large, rotating,
    vertical metal cylinders, 25 metres tall.

    http://www.enercon.de/www/en/windblatt.nsf/vwAnzeige/4DA5AEEBACEAEDFDC12574A500418221/$FILE/WB-0308-en.pdf

    In http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/35693
    they talk of 30% economy , and that is quite a hefty energy slice.
    The ships they propose to build will be lighter than the commercial ones.

    Well, since the ship hasn’t sailed yet, we don’t know how much energy it will produce. It’s easy to claim energy, but hard to produce it. Note that the vessel itself will be going at on the order of twenty knots from the engines, so part of the wind power comes from that. Also note that it is a 10,500 tonne ship, so it can hold up that size of rotors.

    Finally, those rotors are about 25 metres by 4 metres, for an area of 100 square metres. This is the same as a turbine type windmill with an 11.2 metre diameter … by modern standards, tiny. The Danish Wind Industry Association has a calculator here. Their smallest windmill has a 10.7 metre diameter, close enough for our calculations … and at their windpower sites, the average annual production from a rotor of that size is between 1.5 and 5 kW … and that’s at good windpower sites.

    Since Flettner rotors are less efficient than wind turbines (which is we use wind turbines), the numbers for the Flettner rotors are going to be smaller than that. Let’s be generous and say they each produce about two kilowatts at these random sites.

    So perhaps you’d care to explain how you plan to pull 150 kW from your cloudship before you accuse me of “straw men” … are you going to line up 75 rotors, each of them 25 metres tall and 4 metres wide, on each ship?

    anna, I’m doing my best back of the envelope calculation with the numbers I can dig up. If you don’t like my numbers, stop hand-waving about rotorships that have not yet sailed, and give us some better numbers.

  244. Ian H says:
    May 12, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    … In this proposal they plan to use a submerged propeller to extract energy from the boat’s motion through the water to turn the Flettner rotors. But if it takes more energy to spin the rotors than it does to push the boat through the water at the same speed with a propeller then doesn’t that mean you probably won’t be able to extract enough energy from a marine propeller to power the rotors to propel the boat.

    Yeah, I broke out laughing when I saw that part. The reference quoted by anna v. and the others says:

    Electrical energy for spray and rotor drive will be generated by a pair of 2.4 m diameter axial-flow turbines on either side of the hull as shown in figure 10.

    Use motors to spin the rotors to catch the wind to move the boat to spin the turbines to make the electricity to both pump the water and to power the motors that spin the rotors … can you say “cumulative inefficiency”?

    And they want to bust me for making fun of the proposal?

  245. Doesn’t increased cloud cover can actually have an effect to trap heat. So things could get warmer?

    Plus all this extra water vapour being sprayed into the atmosphere could lead to cause even more warming?

    These guys should stick to playing Fantasy role playing games on their computers!

  246. Many commentors have pointed out shortcomings of the proposed idea. I would like to add one more. Willis’ article didn’t say what the particles were that were “shot to 3000 feet” and then created cloud cover; but when I see navy celebrations where various ships shoot jets of water into the air, most of the water immediately falls back to the sea. Once back in the sea, no cloud cover cooling will occur. It seems to me that the particles that are shot into the air must stay there to do any good. One way to keep “sea water particles” aloft would be to (a) raise one tonne (1,000 kg) of sea water to 1000 meters (approximately 3000 feet) and then (b) evaporate the water. The amount of energy required to evaporate 1 gram of water at 15 degrees C is approximately 2,450 Joules. Thus, to evaporate 10 tonnes of water (10,000,000 grams) requires 24,500,000,000 Joules. To do this every second requires 24.5 gigawatts, which dwarfs the power required to simply raise 10 tonnes of water per second from sea level to an altitude of 1,000 meters. There may be other methods of keeping the “shot particles” (whatever they are) at 1,000 meter altitude, so my number of 24.5 gigawatts may be incorrect; but it raises an issue.

    Then if you take into account inefficiencies (say 25% efficient on the average), why we’re talking about 100 gigawatts of power, most of which will be dissipated as heat. Thus, before any “cloud cooling” benefit is realized, we must (a) overcome the 75 gigajoules of heat per second we are introducing into the biosphere, and (b) as others have pointed out, overcome the greenhouse gas warming that the AGWers tell us will be created when the introduced worst of all greenhouse gases, water vapor, mixes throughout the atmosphere. It looks like we’re going to have to make a whole lot of clouds just to break even, much realize some amount of cooling.

    What to me is really depressing about the proposed idea is that the people who conceived it just might be the brightest 1 % of the AGW alarmist community.

  247. Well I tried to cut and paste that nifty cloudiness data that wissis has up there; so you’ll have to back upo there and look.

    So here’s the challenge. From that sheet full of graphs, pick one; any one; your favorite example of global cloudiness; I don’t care which one you like.

    Now using that cloudiness graph data, and assuming it to be gospel truth. plot a graph of the ground level solar irradiance, directly underneath that cloud. For simplicity, assume that these graphs are correct for either one of the equinoxes, so the sun is diriectly overhead at the equator, and there is sunlight at both poles (24 hours per day).

    So I am sure that you now have enough information to perform the calculation take the TSI as being 1366 W/m^2; and you can assume (but state) any Air Mass One loss due to atmospheric absorption that you like. I’d pick either 70 or 75% transmission over the equator, and you can figure out the appropriate air mass for other latitudes, and take a simple linear (with AM) loss due to atmosheric absorption. I’ll accept results that ignore any spectral change due to air mass.

    So that’s you homework for this evening.

    I will warn you , that I do not have the correct answer; becuase in my algorithm; I need to know a whole lot more about the clouds than simply the cloudiness in percent. It’s a bit like the arctic ice problem; the “ice extent” doesn’t tell you what percentage is open water, and what is ice; and then it doesn’t tell you how thick that ice is; but yet it suffices to make predictions about when there will be no more arctic sea ice.

    So same here; clouds is clouds; that’s all you need to know.

  248. The impact this whole project would have on climate is given proper perspective to something I’ve posted in the past but is more pertinent than ever:

    Dr Leonard F Khilyuk and Professor George V Chilingar (Geologists) University of Southern California concluded from their study [regarding the climate]:

    “Any attempts to mitigate undesirable climatic changes using restrictive regulations are condemned to failure, because the global natural forces are at least 4–5 orders of magnitude greater than available human controls.”

    And the “human controls” they mention include cloud-making ships.

  249. Willis/Ian H

    excuse me its quite late here in the UK; but the post at May 12, 2010 at 3:22 pm; if I read that right they seem to believe in perpetual motion machines ?

    Is the architect working from Escher drawings by any chance ?

    Since the remote/automation bit won’t work (Engineering term meaning : it won’t work); I didn’t bother checking out the rest.

    So what is the PRIME mover going to be ? And with Fletner rotors giving at best a 30% SAVING if the wind is blowing then the PRIME Mover will still be required to supply a minimum of 70% of the max calculated load. And all of that saving is going to disappear in the overly complex messing around attempt to produce perpetual motion ?

    KISS – especially at sea; why not just drive the electrical generator set directly from the prime mover ? All propellers exhibit slip – a measure of their efficiency; and the greater the load; the greater the slip; to try and convert the ship’s forward motion into electricity via a water driven turbine is just ; well stupid (Engineering term meaning : dreamt up by the non-engineering a-mathematical management or political types who never seem to grasp the basics – ie 2 + 2 ALWAYS = 4 no matter how much you wish otherwise).

    Surely no one is taking this seriously ? Smoke & mirrors…

  250. And now, a romantic interlude, from a noted ‘natural philosopher’ two-hundred years ago, penned in 1820:

    [cue violin]

    I am the daughter of Earth and Water,
    And the nursling of the Sky.
    I pass through the pores of the ocean and shores,
    I change but I cannot die.
    For after the rain, when with never a stain
    The pavilion of heaven is bare,
    And the winds and sunbeams with their convex gleams
    Build up the blue dome of air,
    I silently laugh at my own cenotaph,
    And out of the caverns of rain,
    Like a child from the womb, like a ghost from the tomb,
    I arise, and unbuild it again.

    [exit violin]
    PB Shelley, ‘The Cloud’.
    [interlude ends]

    Ironically, Shelley’s boat, by some accounts, was later rammed and sank on Lake Geneva during a squall and his body cremated on the shore, much as I suspect will soon be the fate of this venture.

    Crash and burn………….

  251. Writes Peter_dm:

    “Ask the engineers FIRST; not last.”

    Oh, good heavens, no. Engineers live in the real world. People with that kind of attitude will tell you what can and cannot be done on the basis of real-world knowledge, and everyone knows that “Liberals” see beyond reality to the wonderful perfection of their visions of “Hope” and “Change.”

    Trey Parker, one of the creators of South Park was interviewed recently, and on his own behalf and that of his collaborator, Matt Stone, remarked:

    “We hate liberals. More than we hate conservatives. And we really hate them.”

    Sums up my political – and technological – position perfectly.

  252. I believe that funding for Wilhelm Reich’s cloud busters might produce more results.

  253. If we are really into messing things up, here is a simpler proposal.
    Put a large insulated pipe to near the bottom of the ocean. There the water temp is 1C or lower, pump the water to the surface and spray it all over the place. Lifting that water up is not an issue so no need for super pumps spraying water 1000 meters into the air. Lets say 10,000 ships, each doing 50 tonnes per second. Yep, that might be more viable for cooling the surface waters. But, then again what will this do to our ocean currents. Law of unintended consequenses will apply….

  254. “And they want to bust me for making fun of the proposal?”

    I’m gonna fix a wind turbine to the front of my car, couple it to gears to step-up rotational speed to drive a turbo prop at the back. After a light shove, a virtuous circle of postive feedback should ensue: as the car speeds up there will be an increases in power to the turbine, increasing the power to the turbo prop. Speed will be controlled by applying a constant braking force to the turbine.

    Once the concept has been demomstrated, a fuel-free aeroplane should be within our grasp – we can use that to fly to a height of 1000 m to throw water out the window. We will then be able to control the global temperature, creating green jobs and saving the world. Hurrah!

    (That’s my draft grant application – d’ya think the Foundation will buy it?)

  255. Does anyone have any idea of the cost of one of these submersibles and how much co2/energy is involved in their construction? I say submersible, because I suspect that will be where they end up.

  256. I have a much cheeper idea which would solve the salt problem, the chlorine problem, the feul problem and the man hours proble all at one. Replace these pump ships with large floating shallow evaporation pools. You increase the natural evaporation, could gain the same mass of water in the atmosphere with significantly reduced production cost and running costs.

    Also, if the water is swapped out before it is completely evaporated no plankton would be killed. It would make sailing on the oceans more hazardous, and the whales would probably regret it, but those are small potatoes.

  257. There is a virus on the loose. Probably a secret weapon escaped from some secret CIA lab. The virus simply disconnect the locical parts of the brain from the rest, and isolates it.
    I think I will call it the Avatar-virus.

  258. This has been very entertaining. I am not an engineer, but I copped early on to the conundrum of how one would power what appears to be a perpetual motion machine. I think we need Steve Jobs on this one, not Bill Gates.

  259. There’s nothing wrong with the notion of geoengineering per se, but it strikes me that proposals of this harebrained nature smack of a complete disconnect between desire and means. There are underestimates of scale in just about every regard here that can only be described in terms of multiple orders of magnitude between what might barely have a noticeable impact – for good or ill – and what would have no measurable effect at all.

    And these for the expenditure of vast amounts of wealth representing hours and days and years of real human beings’ lives, concentrated and wielded by people who are fundamentally too stupid to do anything good with what they’ve gained.

    Just because Bill Gates found a way to rip off the ideas of other computer designers and developers and turn those ideas into commercial hegemony in his market segment doesn’t mean that his expertise – such as it is – crosses over into other fields. Might as well have looked to Bartholomew Roberts for agronomy tips simply because he was one of the more successful commerce raiders of his time.

  260. Hopefully they’ll give Wrong Way Willy a bit of room to wander. http://www.global-adventures.us/2010/05/12/grey-whale-mediterranean/

    It wouldn’t be the first time someone from the Pacific Northwest dispatched a whale with dire consequences:

    http://www.theexplodingwhale.com/

    Personally I’d much rather Gates put his billions into wages for quality software engineers so Windows would be a less interesting target of software hackers interested in building spambot networks.

  261. First of all people they are not going to spray the seawater all of the way to the clouds, they are going to spray it into the air inside a ventilated column. Some of the water will evaporate into vapor, and as Willis has all ready demonstrated previously, water vapor is lighter than air and will rise. When the column of air/water vapor rises, it’ll create a local low pressure zone, and the surface air moving in will pick-up more water vapor from the sea which in turn will also rise. This is pretty much what happens everyday in the ocean tropical zone due to solar heating, i.e. it rains every day at about the same time. Think of this more as priming the pump and getting the clouds to form a bit earlier.
    Personally I doubt it will make any real difference, but it’s more plausible than most of the comments are letting on. This is basically a cooling tower and this wikipedia article treats it in depth.

  262. For all of the schemes I have seen to cool the planet, not once have I seen even a hairbrained scheme to warm the planet.
    i.e. – UNDO button, what’s that?
    So, without further ado, I propose that the planet is being prepared for a harebrained scheme to make it habitable for the Ice Aliens, who will be arriving in the Mother Ship on Dec 21, 2012. Don’t talk to Aliens.

  263. DavidQ says:
    May 12, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    If we are really into messing things up, here is a simpler proposal.
    Put a large insulated pipe to near the bottom of the ocean. There the water temp is 1C or lower, pump the water to the surface and spray it all over the place. Lifting that water up is not an issue so no need for super pumps spraying water 1000 meters into the air. Lets say 10,000 ships, each doing 50 tonnes per second. Yep, that might be more viable for cooling the surface waters. But, then again what will this do to our ocean currents. Law of unintended consequenses will apply….

    This method is already being used to generate electricity (known as OTEC, for Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion), and for air conditioning in oceanside tropical resorts.

    There actually is work involved, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. A column of water at 1°C weighs more than a column of water that varies from say 1°C to 30°C … hang on, let me find some numbers … OK, the difference between sea water at say average 15°C and 0°C is about 2.3 kg/cubic metre. So if we have a vertical pipe in the ocean that’s one metre in diameter and say 600 metres long, and the water in the pipe is at 0°C and the outside water averages 15°C, the water inside the pipe will weigh about a tonne more than the surrounding water.

    So you’re pumping against a tonne of back pressure over an area of about .785 square metres (about 2PSI), which is not huge but is hardly something you can neglect in your calculations.

  264. I think what really bothers me with this concept:

    1) We really don’t understand the systems involved with climate
    2) If CO2 is responsible for the global climate “change” – what fuel source would be dense enough to power these ships to do what they are conceived to do?

    Finally, how does Bill Gates acquire the EIS to undertake a project of this scope, scale and impact?

  265. Willis Eschenbach says:
    May 12, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    My last on this.

    There is a basic misunderstanding in this thread:

    But altering the temperature by changing the amount of water going up into the air by 0.0001% doesn’t strike me as a reasonable claim.

    That is not what the proposal is about.
    It is about seeding clouds . Salt is plenty in the oceans, as well as other salts, and the whole design is in order to get these salts in the cloud cover to increase the albedo by 1%. It is not increase in humidity that is being proposed.
    Cloud seeding works:
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=cloud-seeding-china-snow
    And this particular seeding just wants to increase the albedo, not bring rain.

    Prototypes are what are necessary to demonstrate feasibility of a new idea.
    If they work, one can go further.
    If they do not work, the project stops. I trust that a professor of engineering will have more ability than back of the envelope calculations to moot such a proposal.
    All projects go through strict calculations and I do not think that Gates or anybody will give blank checks for projects.

    All I am saying is that the project is promising.

    For me, it is a solution to a non-problem. If you back it, you are implicitly agreeing that there is a problem … I’m sure you can see the problem.

    For me it is a stop gap toy to give to deluded people until the weather non problem is seen for what it is. The cost is small, and it shuts them up effectively if it works.

    The main problem is the meme that has dominated governments that believe CO2 is the devil

    That is the problem to solve, how to neutralize the AGW meme, because it will take human societies back to the 19th century and cause untold suffering. How to change the meme. Geo engineering proposals can shut up cap and trade solutions, and this particular project is the most innocuous of all I have read about. And cheap as opposed to the billions spent on AGW studies currently.

    Funny, but for me, that’s not the important thing. I look for important things like “practical” and “possible to actually make work” and “basic principles are scientifically sound” and “might actually make a difference on a global scale” and “could be cost-effective” as well.

    Again, prototyping is what will show whether it is practical. And I would trust engineers more than back of the envelope in this case.

    And important is when little children die, which will certainly happen with cap and trade in force.

    There is a political problem and this is a political solution.

  266. DavidQ says:
    May 12, 2010 at 4:03 pm
    Jordan says:
    May 12, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    I’ve got a better idea. We cast a huge, say 500 meter by 1000 meter, and centimeter thick, sheet of lead. Lead has a fair heat capacity. Using power from a nuclear or solar plant, and a large refrigeration unit, we cool the sheet to -200°C or thereabouts (the technology currently exists to cool things even to a lower temperature! Watch my other hand). Then we float the sheet, using large air floats (the technology already exists, so look here at the cute little monkey), and dragged by simple tugboats (the tugboats exist – look at that furry Chewbaka) out to sea. The atmospheric anthropogenic heat is absorbed by the supercooled lead sheet. When warmed until ambient, the sheet is dragged back and refrigerated again until all of the malus anthropus pollution is purged. All of this technology presently exists.

    Whatcha think?

  267. Bit of a mishmash of replies, sorry.

    “As an engineer, it is a waste of time and money to find solutions to problems that don’t exist (the mental exercise is even a waste of time). ”

    All very well for an engineer, someone who thinks in terms of reality. With AGW we are not dealing with reality, we are dealing with politics, and politicians live in a world where truth is what people believe. AGW is a political truth. Imagine you are a Cameroon/Cleggite and you have just read a new bit of research which refutes, 100% and no wiggle room, the whole CO2 theory. You don’t think ‘yippee’ and cancel the Climate Change Bill, immediately saving £18 billion per year, you think ‘Oh G&*^!, if people get to hear about this I’ll look a damn fool and no-one will re-elect me. How the hell do I get out of this?’ You can seize the chance to build a couple of Salter and Latham’s aerosol ships and buy time. Over a period of a few years you can change your stance and be ready to say ‘I told you so’ when the wheels finally fall off the AGW bus. Or, if AGW turns out to be real, then you have positioned yourself to be the saviour of the world. It’s difficult to comprehend the mindset if you deal each day with facts, but, I assure you, that’s how they work. Shouting that it’s a concession to poor science may be true in reality, but it’s bad politics. If you read the original Salter and Latham paper you’ll see that the demo was designed to produce a visible plume, not because it was needed to prove the concept but because without a visible result the politicians would not understand. Mad. But that’s the world our rulers live in.

    “Doesn’t increased cloud cover can actually have an effect to trap heat. So things could get warmer?”

    Low level stratocumulus cloud reflects incoming short wave radiation. This cools. It also reflects LR radiation back towards the surface but this effect is dwarfed by the first one. So, low level clouds cool.

    “Thus, to evaporate 10 tonnes of water (10,000,000 grams) requires 24,500,000,000 Joules. To do this every second requires 24.5 gigawatts, which dwarfs the power required to simply raise 10 tonnes of water per second from sea level to an altitude of 1,000 meters. ”

    Thanks, that’s very clear. 30% of the ocean is covered with stratocu cloud, average height something like 1500 ft. That’s 21% of the world covered with these clouds. Maybe you could now do the calculation of the power required to get it there and explain where the power is coming from? This elevation of spray particles is happening every day, millions of tonnes of water is turned into tiny droplets as waves break and bubbles burst. Did you look at the ship tracks? When the air does not contain enough CCNs the water vapour just sits there, waiting for something to trigger the formation of droplets. The ship exhaust provides the CCNs (cloud condensation nuclei) and the natural turbulence over the surface mixes the droplets into a cloud layer. The way some of the calculations are being done here disproves the ability of cloud layers to form naturally, so perhaps someone could work out how much energy is needed from the ship-track ship to create those trails in its wake.
    Here’s one image: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=5488

    But perhaps I have misunderstood your point.

    “Engineers live in the real world. ” and
    “the engineering of getting the water to the desired height”

    Professor Salter is the Salter of the Salter Duck: maybe people have seen the retrospective endorsement of the Duck — the ‘engineer’ who proved to the Government that it wouldn’t work had got his sums wrong. I’d back Salter’s engineering intuition against even Willis.

    “Replace these pump ships with large floating shallow evaporation pools. ”

    The point of the exercise is not to push water vapour into the air, it’s to create salt particles which allow droplets to form. Evaporation does not create particles.

    “For all of the schemes I have seen to cool the planet, not once have I seen even a hairbrained scheme to warm the planet. ”

    Easy. Spread the oceans with oil sheen. Invent a surfactant (let’s call it Tide) which is non-biodegradeable. Pour that in millions of tonnes down the sewers of the world and let it pollute CCNs such that they scavenge out cloud droplets, raining the clouds to a thinner state. Lower albedo, more warming. Simples.

    Professor Salter, how about rewarding me for my spirited defence by cuffing a post-grad round the ear and sending it to calculate by how much ocean pollution has degraded strato-cu cover? And maybe you’ll be able to invite me to Stockholm….

    JF

  268. It seems that even the computer models underlying this fantasy aren’t cooperating: “These numerical simulations of marine stratocumulus and trade wind cumulus clouds revealed some situations where nonlinear dynamical responses to increasing CCN actually decreased cloud liquid water content and either decreased or did not change the albedo”.

  269. re: anna v

    Snap! (Do USians play snap? It’s a card game where the players shout Snap! when the cards laid down match. I explain this in case I have just written something obscene.)

    JF

  270. peter_dtm asks:


    Willis/Ian H

    excuse me its quite late here in the UK; but the post at May 12, 2010 at 3:22 pm; if I read that right they seem to believe in perpetual motion machines ?

    Is the architect working from Escher drawings by any chance ?

    It isn’t quite perpetual motion that is being proposed. When the rotors are spinning they act as sails. The rotors don’t just push the boat with the energy fed in to keep them spinning. Instead the spinning rotors bend the wind flow in exactly the same way that a sail does, and this bending of the wind extracts energy from the wind to push the boat through the water in much the same way that ordinary sails do.

    Because energy can be extracted from the wind in this way, this isn’t a zero sum game, which takes the proposal out of the perpetual motion category. It is not inconceivable that under perfect wind conditions and with perfectly efficient turbines and rotor engines you might just be able to get this Heath Robinson contraption to go.

    What I doubt is whether it’ll work well enough under realistic wind conditions to make it practical. If not enough energy can be extracted from the turbines to keep the rotor spinning at its most efficient speed, then rotor speed will decline, the boat will slow, turbine efficiency will drop and so on around and around until the boat ends up essentially adrift with its rotors turning too slowly to act as sails and the water flowing too slowly through its turbines to generate significant power.

    That is before we even start to talk about extracting additional energy from the system to power the giant salt water `humidifier’.

  271. Julian Flood says:
    May 12, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    Well, I am greek and live in Greece. We have a verbal game called: touch red.
    :)

  272. Julian Flood writes:

    “With AGW we are not dealing with reality, we are dealing with politics, and politicians live in a world where truth is what people believe.”

    Reminds me just too goddam much of a Dilbert cartoon sequence some years ago, in which the title character – an engineer, natch – convinces one of the marketing boobs in the company for which they both work that a focus group had come up with the opinion that all marketing boobs were turning into weasels.

    Whereupon the marketing boob in question began taking on the physical characteristics of Mustela frenata, complete to pointy nose and quivering whiskers.

    Had to be convinced that the focus groups had changed their minds before the marketing boob could turn back into something resembling a human being.

  273. anna v says:
    May 12, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    May 12, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    My last on this.

    There is a basic misunderstanding in this thread:

    But altering the temperature by changing the amount of water going up into the air by 0.0001% doesn’t strike me as a reasonable claim.

    That is not what the proposal is about.
    It is about seeding clouds . Salt is plenty in the oceans, as well as other salts, and the whole design is in order to get these salts in the cloud cover to increase the albedo by 1%. It is not increase in humidity that is being proposed.
    Cloud seeding works:
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=cloud-seeding-china-snow
    And this particular seeding just wants to increase the albedo, not bring rain.

    anna v., surely you are not citing the Scientific American. They are among the worst spreaders of hogwash disguised as science. They are a joke. I gave a citation above from the NAS stating that the scientific case for cloud seeding has not been established. The Scientific American article doesn’t make the claim that cloud seeding works either, it’s just a review of the science. They say in the article that it is extremely hard to determine if seeding works or not …

    We’ve been looking for evidence of it for years, so if it works, it’s not doing much, or we would be able to detect it.

    Next, you are correct that the amount of water is not the issue, it is the amount of salt in the air. But like water in the air, the amount of that is large as well. Every time a wave breaks, whether at sea or on the shore, lots and lots of salt goes up into the air. Lets look at the numbers

    The rate of production of salt nuclei at the ocean surface is estimated at 1000 nuclei per square centimetre per second. Over the surface of the ocean, this adds up to 3.58E+21 nuclei per second.

    Now our ships are producing 10 tonnes of water per second. There’s about 35 kg of salt per tonne. A cloud nucleating salt crystal weighs on the order of 6.3E-14 grams. That means that the ships are producing a maximum of 5.6E+18 salt crystals per second.

    So once again, the numbers don’t pencil out. The cloud ships are only adding 0.01% to the natural airborne salt crystal production.

    Like I said, anna, it’s easy to sit back and make various claims. But for me, I greatly prefer to run the numbers before I run my mouth …

    Prototypes are what are necessary to demonstrate feasibility of a new idea.
    If they work, one can go further.
    If they do not work, the project stops. I trust that a professor of engineering will have more ability than back of the envelope calculations to moot such a proposal.
    All projects go through strict calculations and I do not think that Gates or anybody will give blank checks for projects.

    All I am saying is that the project is promising.

    Boy, you have more confidence in people who are being offered money than I do. Ken Caldeira was given a bunch of money by Bill Gates to give to “unique solutions”. So he went to folks who had unique solutions and offered them the money … do you truly think he ran the numbers first?

    I don’t. If he had, when he was questioned about the proposal he’d say “Look, here’s the preliminary calculations that say that it will work”. He hasn’t done so. Might be just an oversight, but I doubt it. You and Stephen cited the study that claimed that this will all work … but where are the numbers in that? That’s what I keep asking you for, and you keep giving me words instead of numbers …

    For me, it is a solution to a non-problem. If you back it, you are implicitly agreeing that there is a problem … I’m sure you can see the problem.

    For me it is a stop gap toy to give to deluded people until the weather non problem is seen for what it is. The cost is small, and it shuts them up effectively if it works.

    The main problem is the meme that has dominated governments that believe CO2 is the devil

    That is the problem to solve, how to neutralize the AGW meme, because it will take human societies back to the 19th century and cause untold suffering. How to change the meme. Geo engineering proposals can shut up cap and trade solutions, and this particular project is the most innocuous of all I have read about. And cheap as opposed to the billions spent on AGW studies currently.

    Again, I respectfully disagree. Sure, if the numbers penciled out, we might talk about it … but this is pie-in-the-sky. Supporting it is supporting bad science and wrong numbers, and I am unwilling to do that.

    Funny, but for me, that’s not the important thing. I look for important things like “practical” and “possible to actually make work” and “basic principles are scientifically sound” and “might actually make a difference on a global scale” and “could be cost-effective” as well.

    Again, prototyping is what will show whether it is practical. And I would trust engineers more than back of the envelope in this case.

    And important is when little children die, which will certainly happen with cap and trade in force.

    There is a political problem and this is a political solution.

    I agree about the importance of the issue, and that cap and trade is lethal. But how will a prototype overcome a couple of orders of magnitude of bad numbers? I’m sorry, but I don’t see fighting bad science with worse science is a good tactic or a good strategy.

    Like I said, show me some numbers that indicate that it will work and that the ships will stay afloat, and we can discuss the question. But advocating some cockamamie scheme involving dangerously top-heavy ships that can’t work doing too little to ever make a difference? Sorry, but this old seaman is not going to sign off on that.

    The Flettner rotors are a perfect example. My numbers above show that to get the 150 kW they claim is needed (I say they need more power) would take a minimum of 75 Flettner rotors, each 25 metres tall and 4 metres in diameter. Assuming we need about double the diameter between each one for clear space for the wind to pass, that’s a ship that’s 900 metres long … or we could put them in two rows and make it only 450 metres long … and they show a ship with three rotors, impossibly tall, that would flip over in a gentle breeze?

    Can you sit there with a straight face and tell me that these folks have actually run the numbers on that charming plan? Really? Because I don’t think so. They have motors to turn the rotors to drive the ship to power the turbines to make the energy to turn the rotors and pump the water … where are their numbers on that? Where are their numbers on any of it? You and Stephen keep flogging that paper as though it was worth something, but there’s no real analysis in any of it. No efficiency figures. No numbers on rotor power, just the claim that three rotors 24 metres tall by 2.4 metres diameter will drive the ship fast enough to produce 200 kW … riiiight. No numbers on how much power the pumps will draw. Just lots of feel-good ideas and miscellaneous meaningless numbers (bearing specifications?) that seem to have you and Steven convinced, but me?

    I believe numbers, and the fact that they don’t have any real numbers speaks volumes. If you want to get 200 kW from a modern efficient wind turbine, you need a good wind site and an intercept area of about 2,300 square metres … and that’s without the lesser efficiency of Flettners, and the power to turn them, and the friction of the ship. And they think that three rotors with a total intercept area of 24 x 2.4 x 3 = 173 square metres will do it with all of those inefficiencies?

    I’m sorry, anna, but they definitely have not run the numbers, they are out by orders of magnitude. You say “do the prototype”. I say “first, show me the numbers, then do the prototype”.

  274. If this plan would ever go ahead on full scale than it will wise to start buying shares of marine-salvage companies like Smit International (My dad used for them for about 30 years before retiring). If there is one thing that i learned from them is that the sea is big, as in really big and that no boat is large enough.

    These guys have really no idea what it is out there on the full ocean, i used to sail on Dutch historical sailing ships (150-300 tonnes) in the past during holidays, only in Dutch waters and even there it can be hairraising at times, let alone that you would be caught in a 10-12 Bft storm in the mid-atlantic.

    Still if you need an idea for a vacation, sailing those ships is hard work, but so rewarding, something i regard as good quality time.

  275. I’ve been thinking about numbers. For me, when I look at numbers in a variety of fields, I often have an innate sense of whether they are of the right order of magnitude, or whether they are obviously way out of line.

    After much thought about this ability, my conclusion is that I can do that because I didn’t have a calculator as a kid. I had a slide rule.

    A slide rule doesn’t have decimals, so the first thing that you have to do with a slide rule is figure out the rough size of the answer. If the slide rule says “34”, are we looking at 0.34, or 3.4, or 34, or 3,400? I was taught by my hard-core math teacher to do that first, to figure out how big the answer should be, and to be sure to do it before pulling out the slipstick to calculate the digits.

    This habit has stayed with me despite calculators and spreadsheets, and has been extremely useful. When I first looked at their cloudship design I couldn’t say how much power it would put out … but I knew it wasn’t 200 kilowatts. Way too big.

    I would recommend this same exercise to everyone when they are given an unusual or unknown claim. Before doing anything, ask yourselves, “Are their claims of the right order of magnitude? Does it make sense that the claimed cause would be enough to create the claimed effect?”

    Before looking up the cloud nucleus production rates for the post immediately above, I didn’t know what answer I would find … but I knew the old seaman’s prayer, “Dear Lord, your ocean is so big and my ship is so small” … and I knew that 300 ships spraying ten tons of water per second would only create a tiny fraction of natural production.

    Give it a try when you see these kind of claims, take a guess at what the answer will be. Then run the calculations, and get a rough estimate of the actual numbers. It is that process that drew me to this claim in the first place, I looked at their claims that 300 ships could cool the earth, and I though … umm … I thought, “That’s ” … well, this is a family blog, so let me just say I wasn’t impressed. And when I ran the numbers, it made no sense.

  276. Julian Flood, you say:

    Professor Salter is the Salter of the Salter Duck: maybe people have seen the retrospective endorsement of the Duck — the ‘engineer’ who proved to the Government that it wouldn’t work had got his sums wrong. I’d back Salter’s engineering intuition against even Willis.

    I remember when the Duck was invented, I thought it was a brilliant idea. And I have seen that about the Duck, that the numbers were wrong and that delayed implementation.

    At this point, though, it’s been 35 years since the Duck was invented, and I’ve never seen a report of one actually being used. I don’t know why, perhaps Professor Salter could enlighten us.

    However, I’ve seen hundreds of inventions like that (see old copies of Popular Science) that fell by the wayside … why? Because they were great ideas, but couldn’t survive the real world. The ocean is incredibly harsh, and there are not waves all the time, so we have all of the usual problems with renewable energy. I do find the following, which may or may not be true:

    Professor Stephen Salter of Edinburgh University has contributed the most intellectual invention. Salter’s Duck, as it is called, looks charming and popularized the idea of wave power. It is also a potential world-beater. The ducks are cones, filled with sophisticated electronic equipment, built around a spine, which bob up and down on the waves driving a generator. Salter will not let the system go to sea until he feels it is ready.

    I notice that Professor Salter started out strong in this thread, but when I have given actual numbers he has not come back to contradict them. Perhaps my numbers are wrong, I’ve been wrong before … but until Professor Salter says where, I’ll go with my numbers.

    We could start with Professor Salter’s numbers for the power output of the Flettner rotors that lead to their claim that three rotors of 24 x 2.4 metres could move a 300 tonne ship fast enough to generate 200 kW … Professor Salter, the floor is yours.

  277. bubbagyro

    I feel that we are leaving the garden gnomes out of the fun… ; )

    Willis Eschenbach

    I didn’t do a calculation, I don’t have enough engineering know how. I agree that the cold water would need work to be brought up as it would be denser than the warmer water.
    OTEC is interesting, after writing my post I found out about it. To me low density energy solutions can be very good if tuned to the specifics problem. I like the idea of what Bora Bora did pumping up cold sea water to provide cheap air conditioning. Not OTEC but based on the same idea.

    In the end I feel strongly that tossing salt in the air to create clouds would work in hot, low wind and cloud free areas. The very idea of cooling off these areas makes me believe that we must understand the effect on ocean temperature and currents. Imagine these machines running for years, what would happen to El Ninos and La Ninas and other ocean current/wind/temperature events? Imagine the mess we could create by using industrial level cooling tricks on the oceans? Moonsoons going missing etc. Of all ideas this is misguided unless you know the long term consequences. As one of the proponents said in this threat: “you can turn it off and the clouds would dissipate within hours”, but what about the cumulative effect of the cooling? That could be month or years to resolve itself…

  278. The discussion here about how to get the spray to 3000 feet is unnecessary according to the inventors. They are just gouing to spray it into the air 20 feet up and trust to nature to handle things. Since spraying water droplets into air is an excellent way to cool said air I suspect that they will promptly sink back to the sea surface.
    Another interesting engineering problem is that these ships will be operating in tropical waters and in a constant fog of microscopic salt water droplets. That is just about the worst conceivable operating conditions for both mechanical and electronic equipment. Everything will need to be vacuum sealed and all exposed surfaces made from corrosion-proof materials (composites or stainless steel). This is going to be a very, very, very expensive type of vessel.
    Incidentally the paper Phil Trans. R. Soc. where the inventor expounds his ideas reveals that he does not understand how an aircraft wing works (nor the peer reviewers presumably), which may explain the aerodynamic/energetic absurdities of the scheme.

  279. “They say in the article that it is extremely hard to determine if seeding works or not …
    We’ve been looking for evidence of it for years, so if it works, it’s not doing much, or we would be able to detect it.”

    Then I suggest someone look at
    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=37455
    Those tracks are being seeded by the tiny amount of CCNs pushed out by a ship’s engine. But no doubt the ship has immense pumps to boost its exhaust up to the correct height for the clouds to form*. Or something. Perhaps the pictures are of something else entirely, not CCN-mediated droplets at all. Let’s ignore data that disproves our thesis….

    For more fun pictures of this impossible-to-detect phenomenon, google “Nasa ship tracks.”

    Droplet production of the cloud ships is by feeding water onto a spinning plate, IIRC.

    “And I have seen that about the Duck, that the numbers were wrong and that delayed implementation. ”

    There was a recent report that the assessment of the technology got its numbers wrong. It was civil servants reporting to The Minister, the Whitehall machine assessing something they didn’t like. Maybe I’m maligning the authors but I got the impression that someone misplaced a decimal point. Let’s miscalculate the data that doesn’t agree with our thesis….

    There are two things called ‘the boundary layer’ involved in all this, one the layer of air above the ocean where drag and interaction with the surface causes turbulence (just like a wing) and one which is the layer of water, organic debris and pollution that makes the skin of the sea, a couple of millimetres which mediate the reactions of the water and the air.

    I think of the strato-cu cover as akin to the control grid of an old-fashioned triode. Put a signal on it and out comes an amplified warming/cooling signal. Pollute the air and I bet you alter the stratocu. Diddle with the ocean surface and the same thing will happen at second remove, altering bubble production, a control grid for the control grid. I expect engineers call that something like a two-stage amplifier, but it’s a long time since I built the Cranwell superhet….

    JF
    *Sorry, but it’s frustrating that people don’t seem to understand that much of the ‘power’ needed for this scheme to work is free and operates every day. Add a slew of CCNs at sea level and clouds whiten. It’s nothing difficult, it’s just (just!) taking advantage of a readily available natural system. Of course, if I’m right about the kriegesmarine effect then it’s just correcting a problem that we have caused.

  280. RE: “Of course, the first storm would flip this over immediately…”

    Urgent Design Modification Directive 361: Add balast tanks and partial submersion capability to a depth of [TBD] …

  281. The nonsense about not needing pumps, using fine mesh to atomize, etc. is very funny!

    I happen to know a lot about seawater cooling systems, we are designing one for a new 1100 MW powerplant. The plant needs approx 100.000 m3/h of seawater, supplied by three *huge* pumps. The discharge line from the pump is 2200mm diameter (about 6,5 ft. for our american friends). So each pump does 33.000 m3/h, or approx 9.500 liters/s (same as these ships are supposed to do).
    To bring this enormous amount of water up to a pressure of about 2.5 bar abs., it requires an electromotor of approx 1,6 MW!
    On top of that, since we use seawater, we require extensive measures against corrosion and biological fouling, such as applying exotic materials (GRP, stainless steel, titanium), and maintain high flow velocities in the system. You have to keep the flow velocity in the pipes above 2 m/s at least (so: pressure required!), or the pipe will grow full of mussels and other life and clog up.
    On top of that you require very expensive self cleaning filters to filter the water. So: more pressure required. Our filters have a pressure drop of at least 200-300 mbar, but are only mesh size 5mm.

    If they want to force seawater through VERY FINE mesh in order to atomize it, you’ll require upstream self cleaning filters of at least the same mesh size, in order to protect your “atomizing mesh” from clogging. This extremely fine filtering will cost you even more pressure drop, my guestimate is 1-1,5 bar at least.

    So, even if you do *not* need to pump it to 3000 ft, but just atomize it with a mesh screen, this will require a pumping power in the order of what Willis stated, 2-3 bar!

    This idea will nehehehever work!
    Good luck getting 1,5-2 MW of (pumping-) power from a “green” power generator (windmill, solar panel, etc.) installed on a ship. I say:
    hahahahahahahahaha!! Thanks for the laugh though!

  282. Re: Jim Clarke says:
    May 12, 2010 at 6:40 am
    “The ideas that are getting funded are so stupid that I am sure we could come up with something a little better. Of course, we would have to do it on the condition that our propositions never actually get implemented. Humans can cause changes to the environment unintentionally, but it is when they deliberately try to ‘fix’ the environment that they can really screw things up! (see the history of Yellowstone National Park)”

    One of the reasons I’m skeptical is many of the solutions being proposed seem better aimed at transferring wealth than solving any quantifiable problems. If this is the greatest threat to mankind, why are patents and profiteering permitted?

    As for proposals being implemented, I think it’s more about ensuring proposals don’t leave the drawing board and money wasted, especially public money until after the numbers have been run. As Willis keeps pointing out, the numbers don’t seem to add up and collectively we can probably crowdsource a more efficient solution. But being engineers, that can’t happen until the requirements have been quantified, otherwise it’s a moveable feast. For traditional consultancies, that’s a great way to bill more.

    The proposal seems classic greenwash. Lots of neat and imaginative ideas, no real substance, but as a sales prospectus goes it’s enough to attract money, especially if that’s tax deductable. Because it’s a ‘green’ project, it limits itself and increases costs by relying on ‘green’ tech, like the rotors. If those were practical, I’m sure ship owners would have been using them already given the desire to cut costs.

    The problem seems to be the energy required, which the proposed power plants can’t generate. Naval reactors can, but they’d not be ‘green’. They would however provide plenty of energy to test different CCN production and dispersal techniques.

    As for Yellowstone, that unfortunatly is a lesson we don’t seem to have learned from given current land use and land management policies in places like Australia, US and UK.

    (also curious about this ‘kriegesmarine effect, if that exists, CVBG/CSG might demonstrate it given ship density. Also a flat-top would make a convenient test bed, assuming we could convince the Navy to let us borrow one..)

  283. Photo of the E-Ship 1 mentioned by Anna V in the german wikipedia:
    http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-Ship_1

    Costeaus’s Turbosail BTW didn’t use the Magnus effect, it’s a different invention though it shares the vertical mast optics.

    Personally, i’m interested in Flettner rotors as a means for aviation… it promises to create more lift than a standard aerofoil per area, though it should be very difficult to control.

  284. Willis Eschenbach :
    May 12, 2010 at 11:59 pm

    I’m sorry, anna, but they definitely have not run the numbers, they are out by orders of magnitude. You say “do the prototype”. I say “first, show me the numbers, then do the prototype”.

    Well, Willis, I think you out on a limb with the way you are looking at this.

    1) Flettner rotors work. In the information available, they are supposed to be ten times more efficient than sails in utilizing wind energy. Sails have been used for millenia over the seas and oceans, thus one has an automotive power, I do not care about the joules. They can be robotized. People are being killed with robot drones,so rotors and ships could be equally well programmed and controlled.

    2) catamarans work and ballast works. Ship design is not a novel art.

    3)The objective of the proposal is not to move cargo, but to move up and down paths that are chosen for wind efficiency and to maximize the seeding effect. The seeding effect works experimentally, when one sees the clouds over the ships routes. I do not think megajoules are being wasted in the exhaust of the ships engines.
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/sun/dimm-08.html
    and the effect will be simulated by centrifugal pumps with small energy needs. Instead of exhaust from fuel it will be sea spray.

    If you went at the car engine design the way you are going against this idea, you would be concluding it would never work. Controlled explosions in a chamber? Small finicky thingamajigs doing small finicky thngamajigs? Bah Humbug.

    Let alone the human body.

    It is a very simple idea and can be implemented. The cost of a prototype is not prohibitive.

    Will it work? Only a prototype could show whether the seeding would be enough to change the albedo appreciably. Models, robust or not, and back of the envelope calculations are useless.

    And as Julian Flood also says, the problem of AGW is political, and this is a cheap face saving idea for politicians to latch onto. You are doing a disservice to the community of thinking people by dismissing/ridiculing this out of hand so lightly.

  285. Is it April the 1st? I don’t know about ‘legalarity’…more like ‘total hilarity’!

  286. “anna v says:
    […]
    They can be robotized. People are being killed with robot drones,so rotors and ships could be equally well programmed and controlled.”

    This is not a good comparison. You fly drones in suitable conditions and avoid storm fronts. You can’t do this easily with a ship, it’s too slow.

    Consider automatic driving: It’s rather easy to do on a sunny day but to become a mainstream technology it would have to work under all weather + road + traffic conditions. We’re not there yet. We might get there in a few years, but at the moment it’s unproven to non-existant technology.

    Now, being a developer myself, i’m all for pouring money at some teams to twiddle with such problems but don’t say we can do it now. Maybe in a few years.

  287. Oh, and another word about the “robot drones”: The ones that are used for attacks are remote-controlled. There is some lo-level on-board intelligence but they are constantly controlled by a pilot in the HQ while on the mission.

  288. It would save a great many electrons if contributors to this thread downloaded the paper on sea-going hardware published by the Royal Society and THEN did their calculations. But quickly, the power needed to spin Flettner rotors is between 5 and 10% of that needed to get the same thrust from a propeller. We are not pulling ourselves up by our own bootlaces. With expensive oil the Flettner system will come back. It failed because of the 1929 depression and very cheap bunker fuel. The salt quantity needed for cloud nucleation is a tiny fraction of what is put into the atmosphere now by breaking waves: we just put it up with the very best size for nucleation and most will fall back in the sea before it reaches land. We need a small amount of surface tension energy to make a drop with a diameter of 0.8 microns. When it gets into the cloud it will take water from a typical 25 micron drop and so produce two 19 micron ones. These two have a greater reflecting area than the single 25 micron one. If these last goes on for 24 hours ( and the best estimate is about 60) the solar energy reflected is billions of times more than we needed to make the original 0.8 micron nucleus. Nature hates uneven concentrations and uses turbulence to spread things out evenly. The salt residues are moved to the clouds by turbulence in the marine boundary layer.

    The forces on spinning cylinders rise with the first power of wind velocity not the square as with sails. The heeling moments on Flettner’s ships were much less that those on the bare rigging of the conventional sister ship. His first were made from steel and weighed one quarter of what they replaced. We can do even better with Kevlar and carbon fibre. The spacing of the trimaran amas is chosen to prevent capsize in a category 4 hurricane. The rotor head contain buoyancy to give recovery. If you can fly unmanned planes over Afghanistan you can have unmanned sailing ships in mid ocean.

    In official reports ducks scored highly on almost every count. The problem is that the initial installation size has to be at least 60 MW which is too big a risk at this stage of development of wave energy. Once confidence has built up we will be glad to make the best use of our sea frontage.

  289. “Is it April the 1st? I don’t know about ‘legalarity’…more like ‘total hilarity’!”

    This is extremely embarrassing for the reputation of the University of Calgary. Fortunately there is a new Dean – perhaps this will be addressed. Obviously this is totally impractical. It would be simpler and would cost less to increase sulfur emissions from industry and build more coal fired plants…oops I forgot – this is exactly what is already happening in China and India – only in the West is there a moratorium on new coal-fired plants and stringent emissions control.

    Sulfur particles are well known to seed clouds.

    I suspect this kind of research will involve plenty of trips (sailing, scuba diving and water quality/clarity evaluation) in the Caribbean to gather crucial data….of course, this is just Phase 1. So wax you surf boards Professors!

  290. annav (and also Julian Flood)

    “I do not think megajoules are being wasted in the exhaust of the ships engines.”

    There are reasons why we have mininum temperatures on stack emissions. One is condensation of combustion products which would cause acid formation and corrosion within the stack.

    The other is plume buoyancy. We want combustion products (stack) or water vapour (cooling tower) to rise and disperse in the middle atmosphere. As buouancy works on temperature differential, a flow of heat energy is required. That means power is supplied to the gases to create the plume. Much the same as the burner at the bottom of a hot air balloon.

    So it is not quite wasted megajoules, but putting megawatts rejected heat to some useful purpose. But, yes, it does take power to get the plume to rise.

    Returning to my earlier point, the world is awash with industrial activities and plumes which reliably raise massive qantities of gas and water vapour into the middle atmosphere. Some are stacks, carrying aloft the combustion products from fossil fuels. Some are cooling towers (not all associated with fossil fuels, i.e. nuclear).

    So accepting that the object of the exercise is raising CCNS for cloud seeding – why the ships? Why not seed the plumes we already have? Surely we could easily raise CCNs in much greater proportions into the high atmosphere with much greater reliability using what we already have. Existing facilities would also lend themselves to testing.

    Is there something which prevents this?

    The mariners and engineers on the thread say that ships are a bad idea. So why not forget the ships?

  291. OT, but related and maybe of interest to technophiles (or BS sleuths):

    http://www.icar-101.com/icar/index.php

    Yes, an air-car supposedly getting its lift from the same Magnus effect. Can anyone see this idea getting off the ground? (The name suggests that the sugar-daddy that they are hoping to get funding from in this case isn’t Bill Gates but rather Steve Jobs.)

  292. Willis Eschenbach :
    May 12, 2010 at 11:59 pm

    anna v says:
    May 13, 2010 at 8:29 am

    I’m sorry, anna, but they definitely have not run the numbers, they are out by orders of magnitude. You say “do the prototype”. I say “first, show me the numbers, then do the prototype”.

    Well, Willis, I think you out on a limb with the way you are looking at this.

    1) Flettner rotors work. In the information available, they are supposed to be ten times more efficient than sails in utilizing wind energy. Sails have been used for millenia over the seas and oceans, thus one has an automotive power, I do not care about the joules. They can be robotized. People are being killed with robot drones,so rotors and ships could be equally well programmed and controlled.

    2) catamarans work and ballast works. Ship design is not a novel art.

    3)The objective of the proposal is not to move cargo, but to move up and down paths that are chosen for wind efficiency and to maximize the seeding effect. The seeding effect works experimentally, when one sees the clouds over the ships routes. I do not think megajoules are being wasted in the exhaust of the ships engines.
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/sun/dimm-08.html
    and the effect will be simulated by centrifugal pumps with small energy needs. Instead of exhaust from fuel it will be sea spray.

    If you went at the car engine design the way you are going against this idea, you would be concluding it would never work. Controlled explosions in a chamber? Small finicky thingamajigs doing small finicky thngamajigs? Bah Humbug.

    anna, three times now I’ve said “show me the numbers”. If you think my numbers are wrong, point out where they are wrong.

    And once again, you have replied with handwaving, telling me “catamarans work and ships work” and the like.

    Dearest anna, I am a sailor. I have sailed boats large and small around the planet. Do you think I don’t know that catamarans work? What I’m saying is that the design that they are proposing won’t work. I can tell you that Flettner rotors are not more efficient than wind turbines, that’s why we use wind turbines. I have given you the calculations showing that you need thousands of square metres of intercept area for a wind turbine to develop 200 kW, so obviously you will need more intercept area for Flettner rotors to develop 200 kW. And they are claiming it can be done with 175 square metres. I thought you were a scientist. RUN THE NUMBERS!

    You reply by telling me that you read somewhere that Flettner rotors are “ten times more efficient than sails”. Well, I doubt that, but even so, so what? They are not more efficient than wind turbines, and you’d need 5,500 square metres of those to get the power that they claim to need.

    Next, you say “The seeding effect works experimentally, when one sees the clouds over the ships routes. I do not think megajoules are being wasted in the exhaust of the ships engines.” I don’t think megajoules are being wasted either. I’m saying that their proposed power system won’t create the power that THEY SAY THEY WILL NEED. Not what I say they’ll need. The 200 kW that they say is required.

    Next, you say “the effect will be simulated by centrifugal pumps with small energy needs.” anna, that is handwaving. If you know that the energy needs will be small, give us the calculations. Show us the power requirements. Expose your numbers, you know, the data that you are using to make your claim. What figures have convinced you that the energy needs will be “small”, and how small will they be?

    Finally you claim that if I

    went at the car engine design the way you are going against this idea, you would be concluding it would never work. Controlled explosions in a chamber? Small finicky thingamajigs doing small finicky thngamajigs?

    I am against this because THE NUMBERS DON’T WORK OUT. Not because it is finicky. Not because there are small thigamajigs. I’m a seaman and a commercial fisherman, I know more about making small finicky things work in the middle of the ocean than you can imagine. That’s not the problem with this idea. The problem is that they have not done their homework. They have done what you have done, waved their hands and said “well, it looks like three Flettner rotors will power the whole thing”. Sounds nice, until you do the numbers and you realize that it will take about SEVENTY FIVE Flettner rotors to power the whole thing.

    Their numbers are wrong, not just a bit wrong, but wrong by orders of magnitude. To me, that’s a very, very bad sign.

    Now, you may think I’m wrong about the numbers. I have been wrong before, there’s more ways to do them wrong than to do them right. But you will not convince me that they are wrong by saying that Flettner rotors are more efficient than sails and that they’ll only need small centrifugal pumps and going on about finicky thingamajigs.

    anna, have you ever tried to use a trailing propellor to pull energy from a wind powered ship in the ocean? Because I have, and I can assure you, it is neither simple nor easy. The problem is that to get much power from the wind, you need to intercept a very large area … which makes your ship vulnerable if you can’t reduce that large area when a storm hits. That’s one of the main reasons that Flettner rotors are not used. Look at the ship in the head post, and imagine what a strong wind would do to it … and even with that huge, topheavy design there is nowhere near enough rotor area to get the energy that THEY, not I but they, say that they need.

    So again, let me make my plea. I put my numbers out here to be examined and shot down. If you think I’m wrong, show me the numbers.

    PS – Oh, yeah, you say:

    People are being killed with robot drones, so rotors and ships could be equally well programmed and controlled.

    If you think that because one technology can be automated all technologies can be automated, you haven’t thought things through. Automating an airplane for a few hours at a time in the clean, sterile, and highly predictable airborne environment is a very different problem from automating a wind-driven ship for months in the dirty, rough, unpredictable marine environment. When’s the last time you heard of an airplane getting a piece of abandoned net wrapped up in the propellors? How often do you think it will happen to the lovely underwater turbines of the ship design that these folks propose?

    Egads, save me from dreamers who have spent too much time in their ivory towers and behind their computers, and spent far too little time cursing and struggling under a boat to get a piece of old rope unwrapped from a propellor shaft … I’d be overjoyed if someone could automate that, but despite robot drones, it hasn’t happened yet and won’t for a long time.

  293. Willis Eschenbach says (May 13, 2010 at 12:19 am): “I’ve been thinking about numbers. For me, when I look at numbers in a variety of fields, I often have an innate sense of whether they are of the right order of magnitude, or whether they are obviously way out of line.

    After much thought about this ability, my conclusion is that I can do that because I didn’t have a calculator as a kid. I had a slide rule.”

    Oh man, that takes me back to my college days. Being a bio major, I never got as good with a ‘rule as my engineering friends, and never used more than a fraction of its capabilities. Fortunately in grad school the handheld electronic calculator came along to put me out of my misery. :-)

    The order-of-magnitude “reality check” is still good practice, though. It’a a good way to catch the GI before you get the GO.

    anna v says (May 13, 2010 at 8:29 am): “And as Julian Flood also says, the problem of AGW is political, and this is a cheap face saving idea for politicians to latch onto. You are doing a disservice to the community of thinking people by dismissing/ridiculing this out of hand so lightly.”

    It would be an even bigger disservice to put the CAGW dogma on life support. It needs to be killed dead, and buried; the sooner, the better. Then “thinking people” like Dr. Salter can apply their talents to real problems.

  294. The technical term is UAV, unmanned aerial vehicle or RPV, remotely piloted vehicle.

    Although technically these are drones they can fly on their own and they are still controlled by human operators on the ground. And that is a good thing because some of those UAV are actually called UCAV wich stands for Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle. For now its not a good idea, the idea that M$-UCAVSoftware 1.0 (SP2) might still have some bugs wich might result a Predator launching its hellfires prematurely.

    But controlling the seed ships by AI or a controller on the shore is only a minor detail in this plan.

  295. Am I missing something or does the original paper contain some very bad mistakes. As an engineer, this sure looks like some very high and mighty ivory tower scientific theorizing bull, where the basic numbers, something we down-low-in-he-dirt engineers worry about, are not adding up at all!!
      
    some extracts from the original paper

    http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/366/1882/3989.full

    “Abstract
    The vessels will drag turbines resembling oversized propellers through the water to provide the means for generating electrical energy. Some will be used for rotor spin, but most will be used to create spray by pumping 30 kg s−1 of carefully filtered water through banks of filters…”

    So here they say 30kg/s = 108 m3/h

    “5. Spray generation.
     Each rotor has a Grundfoss down-hole pump that feeds 17 m3 s−1 to a bank of eight filters with blister valves to allow any filter to be back-flushed.”

    All of a sudden the number changed to:
    17 m3/s = 61200 m3/h
    567 times more. ??

    How much power is required for this?  

    “7. Project costs.
    The vessels are expected to have a displacement of 300 tonnes and a plant rating of 150 kW.”

    ???

    Pump power:
    Ph = q ρ g h / (3.6 106)
    where
    Ph = power (kW)
    q = flow capacity (m3/h)
    ρ = density of fluid (kg/m3)
    g = gravity (9.81 m/s2)
    h = differential head (m)

    Ph = 61200*1030*9.81*30 / 3.6*10^6
    Ph = 5153 kW = 5 MW!!!
     
    And another issue:

    “5. Spray generation.
     A trash-grid made from titanium mesh will prevent jelly fish and plastic bags from jamming the pump. If it is fed with a current of 90 amps, it can also produce 2 ppm electrolytic chlorine to prevent biological growths.”

    what cleans the trash-grid? What removes the plastic bags, jelly fish, regular fish, crabs, seals and dolphins from the rack, in order to prevent the pump from cavitating and failing?

    But these are of course just details..

  296. Cloud seeding is not a proven technology. Else we would have had these installed in the Southwest US during the drought of the early 2000s.

    Cloud seeding works if you have clouds that are “seedable” to begin with. In China, clouds are intercepted by silver iodide and sulfide nanoparticle sprayers to prematurely unburden the water load before it does so later on, say on the windward of the next mountain range downfield.

    In the 1930-40s dust bowl, there was a famous cloud seeder, I forget his name. He would wait until the spring or summer season, best for thunderstorms. Then he would wait in the town, building up the apprehension and expectation of the townspeople. After a week or a day, when he would see a cumulus cloud formation that in his experience would produce rain, he would take off in his biplane. Attached to the wings were pyrotechnic “sparklers” that would make a lot of noise and smoke. He would ride up into the cloud and light the sparklers. A few times he would succeed, and his legend and desirability grew. He got very rich, and could produce first-hand testimony that he was a rain maker, and he did just that.

    I’m sure his brother was selling opium elixir as a cure-all for rheumatism, sunstroke and varicose veins!

    Summary: You have to have rain clouds to make it rain. If you don’t, it will rain anyway, later.

    One quick other point: if you have sufficient wind to putatively power this rotor, this Dr. Seuss machine, then the wind slightly above will be very brisk and knock down your plume back into the sea. If the wind is quiet enough to enable the plume to rise, by definition you have lost the wind power to drive the contraption.

  297. All this discussion of nautical matters reminds me of a scene when Edmind Blackadder hired a boat from Captain Rum. Enjoy:

    I wish I could find it, but there is yet another scene where Blackadder refers to the crew. Captain Rum replies, “Ahhh! There are two schools of thought when it comes to crews …”

  298. Stephen Salter, many thanks for your reply. You say:
    May 13, 2010 at 9:45 am

    It would save a great many electrons if contributors to this thread downloaded the paper on sea-going hardware published by the Royal Society and THEN did their calculations. But quickly, the power needed to spin Flettner rotors is between 5 and 10% of that needed to get the same thrust from a propeller. We are not pulling ourselves up by our own bootlaces. With expensive oil the Flettner system will come back. It failed because of the 1929 depression and very cheap bunker fuel.

    That doesn’t touch the real problem. The issue is that the size and number of Flettner rotors you propose is way too small to deliver the 200 kW you say you will need to run the cloudship. Please show us your calculations to support your claim that three 20 metre x 2.4 metre Flettner rotors will put out anywhere near that amount of power.

    Also, I don’t see how you can say that “But quickly, the power needed to spin Flettner rotors is between 5 and 10% of that needed to get the same thrust from a propeller.” If the wind is blowing say at 0.1 knots, obviously the power to spin the rotors is much, much larger than the power needed to get the same (near zero) thrust from a propellor. Your statement is meaningless without some specification of wind speed.

    The salt quantity needed for cloud nucleation is a tiny fraction of what is put into the atmosphere now by breaking waves: we just put it up with the very best size for nucleation and most will fall back in the sea before it reaches land. We need a small amount of surface tension energy to make a drop with a diameter of 0.8 microns. When it gets into the cloud it will take water from a typical 25 micron drop and so produce two 19 micron ones. These two have a greater reflecting area than the single 25 micron one. If these last goes on for 24 hours ( and the best estimate is about 60) the solar energy reflected is billions of times more than we needed to make the original 0.8 micron nucleus. Nature hates uneven concentrations and uses turbulence to spread things out evenly. The salt residues are moved to the clouds by turbulence in the marine boundary layer.

    I find this claim curious. You say that the:

    salt quantity needed for cloud nucleation is a tiny fraction of what is put into the atmosphere now by breaking waves: we just put it up with the very best size for nucleation

    What is the “best size for nucleation”, how do you know that is the “best size”, and what evidence do you have that natural processes are lacking in that size?

    The forces on spinning cylinders rise with the first power of wind velocity not the square as with sails.

    I don’t understand this. You are talking about the change in lift, not the change in overturning force. Lift indeed goes up linearly with wind speed. But the spinning cylinder merely separates the wind force into a lift component and a drag component. It cannot reduce the total force of the wind acting on the cylinder. So if you get a strong head wind or tail wind on your spinning cylinder, the heeling forces will be huge … how will the boat deal with that?

    The heeling moments on Flettner’s ships were much less that those on the bare rigging of the conventional sister ship. His first were made from steel and weighed one quarter of what they replaced. We can do even better with Kevlar and carbon fibre. The spacing of the trimaran amas is chosen to prevent capsize in a category 4 hurricane. The rotor head contain buoyancy to give recovery. If you can fly unmanned planes over Afghanistan you can have unmanned sailing ships in mid ocean.

    No, the existence of unmanned planes over Afghanistan means absolutely nothing about unmanned sailing ships. That’s a logical fallacy. As a long-time sailor, I can assure you that there are a host of problems sailing ships face that are never encountered by drones over Afghanistan. See my answer to anna just above.

    And once again, you have provided no numbers regarding your claims. Yes, Flettner’s ship may have had less windage than the sailing ships of his time, but the sailing ships of his time were square riggers with huge windage, so like the song says, “That don’t impress me much.” And where is the data for that claim?

    Let me be clear. What is needed to support your claims are calculations. Not apocryphal statements about ships that are no longer afloat. We need something that says “A Flettner rotor operating in a 15 knot wind puts out X watts per square metre of cross sectional area.” I have estimated an upper bound on this from wind turbine data. It shows that your three rotors are woefully inadequate. It show that you will need at least 75 Flettner rotors that are 20 metres by 2.4 metres to produce 200 kW average power. I have given the source of those numbers.

    Now, you say you need only three rotors … so show us your numbers that support that claim, and this question will be put to bed.

    Also, your claim that your ship will withstand a Force 4 hurricane tells me one thing … that you have likely never been in a Force 4 hurricane …

    In official reports ducks scored highly on almost every count. The problem is that the initial installation size has to be at least 60 MW which is too big a risk at this stage of development of wave energy. Once confidence has built up we will be glad to make the best use of our sea frontage.

    Thanks for that information, I always thought the ducks were a brilliant idea. Why does the initial installation need to be so huge? Why can’t a 10 kW plant be built, just to see if it will work and will survive the savage seas?

    I look forward to your calculations on the Flettner rotors. I’ve looked at them every way I can, and I can’t see how three rotors will produce 200 kW. I used to teach windmill construction and maintenance, and I have sailed extensively, so it is an area of great interest to me.

    All the best,

    w.

  299. “Robert says:
    […]
    But controlling the seed ships by AI or a controller on the shore is only a minor detail in this plan.”

    Yeah, that’s what my clients always say. In the end we also need some small box with which the user can control the entire installation, that can’t be that complicated, no? After all, it’s a fleet of huge ship, and the control stuff is only a few chips and maybe an Internet connection, right? Oh yeah, and some software.

    Fast, cheap, reliable. Pick any 2.

  300. Julian Flood says:
    May 13, 2010 at 3:10 am

    “They say in the article that it is extremely hard to determine if seeding works or not …
    We’ve been looking for evidence of it for years, so if it works, it’s not doing much, or we would be able to detect it.”

    Then I suggest someone look at
    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=37455
    Those tracks are being seeded by the tiny amount of CCNs pushed out by a ship’s engine. But no doubt the ship has immense pumps to boost its exhaust up to the correct height for the clouds to form*. Or something. Perhaps the pictures are of something else entirely, not CCN-mediated droplets at all. Let’s ignore data that disproves our thesis….

    For more fun pictures of this impossible-to-detect phenomenon, google “Nasa ship tracks.”

    No, the ships don’t have megapumps. But the CCNs from the ships are at a temperature of 1,000 degrees F or so, so they will rise thermally up to the upper levels. Are you proposing to heat the fine mist to that temperature?

    Can CCNs increase clouds? Sure, lots of things are possible … if the conditions are exactly right. Which is hardly any of the time. How do I know that? Because it is very rare to see a ship sporting a “contrail” of cloud. The vast majority of the time, they don’t sport a contrail of any kind.

    In addition, if you look at the ship tracks in the NASA photos, you see clouds in every one of the photos as well. Why? Because when conditions are right for ship tracks, they are right for clouds. As a result, we’re not going from clear to cloudy. We’re going from cloudy to slightly cloudier, with only a small change in the overall albedo. Here’s what NASA says about ships tracks:

    Ship tracks are a certain type of water cloud formed in the wake of ships under very specific criteria. First, a ship must produce very fine particulate matter in its exhaust. These small particles act as ’seeds’ (called cloud condensation nuclei) for clouds by attracting nearby water particles. Second, a ship must travel through an area of super-saturated air (air that is extremely humid). If the air isn’t humid enough, the seeds will not attract enough water to form cloud particles. Third, the air mass must be very stable. If the air wasn’t stable enough, the seeds would scatter throughout the atmosphere. Though they still might form cloud particles, they wouldn’t necessarily form in the wake of the ship, which is a requirement for being called a “ship track“.

    So unless the air is “super-saturated”, all of the CCNs in the world won’t make any difference at all …

  301. ” But the CCNs from the ships are at a temperature of 1,000 degrees F or so, so they will rise thermally up to the upper levels. Are you proposing to heat the fine mist to that temperature?”

    Willis, that is ridiculous. Are you seriously suggesting that the exhaust from a ship’s funnel (I bet they call them something much more hip like ‘stack’ nowadays) is at 1000 degrees? Next time you drive a diesel car, get out with the engine running and put your hand in the outflow from the exhaust. Note the lack of flesh turning black and crispy? That’s because it’s rather cool. Same with ships.

    However, let that be. Think of the natural system. When a wave breaks it makes CCNs. Unless the conditions are right those CCNs are little salt particles, dry little grains which weigh damn-all. They float in the air. This is within the area known as the boundary layer, where the wind (which has made the waves in the frst place) creates up and down draughts and mixes the CCNs up to the top of the layer which is generally about 2 to 3000 ft. Remember the lapse rate, 3 degrees per thousand feet. It gets cooler the further up. Relative humidity rises, a threshold is passed and the salt particle attracts water. A droplet forms. Note the lack of stacks, heat, pumps, human intervention. This is the way strato-cumulus clouds form. They do not, I repeat, do not need aids. It’s the way the boundary layer works.

    “In addition, if you look at the ship tracks in the NASA photos, you see clouds in every one of the photos as well. Why? Because when conditions are right for ship tracks, they are right for clouds.”

    Except that large patches, ‘right for clouds’ don’t actually have cloudiness. Why? Because they lack CCNs, they are ready to be triggered and, when a passing ship pushes out a tiny quantity of particles, a cloud forms. Not, you will note, at sea level where the particles are emitted (have you ever watched the exhaust from a funnel blow away across the sea I wonder, conspicuously failing to leap skywards as their red-hot temperature demands, or sniffed the effluvium of a passing destroyer a mile or more away?) but at the level required by the simple physics of droplet formation on a deliquescent particle at that temperature and humidity. Ship tracks neatly illustrate the way the natural processes mix CCNs, making the cloud at the level required by the physics. However, I’m ready to be educated. Perhaps a reader conversant with ship’s exhausts will chip in. Perhaps someone will even have pictures of diesel smoke rolling over the sea surface.

    “As a result, we’re not going from clear to cloudy. We’re going from cloudy to slightly cloudier, with only a small change in the overall albedo.”

    Yes! That’s why Professor Salter has told us that he needs only 1% change in reflectivity, not that he needs to make more clouds, new clouds, he just increases the albedo of local clouds by giving them more CCNs which increases their albedo by increasing the number of droplets. More CCNs = more droplets = smaller droplets = whiter cloud = more cooling. A cloud rich in CCNs is a whiter cloud. An ocean producing fewer CCNs for any reason will warm as the albedo of its cloud blanket falls. Fewer CCNs = bigger droplets = lower albedo.

    “So unless the air is “super-saturated”, all of the CCNs in the world won’t make any difference at all …”

    Except that the air inside the cloud is saturated — that’s why it’s a cloud — and the addition of more CCNs will spread the water around into smaller droplets. That’s how Slater’s cloud ships work.

    I bow to your experience of ships and stability, I know nothing about such things. I’ve been on a few ships, notably HMS Newcastle in the cold seas off the Falklands. If God had meant us to travel over the sea by boat he would not have invented Buccaneers. Or submarines.

    JF

  302. Willis

    At least you should add something to show that your conclusion in the main post above,

    what we have here is a non-viable non-solution to a non-problem. I wouldn’t want to comment either, especially since this non-solution will burn about 27 billion litres (about 7 billion US gallons) of fuel per year to supposedly “solve” the problem supposedly caused by CO2 from burning fuel …

    is a back of the envelope calculation of a different problem than the one proposed by Slater et al.

    From the thread it is clear that
    1)there is no crew
    2)mainly wind will be used for energy
    3)the natural circulation of the atmospheric content will be utilized so there is no need to lift thousands of tons to 3000 feet artificially.

    so all the fuel back of the envelope calculations in the post are irrelevant to the problem.

    You are asking me for numbers, and I do not have access to publications that would help me get numbers, even if I had the expertise to use them, which I do not. My searches end up behind pay walls. I can hand wave ideas, I can give links but not numbers calculated by me.

    I can do analogue well though.
    To dismiss out of hand that robots can work at sea is really not very wise. Of course there will be humans controlling the robots to deal with all that could possibly happen and a system of intervention, but robot systems do work and the modern wars show it.

  303. W. – I was awaiting a numerical response from the advocates of this proposal before commenting, but none has been forthcoming. I don’t know why, as

    actual numerical data

    on the performance of Flettner rotors is not hard to find.

    The reference suggests you need to be careful about using the actual cross section of a Flettner rotor in calculations as if it were the cross section of a traditional sail or wing. Flettner rotors don’t work via the same mechanism and apparently have an effective cross section approximately seven times their actual cross section.

    While I haven’t crunched the numbers this suggests that your calculation on the power produced is probably off by a factor of seven. Not enough to redeem the proposal though.

    As to why Flettner rotors are not used in windmills to replace windmill arms, a brief consideration of the torque involved in rotating a spinning Flettner rotor about one end suggests the most likely reason. The strain on the bearings would be immense.

  304. Ian H
    thanks for the link:

    http://www.rexresearch.com/flettner/flettner.htm

    The only actual numbers are that the assisting motor is of 10 horsepower
    and the claim that the output of the rotor is 1000 horse power.

    If one horsepower is 750 watts, 1000 is 750.000watts
    which gives that machine designed in 1926 almost a megawat.

    Another reference speaks of twice that .

    BUT it is just numbers and I do not see how they are calculated so am not further ahead.

    ,

  305. Well, lets get some numbers.

    The energy of movement is E=mv^2/2

    The density of air is about 1.2 kg per cubic meter at 20 degree centigrade (lower if warmer, higher if colder, we’re in the tropics, remember)

    The ships have three rotors, each 20 x 2.4 meters.

    Lets assume that the rotors catch 100% of the wind energy (which is of course quite impossible). Since air has some (slight) viscosity let’s also assume (generously) that the effective area of each rotor is actually 20 x 3 meters. The total catchment area of the three rotors is then 3 x 20 x 3 = 180 m^2 (if wind is on the beam, that is, otherwise the rotors will be blocking each other)

    The whole system is supposed to work in a wind strength of 8 m/s. We then get:

    1,2 x (8)^2 / 2 = 38,4 Ws per cubic meter of air. 8 cubic meter of air passing through each square meter of catchment area per second gives 8 x 38,4 = 307,2 W.

    3 x 20 x 3 = 180 square meters of catchment area

    Total energy 180 x 0.3072 = about 55 kW

    And this, remember, under wildly optimistic assumptions. And this is supposed to drive a 300 ton vessel through the water fast enough to power turbines to generate 150 kW?

  306. tty

    I do not think this calculation works for the rotors.

    from the link:
    http://www.rexresearch.com/flettner/flettner.htm

    On the other side of the cylinder, the opposite is true. The velocity of the wind combines with the velocity of the air layers next the cylinders, resulting in a decrease in pressure. On one side of the cylinder there is an increase of pressure, on the opposite side a decrease, so that there results a strong force from the stronger to the weaker pressure. This causes the ship to move forward.

    The magnitude of this effect, Mr Akimoff says, may be computed by multiplying the following quantities: the density of the air, the velocity of the wind, the peripheral or surface velocity of each cylinder, the circumference of each cylinder, and the height of each cylinder. In the case of the Buckau, considering the velocity of the wind at 40 feet/second, the forward thrust due to the moving cylinder would be 12,000 pounds. Actually, this would be reduced, on account of various losses, to the extent of 10 percent.

  307. DirkH says:
    May 14, 2010 at 4:51 am

    Thanks.
    Nasa, hm? Imperial units!
    No wonder they made a mistake in units and crashed a take off.
    feet per second and slugs per cu.
    They call radius b for goodness sake.

  308. @ anna v.
    You keep saying the same things in response to Willis’ questions for numbers.
    And now you added the statement that you do not have them.
    In my two previous posts I used the numbers in the original paper, and found some big mistakes. On top of that I showed that even without pumping the water to 3000 ft, you’ll need approx. 5 MW to force that amount of water through the filters and “atomizing mesh”. Also I showed that seawater systems need extreme measures to prevent clogging and failure.

    Are you just sticking your head in the sand?

    Why don’t you take everybody’s advice and do some homework, you are starting to sound silly, like a high and mighty scientist without a feel for reality.

  309. anna v says (May 13, 2010 at 9:22 pm): “I can do analogue well though.

    To dismiss out of hand that robots can work at sea is really not very wise. Of course there will be humans controlling the robots to deal with all that could possibly happen and a system of intervention, but robot systems do work and the modern wars show it.”

    Exactly. The US Navy, for example, routinely operates several hundred remotely controlled Flettner ships in the tropical pacific 24×7 for months at a time…oh, wait.

    BTW, another word for “analogy” is “model”. YMMV.

  310. Lance says:
    May 13, 2010 at 4:22 am
    you say
    So each pump does 33.000 m3/h, or approx 9.500 liters/s (same as these ships are supposed to do).
    To bring this enormous amount of water up to a pressure of about 2.5 bar abs., it requires an electromotor of approx 1,6 MW!

    in the reference you also give it says
    http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/366/1882/3989.full
    The vessels will drag turbines resembling oversized propellers through the water to provide the means for generating electrical energy. Some will be used for rotor spin, but most will be used to create spray by pumping 30 kg s−1 of carefully filtered water through banks of filters and then to micro-nozzles with piezoelectric excitation to vary drop diameter.

    Where did you get the 9500liters/second?

  311. anna v:

    You are mixing things up here. What is being mentioned in your citation is force, not energy. There is nothing magical about a Flettner rotor, it works by deflecting the airstream, just like an aircraft wing. In theory a wing can develop any amount of lift, if it just moves fast enough with a suitable incidence. In practice this does not work, you do not have unlimited power, the mechanical strength of the wing is limited and the airflow over the wing will break down at some point.
    The same constraints apply to a Flettner rotor. In the case we are discussing the three rotors will (theoretically) develop a force of about 3300 Newton for each rps (rotation per second) in the nominal case of zero altitude, 20 degrees centigrade and 8 m/s wind. In practice it will be less, since airflow is never ideal. How much less is impossible to say without a full-scale trial (no, you can’t simulate a thing like this in a wind tunnel, there is no way to simulate reynolds number, nor the deterioration of surface smoothness under operational conditions).
    Unfortunately there does not seem to be any data on what rotation speed is planned in the paper, but I should point out that friction will go up with the square of the rotational speed, while the force on the rotor is only proportional to the speed, so increasing the speed of rotation is ultimately self defeating, even if there were no mechanical constraints.

  312. @ Anna V
    From same paper:
    ““5. Spray generation.
     Each rotor has a Grundfoss down-hole pump that feeds 17 m3 s−1 to a bank of eight filters with blister valves to allow any filter to be back-flushed.”

    17 m3/s = 61200 m3/h
    567 times more.
    See my previous post

  313. Julian flood says: “Are you seriously suggesting that the exhaust from a ship’s funnel … is at 1000 degrees? Next time you drive a diesel car, get out with the engine running and put your hand in the outflow from the exhaust.”

    OK Julian, 1000 degF is too high, but why don’t you try grabbing the exhaust manifold and tell us how you get on. I can guarantee the “flesh turning black and crispy” experience you mention.

    So – into the real world and onto figures. We can refer this to the real experts – like Finnish ship engine manufacturer, Wärtsilä.

    In the following sheet you will see mention of 784 degF engine outlet temperature:

    http://www.energysolutionscenter.org/DistGen/AppGuide/Manf/Wartsila.htm

    Not good to stick your hand into that.

    Where economics and space allow, is is preferable to pass the exhaust gas through a waste heat recovery boiler to raise superheated steam and improve overall cycle efficiency. An example in this sheet:

    http://www.wartsila.com/Wartsila/global/docs/en/ship_power/media_publications/brochures/product/waste-heat-recovery-wartsila.pdf

    Exhaust gas temperature is lowered to 166 degC. Still no place for hands!

    Why not lower the exhaust gas even further? As I mentioned above, it’s essential to stay above dew point to avoid condensation, acid formation and corrosion. But there is still work to do in getting those gases aloft, so the gases need to be hot enough for plume buoyancy.

    Oh yes – that reminds me – no answer to my suggestion that we simply seed to thousands of plumes which reliably and effectively raise vast volumes of gas into the middle atmosphere every day. So why spend £bn on fancy ships?

    Or is that an awkward question when papers have already been published?

  314. Ship’s Stacks used to leave trails of Smoke… clearly, those streamed BEHIND the ship. Nonetheless, SOMETHING caused a disturbance high above.

    Custer’s lonely Hill offered a view down a Valley that showed, ON PHOTOs, a disturbance high over where 2 highways cross today — which, being where a Supply Steamboat was on HIS day, implied that when Custer saw the smoke, he HAD TO keep Sioux Lookouts off THAT HILL – – even with smelly dead bodies. Yuck. Lest the Sioux see, and move to find a Treasure trove of ammunition on the ship. At least, that was my theory. To be seen 20 miles off, it had to rise HIGH.

    Clearly, various Particulates rise … e.g. SMOG … heat may help, but air also Diffuses things. Ship’s stacks are typically many feet wider than the engine outlet, cutting the temp-over-ambient by 10 times or more. Lest the Paint be melted off the Stack. So they are NOT high-temp … but … still ARE warm. Is it heat or Vapor Pressure driving the results ?

    I think we will only find out if enough of it floats 3000 feet up … by actually trying. Which is why they are building a Test.

    PS: And what of the Arctic ?
    Modern Icebreakers steam backwards & use Propellor action to shape the Ice around the ship into a teardrop flow– so the Ice breaks itself up. No props here. Any ideas ?


  315. shows the normal picture one expects. If one googles ‘ship smoke’ there are pictures of all sorts of behaviour, but few of three thousand foot columns powering up to the inversion layer. Mostly it’s a blob of smoke drifting idly away — ie what you normally see.

    Some idea of how easy it is to make clouds can be seen by googling ‘windmills sea mist’. The first hit is an article which shows how the small stirring of a windfarm can create sea mist a couple of hundred feet thick. How gratifying that windmills really do cool the Earth, albeit using a different mechanism than that normally proposed. Your tax dollars at serendipitous work.

    If the windmill/fog phenomenon is predictable then we could experiment with it. I’d love to be out there with twenty gallons of olive oil and a speed boat, with Cessna 150 photographic top cover.

    JF

  316. Jordan says:
    May 14, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    Oh yes – that reminds me – no answer to my suggestion that we simply seed to thousands of plumes which reliably and effectively raise vast volumes of gas into the middle atmosphere every day. So why spend £bn on fancy ships?

    Or is that an awkward question when papers have already been published?

    There are a lot of geoengineering proposals.

    An old suggestion is to mimic volcano outputs with all planes jetting around so the contrails by adding aerosols .

    The problem is that what would be added, sulfur and such, would not be easily removed if suddenly a real volcano blew up or somehow the ice age started coming in real. It takes years for aerosols to settle.

    I have not heard of adding salt to the contrails, that would also be non destructive and removed with the first precipitation.

    We are discussing the feasibility of this proposal. The fixed stacks and the boats that already exist do not optimize the distribution as a controlled robotic setup would to cover larger areas. And again you would have the problem of the extra energy/fuel needed to create and spew the salt spray.

  317. Oh, dear dear.

    I can see why prof. Salter stopped responding.

    Lance says:
    May 14, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    @ Anna V
    From same paper:
    ““5. Spray generation.
    Each rotor has a Grundfoss down-hole pump that feeds 17 m3 s−1 to a bank of eight filters with blister valves to allow any filter to be back-flushed.”

    17 m3/s = 61200 m3/h
    567 times more.
    You are good at arithmetic, grant you.

    Also in picking random numbers in order to make a point.
    Each rotor has a Grundfoss down-hole pump that feeds 17 m3 s−1 to a bank of eight filters with blister valves to allow any filter to be back-flushed. Norit X-flow filters have an excellent record for pre-filtration in reverse osmosis desalination plant (van Hoof et al. 1999). A trash-grid made from titanium mesh will prevent jelly fish and plastic bags from jamming the pump.

    In my dictionary, flushing means instantaneous or at most a few minute use of pumps.
    You calculation assumes hours. The pumps may need megawatts for continuous usage, but will only be used for flushing and the instant power.

  318. Dr. Joel Norris of the Scripps Institution gave an excellent presentation to the Fermilab colloquium this week, and I’ll post the video when Fermilab has it on their site.

    To summarize his thoughts, nearly all of the IPCC models did not agree at all with the observations of clouds, there are many deficiencies in measuring cloud cover, and nobody knows what the hell all this means.

    This is a good overview of his thoughts….I’d cool it on the “man-made clouds” stuff until we have a better handle on what the effect would be. There’s a pretty good chance that the lower clouds would just make warming worse.

    http://meteora.ucsd.edu/~jnorris/reprints/PacCloudFeedback.pdf

    Science 325, 460 (2009);
    Amy C. Clement, et al.
    “Observational and Model Evidence for Positive Low-Level Cloud Feedback”

  319. Charles Wilson says: ” Lest the Paint be melted off the Stack. So they are NOT high-temp … but … still ARE warm.”

    The manufacurers have already spotted that problem. The painted stack (funnel) you see is an outer shell. The hot ducting is protected from the elements and runs inside the funnel. Here’s a good example:

    Julian: “few of three thousand foot columns powering up to the inversion layer”

    Yes it gets windy out at sea, and that can cause the exhaust emissions to be blown nearly sideways. The mixing and dispersing plume can get back down to sea level, but the idea is still to get as much of the plume to head upwards, and there really is no othere way to do it. (Ever wondered why land-based industrial complexes have very tall stacks? And therefore you rarely have the experience of smelling their emissions?)

    anna v says: “We are discussing the feasibility of this proposal. The fixed stacks and the boats that already exist do not optimize the distribution as a controlled robotic setup would to cover larger areas. And again you would have the problem of the extra energy/fuel needed to create and spew the salt spray.”

    Here is a photo of the type of thing that goes on around the globe every single day:

    There are thousands of similar locations around the globe – so there is already a way to manage distribution using what we have sitting on the ground today. No need to send massive automated vehicles adrift one the open seas.

    These machines are designed to move massive volumes of gas high into the air. On volume flow alone, they have the capacity to transport much more CCNs aloft than 10 tonnes per second of brine.

    I don’t know anything about cloud seeding or its effectiveness, but I would not expect a small dosing plant to add much to cost.

    Spending £bn on designing and then building these ships will consume a lot of energy. As Willis says, the sea is a harsh environment, so there would be ongoing money energy expenditure in repair and maintenance. And we’d also need to consider losses – even the manually operated ships occasionally get into difficulty and end up either sinking or washed up on a shore somewhere.

    If prof. Salter stopped responding, at least he can say that he heard it here first.

  320. Anna, where do you see time in the pump power calc? Time is irrelevant for power (watt).
    Wether you pump 61200 m3/h @ 3 bar for one second or three hours, you still need 5 MW to do it.

    And why would you need 61000 m3/h to flush a filter designed for 180 m3/h?

  321. @ Anna:
    Apologies, 108 m3/h (30 kg/s) of course, not 180.

    maybe we read this sentence differently:
    ““5. Spray generation.
     Each rotor has a Grundfoss down-hole pump that feeds 17 m3 s−1 to a bank of eight filters with blister valves to allow any filter to be back-flushed.”

    I read that *the blister valves* are what allow backflushing, not the 17 m3/s.
    You probably read that 17m3/s is used for the flushing.
    But I think they mean that the 17 m3/s goes through the eight filters and on to the atomizing mesh, hence the chapter name “Spray generation”.

    I cannot imagine needing 567x more than normal flow for backflushing a filter -there is the arithmetic again, and by the way thanks for the compliment! ;-)

    so which is it, 108 m3/h of water sprayed into the air, or 61200 m3/h (17m3/s, which is at least orders of magnitude closer to the 10 ton/s Willis’ post mentions)?

  322. Sorry one more thing:
    Anna, u asked @ 12:19h:

    “Where did you get the 9500liters/second?”

    That was from my first post describing the pumps in the cooling water system I described, which produce a flow in the neighborhood of the 10.000 liters/s Willis mentions.

  323. Lance says:
    May 15, 2010 at 3:47 am

    The implication of your statement was that they needed this power continuously, because you confused it with the power necessary to produce the spray.

    One can get a lot of power for small intervals, in various ways.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grid_energy_storage
    For example in Puerto Rico a system with a capacity of 20 megawatts for 15 minutes

    And why would you need 61000 m3/h to flush a filter designed for 180 m3/h?

    Your vacuum cleaner should tell you. You need a lot of power to pull up fluff, for a short interval.

    If the nozzles are clogged, blowing with a powerfull reverse flow will clean them. It is called flushing.

  324. Lance

    It is the context, the context:

    http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/366/1882/3989.full
    A weakness of the micro-nozzle approach is that particles much smaller than a nozzle can form an arch to clog it. Fortunately, the need to remove viruses from ground water for drinking purposes has produced a good selection of ultrafiltration products that can filter to a better level than is needed. Suppliers guarantee a life of 5 years provided that back-flushing can be done at the right intervals. Each rotor has a Grundfoss down-hole pump that feeds 17 m3 s−1 to a bank of eight filters with blister valves to allow any filter to be back-flushed. Norit X-flow filters have an excellent record for pre-filtration in reverse osmosis desalination plant (van Hoof et al. 1999). A trash-grid made from titanium mesh will prevent jelly fish and plastic bags from jamming the pump. If it is fed with a current of 90 amps, it can also produce 2 ppm electrolytic chlorine to prevent biological growths.

    Electrical energy for spray and rotor drive will be generated by a pair of 2.4 m diameter axial-flow turbines on either side of the hull as shown in figure 10. These are very much larger than any propellers needed for a vessel of this size but can act as propellers for 10 hours in windless conditions using energy from a bank of Toshiba SCiB batteries.

    This whole thread makes want to quote my swallow story, so I will:

    The Swallow

    When God created the swallow, a migrating bird that winters in Africa, He started to show him how to build his nest. He showed how to make small mud balls with his tongue and how to gradually build up the nest; but He was interrupted just before reaching the point where He started to show the swallow how the nest should get covered and have a roof. The swallow, half paying attention flexing its wings and ready to fly off swiftly after juicy flies and mosquitoes said “OK, OK, I know, I know” and flew away.

    That is why swallows’ nests are only half built and they have to be under a roof or an outcropping. The swallow never had the patience to listen to the end of the demonstration.

    As so many people on this thread.

  325. @anna:
    Besides the backflush error:
    All the referenced news articles mention that each ship can suck up 10 tons/s. For instance:
    http://inhabitat.com/2010/05/10/bill-gates-announces-funding-for-seawater-spraying-cloud-machines/
    “Silver Lining’s floating machines can suck up ten tons of water per second.
    If all goes well, Silver Lining plans to test the process with 10 ships spread throughout 3800 square miles of ocean. Even if that goes well, the technology has a long way to go before it can significantly alter the climate — a recent study showed that it would it take 1,900 ships at a cost of over $7 billion to stop Earth’s temperature from rising.”

    All references, except for the paper, which mentions 30kg/s for each ship. Which makes sense given the 150 kW statement in same paper.

    ok, so 300 ships are needed (30kg/s each) to get 10 tons/s into the air.
    Does that mean that the 1900 ships required to “stop Earth’s temperature from rising” only spray 63 tons/s into the air (0,05% of the annual rain fall in tropical waters), which is supposed to stop AGW?

  326. Industrial self cleaning backwash filters used in large cooling water systems need 5% of normal flow for backwashing purposes, for a couple of minutes at regular intervals.
    56.700% backflush flow does not make any sense, sorry.

  327. Lance,

    Please read the link you provided, and see that the objective is not to increase rain.

    The objective is to increase albedo by 1%, because a 1% change in albedo=reflectivity-of-clouds will cancel the energy supposedly produced by a doubling of CO2. They believe that they can do it with their proposal, and have numbers for condensation nuclei. Look at fig2.

    Right in the abstract:
    and so will increase the cloud albedo to reflect solar energy back out to space. If the possible power increase of 3.7 W m−2 from double pre-industrial CO2 is divided by the 24-hour solar input of 340 W m−2, a global albedo increase of only 1.1 per cent will produce a sufficient offset. The method is not intended to make new clouds. It will just make existing clouds whiter.

    The objective is to increase albedo by 1%, because a 1% change in albedo=reflectivity-of-clouds will cancel the energy supposedly produced by a doubling of CO2. They believe that they can do it with their proposal, and have numbers for condensation nuclei. Look at fig2.

    What is this thread, a bad tutoring session?

  328. anna: “One can get a lot of power for small intervals, in various ways.”

    Large scale energy storage incurs significant losses. You’ll struggle to get above 85% turnaround efficiency. But you’ll do a lot worse than that if other factors force the design down certain technology routes.

    A good deal of the above discussion concerns how to make the whole concept work from very limited available energy. A key design objective is to avoid conversion of energy from one form to another because it will always cause your limited energy supply to leak away. Suggesting energy storage for surges of power is not exactly going to help in that respect.

    If transporting CCNs into the middle atmosphere is such a good idea, what’s wrong with dosing the plumes of the power stations and indutrial complexes we already have all over the place? They are not going to dissapear anytime soon – unless we completely give up our way of life.

    Or is there something that will not work in dosing these plumes? If if there a problem with dosing industrial plumes, will it still work for a mist of brine, drawn and filtered from the sea?

    For various reasons, Willis is basically correct – this is a bad solution to a non-problem. Why continue to discuss it and run into to yet more impracticalities.

  329. Jordan says:
    May 15, 2010 at 9:24

    For various reasons, Willis is basically correct – this is a bad solution to a non-problem. Why continue to discuss it and run into to yet more impracticalities.

    Because Willis is basically not correct, that is why. His post solves a different problem, it is not examining the proposal under hand.

    I suppose I am naive but I expected the readers of this blog to easily avoid running after red herrings and to be able to separate the wheat from the chaff of science.

    Yes, CO2 is a non problem. All geo engineering proposals are solutions to this non problem that have to be weighted against the damage of cap and trade for the western civilization. If you have world governments believing in Apollo and taking decisions according to oracles you will not be able to change their decisions by denigrating the oracles. You have to support the oracular sayings that do the least damage.

    Let me recapitulate.
    I think that the proposal as seen in http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/366/1882/3989.full
    has merit and is worth building a prototype of, because of the small expense relative to the billions wasted on AGW studies, and because it is innocuous, i.e. non permanent with respect to the environment.

    To have a major skeptics blog come out on a witch hunt against it , running after red herrings at that, is not constructive for what should be the future aim of all thinking scientists: avoid cap and trade, wait it out until the PDO convinces people that there is no A in GW.

    I think this is my last on this.

  330. Dear Anne,
    I keep trying to make you look at the basic numbers.
    You completely ignore all of my last comment and instead focus only on my comparison of the sprayed amount to the annual rainfall (which I only added so as to put the number into perspective and give it some meaning in the real world). 

    And you follow it up with a arrogant childish insult:  “What is this thread, a bad tutoring session?”
     I never said that rainfall increase is the goal!
     
    Please respond to the numbers I addressed. Cause up to now it seems that you are not very proficient in practical engineering, you seem like a theoretical person to me. 

    Therefore I *will* respond to your last comment by asking you a question about something you probably are proficient in (judging by your fervent defense of this plan and the nature of your other comments):
    How much seawater needs to be put in the air in order to change albeido 1%?
    -10 ton/s per ship and 1900 ships = 19000 ton/s, as stated by them,
    – or 30 kg/s per ship and 1900 ships, as stated by… well, them!  
     

  331. anna

    “this non problem that have to be weighted against the damage of cap and trade for the western civilization … You have to support the oracular sayings that do the least damage.”

    You made that point earlier, but you play into the hands of the AGW lobby. It will only appear to confirm the groupthink and I can only see C&T as more likely as a result, not less.

    There is no waste of money and resources to be justified by bad ideas. Let’s leave that argument for others to make – the day will come when they will stand in the court of public opinion. Didn’t Phil Jones speak on how it feels to play a starring role in that particular arena.

  332. Lance says:
    May 15, 2010 at 6:19 am

    you said

    All the referenced news articles mention that each ship can suck up 10 tons/s. For instance:
    http://inhabitat.com/2010/05/10/bill-gates-announces-funding-for-seawater-spraying-cloud-machines/

    and repeat it in

    Lance says:
    May 15, 2010 at 11:19 am

    How much seawater needs to be put in the air in order to change albeido 1%?
    -10 ton/s per ship and 1900 ships = 19000 ton/s, as stated by them,
    – or 30 kg/s per ship and 1900 ships, as stated by… well, them!

    Are you really serious?

    It is the paper that needs be referenced and has the true proposal of the authors. News articles have no scientific validity. It means that the news writer made the same mistake you and Willis are making in trying to fast read a scientific proposal.
    http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/366/1882/3989.full

  333. “Yes it gets windy out at sea, and that can cause the exhaust emissions to be blown nearly sideways. The mixing and dispersing plume can get back down to sea level, but the idea is still to get as much of the plume to head upwards, and there really is no othere way to do it. (Ever wondered why land-based industrial complexes have very tall stacks? And therefore you rarely have the experience of smelling their emissions?) ”

    I can only repeat this so many times before it gets tedious. Natural processes over the sea will disperse the CCNs throughout the boundary layer. There is no need to shoot them out at high velocity, there is no need to heat them to high temps or to include them in a high temperature gas plume. Nature will do it for you. Any calculations which expect high power consumption because of the problem of getting the particles up to 3000 ft are in error. I can think of no way of saying that clearer.

    anna v says: “We are discussing the feasibility of this proposal. The fixed stacks and the boats that already exist do not optimize the distribution as a controlled robotic setup would to cover larger areas. And again you would have the problem of the extra energy/fuel needed to create and spew the salt spray.”

    What anna says.

    “Here is a photo of the type of thing that goes on around the globe every single day:

    There are thousands of similar locations around the globe – so there is already a way to manage distribution using what we have sitting on the ground today. No need to send massive automated vehicles adrift one the open seas.”

    Except a) stratocumulus cloud forms over the sea, the sea is where the clouds are, if you want to alter the cloud albedo you have to go to where the clouds are and alter the albedo in situ. b) There is no point in making CCNs where the cloud aren’t. It doesn’t matter if the stacks are amazing, if they shoot particles up to the stratosphere, if they consume megawatts of power in the process, what they do is irrelevant. They do something different from the cloud ships and the experience does not read across. c) The only way you can make a cloud whiter is to have a cloud to start with.

    The Salter cloud ships do not make clouds, they alter the albedo of existing clouds by feeding them extra CCNs. Extra CCNs work by stealing water from other droplets in an already-existing cloud. Two droplets have increased albedo compared with one droplet when they share their water and that is how Salter’s ships produce their effects. If you are trying to make clouds from scratch then you are looking at the wrong problem. Satler’s cloud ships are cloud-modifying machines, they are not cloud making machines.

    “These machines are designed to move massive volumes of gas high into the air. On volume flow alone, they have the capacity to transport much more CCNs aloft than 10 tonnes per second of brine.”

    But they are in the wrong place. The right place is in the large areas of the ocean surface which are almost permanently covered with low level stratocumulus cloud. This cloud has the ideal characteristics to be modified by a vanishingly-small weight of salt, provided that salt is divided into billions of tiny particles. The object of the exercise is not to make the clouds rain, it is to make them whiter. If you make the droplets in a cloud smaller they will be whiter and also less likely to rain. Since most of the new droplets will go back to the sea in short order (20 to 60 hrs IIRC) then the effect will be self-limiting — as soon as the cloud-modifying ship is switched off the cloud whitening effect will start to decay and in three days it will be gone.

    “Julian: “few of three thousand foot columns powering up to the inversion layer”
    Yes it gets windy out at sea, and that can cause the exhaust emissions to be blown nearly sideways. The mixing and dispersing plume can get back down to sea level, but the idea is still to get as much of the plume to head upwards, and there really is no other way to do it. (Ever wondered why land-based industrial complexes have very tall stacks? And therefore you rarely have the experience of smelling their emissions?) ”

    There is no need to shoot upwards the plume of CCNs from Salter’s cloud-modifying ships. As they disperse from the rotors they will mix with the turbulent air (it is necessarily turbulent within the boundary layer because that is the definition of the boundary layer). The boundary layer is a layer of turbulent air next to the surface and is generally two or three thousand feet thick. It is within this layer that the low level clouds which cause cooling when modified are to be found. 30% of the oceans are covered by boundary layer cloud. Boundary layer clouds of the right structure for Salter’s cloud-modifying technique to work on them are rarely found over land. They are, however, frequently found at sea and, because Salter’s cloud-modifying ships are mobile they can be moved to optimum areas to increase the albedo of an area which is ripe for albedo increase. This is the advantage of a mobile CCN-producing device.

    “k, so 300 ships are needed (30kg/s each) to get 10 tons/s into the air.
    Does that mean that the 1900 ships required to “stop Earth’s temperature from rising” only spray 63 tons/s into the air (0,05% of the annual rain fall in tropical waters), which is supposed to stop AGW? ”

    Yes. Once a politician has seen the figures (assuming he bothers to read them, which is not a given, of course, with a scientific proposal ) he will be amazed at how tiny a change of albedo will be enough to counter even the most pessimistic CO2 projection. From there it is a tiny step to wondering if other things (land use change, ocean pollution, soot on ice) might be a large part of putative global warming. He might even look at Palle/s figures of the increase and decrease of Earth’s albedo.

    You mention rainfall. It is not about rainfall. Salter’s cloud-modifying ships are not designed to increase rainfall, they are designed to add CCNs to clouds which already exist. These clouds will grow whiter when the added CCNs increase the number of droplets in the cloud. More and smaller droplets are less likely to cause rain and may well make the cloud more persistent, which might be a bad thing over land but over the sea, where the plankton do not need rain and prefer dispersed light, might actually be an advantage.

    “If transporting CCNs into the middle atmosphere is such a good idea, what’s wrong with dosing the plumes of the power stations and indutrial complexes we already have all over the place? They are not going to dissapear anytime soon – unless we completely give up our way of life. ”

    Salter’s cloud-modifying ships are not designed to transport CCNs to middle altitudes. All they are designed to do is to release CCNs into the boundary layer where natural turbulence will mix them throughout the layer. The layer is about three thousand ft thick and tiny particles like the CCNs produced by Salter’s cloud-modifying ships will be naturally dispersed by turbulence, so there is no need to try to boost the particles at all. This same effect, mixing throughout the layer by natural turbulence, occurs when a wave breaks and releases natural CCNs which are exactly the same sort of CCNs as are released by Salter’s cloud-modifying ships. Salter’s proposal is to add extra CCNs to that process.

    “To have a major skeptics blog come out on a witch hunt against it , running after red herrings at that, is not constructive for what should be the future aim of all thinking scientists: avoid cap and trade, wait it out until the PDO convinces people that there is no A in GW.”

    My hope is someone will finally do the science on what we are doing to the CCNs in the boundary layer. Noziere’s paper on bacterial surfactants being used to make rain over rain forests is a guide to the direction research should take. If light oil/ surfactant pollution of the ocean surface produces droplets more ready to coalesce and fall out then we are already doing the opposite of what Salter’s ships are supposed to do. By how much has surface pollution lowered the Earth’s albedo? The VOCALS website has some information on cloud physics which is interesting.

    “I think this is my last on this.”*

    “How much seawater needs to be put in the air in order to change albeido 1%?
    -10 ton/s per ship and 1900 ships = 19000 ton/s, as stated by them,
    – or 30 kg/s per ship and 1900 ships, as stated by… well, them! ”

    The latter! By golly, I think he’s got it! Read Salter’s original paper again, it will all become clear with that revelation in mind. Your problem is that you expect albedo manipulation to involve much power, huge machines, trillions of dollars. Abandon that mindset: think of a two-stage amplifier and imagine that you are only required to input the first, tiny, signal.

    JF
    *Touch red! (If I’ve got that right. Snap! if I haven’t.) I can only say the same thing so many times….

  334. Julian Flood: “There is no need to shoot them out at high velocity, there is no need to heat them to high temps or to include them in a high temperature gas plume.”

    Can we all therefore agree that Salter’s ships are a poor concept.

    Julian: “Except a) stratocumulus cloud forms over the sea, … etc.”

    Just to be clear, I do understand that the object of the exercise is to whiten clouds by injecting additional CCNs into the atmosphere (more than mother nature appears to be able to achieve on her own).

    Now, on locational matters. The coast is a favourable location for many “smokestack” indusries for a variety of reasons. If very close the sea, cooling towers may be avoided, but there will still be a stack for combustion emissions – so there is still a very powerful plume.

    But cooling towers are still common place, even for facilities next to the sea. And therefore even more capacity to transport CCNs aloft.

    When the wind blows offshore, these locations should be able to get CCNs heading to where you say they need to be. And that would help to avoid the technology leap proposed by Salter.

    Certainly, the wind may not always blow offshore for a given location. But there are many such locations around the globe, and that opens the way to a mechanism to handle the optimisation question – CCN dosing could be targetted towards the most favourable sites at any time. We would not then need the technology leap to automated ships.

    These industrial facilities are not going to stop any time soon. They offer a free conveyor belt to the high atmosphere for CCNs – one which should be used if it cannot be ruled out for very good reasons. And that includes the no-small matter of a few £bn to build 300 ships.

    Julian: “But they [smoke stack industries] are in the wrong place.”

    Do you have references to show that your claim is comprehensively established? Is a coastal location with offshore wind of no use whatsoever?

    Julian: “it is necessarily turbulent within the boundary layer because that is the definition of the boundary layer)”

    In my book (i.e. the engineering text book sitting next to me on my desk) the boundary layer is a region next to a body where friction is important, and where the distribution of flow is affected by boundary shear. Flow is laminar in the boundary layer. Beyond the boundary layer, flow may be laminar or turbulent. For thick boundary layers, there may be a region called the transition.

    Julian “You mention rainfall.”

    Not me.

    Julian: “Salter’s cloud-modifying ships are not designed to transport CCNs to middle altitudes. All they are designed to do is to release CCNs into the boundary layer where natural turbulence will mix them throughout the layer.”

    I agree that there will be a lot of mixing going on up there. I’m also happy to accept that it is the existence of CCNs in limited regions that is relevant (i.e. they may not do much good elsewhere). But what I also say is that plumes from industrial complexes looks like a much more effective way of getting more CCNs (more than mother nature appears to be able to manage on her own) into the atmosphere than these ships.

    I think your closing comments relate other posters, not me.

    I will close by repeating that I think Willis is basically correct in suggesting that Salter’s proposal is a bad idea. I put forward another mechanism to transports CCNs, aloft – but only from the point of view that anything which helps to avoid wasting money on these ships has to be worth prior consideration.

  335. More Bad Numbers

    First, my apologies for not posting for a bit on this thread, I’ve been getting ready for the International Conference on Climate Change. I’m in Chicago now, with a few hours free.

    There’s another part of the numbers that I haven’t touched on. Stephen Salter quotes their paper above:

    “…. If the possible power increase of 3.7 W mK2 from double pre-industrial CO2 is divided by the 24-hour solar input of 340 W mK2, a global albedo increase of only 1.1 per cent will produce a sufficient offset. The method is not intended to make new clouds. It will just make existing clouds whiter. This paper describes the design of 300 tonne ships powered by Flettner rotors rather than conventional sails…..”

    This is true but misleading. Clouds currently reflect about 79 W/m2. So rather than a 1.1% increase in global albedo being required, global cloud albedo will need to increase by 4.7%.

    And like they say on TV, “but wait … there’s more”. The ships won’t cover the globe. I don’t find coverage figures in the paper, but the press reports say they plan to test this using one ship per 380 square miles.

    Is this number reasonable? Well, if you were sailing the good ship “Cloudbrightener” with its Flettner rotors and all, and they worked as claimed, maybe you’d get ten miles per hour out of it on average. That’s 240 miles per day, likely high, but we’ll use that. But it has these whacking great underwater turbines hanging off of it, and with those things sucking up most of the available power, you’d be lucky to get three miles per hour …

    Now, their paper says the effect will last for sixty hours, so each ship would be trailing a cloud brightening “flag” 180 miles long, and maybe a couple of miles wide. That’s 360 square miles, so the 380 square mile number seems reasonable. 1,900 ships time 380 square miles/ship is a total of almost three quarters of a million square miles.

    That sounds like a lot … but it is only 0.4% of the earth’s surface. Now remember that we need to increase the global cloud albedo by 4.7%. So how much do we need to increase the albedo of 4% of the earth’s surface to give us a global increase of 4.7%?

    I’m sure that you can see the problem. No matter how much we increase the albedo of 0.4% of the earth’s surface, even if we could paint it bright white, it wouldn’t be enough to do more than fractionally increase the global albedo. Average cloud albedo globally is about 23%. If we change 0.4% of that to having an albedo of 100%, the average cloud albedo increases by 1%, and we need a 4.7% increase. And of course, according to their figures, they can only increase the albedo by a theoretical maximum of about 10%. (This is slightly offset by doing it only in the tropics, where insolation is stronger.)

    Professor Salter’s paper figures it using total energy reflected, which in some ways is easier. They say that if we concentrate on the tropics, in the area where the effect is operating it will increase the energy reflected by about 30 W/m2. Seems high to me, but let’s use that. Total energy reflected by the clouds is about 79 W/m2. To offset a doubling of CO2, we’d have to increase that to 82.7 W/m2. So how much area has to be brightened by 30W/m2 to get the desired amount?

    If the percentage of the planet brightened is X, part of the planetary cloud cover is reflecting 79 W/m2, and part is reflecting 109 W/m2. So we get (all values in W/m2):

    79 times (1-X) + 109 times X = 82.7

    This simplifies to

    30 times X = 3.7

    Solving this gives us 12% of the globe that would need to be whitened … and as the TV says, “but wait, it’s worse”. Part of the time, conditions will not be favorable for the process to work. After all, you don’t see ships trailing plumes of clouds too often, you have to hunt through stacks of NASA photos to find the effect. Let’s be generous and say it works half the time …

    Which means we’d need to brighten the clouds over a quarter of the entire planet.

    Now, anna v. said above

    I can see why prof. Salter stopped responding.

    Well, I can’t. My first analysis was based on the press reports, because that’s all I could find. However, all of my later objections are based on Salter’s paper itself. I don’t see why he is declining comment, what does he gain by that? I believe in the numbers, and I simply don’t see them pencilling out. The albedo calcs are simply another example of the order-of-magnitude problems with the paper. If he has the numbers that say different, he should bring them out and show them to us. If he is right, I’ll be the first to admit it. But calculations using the figures from the Salter paper say that we will have to brighten more, and likely much more, than 12% of the planet … and you won’t do that with a couple thousand ships.

  336. Even More Bad Numbers

    My thanks to Ian H. who provided some actual numbers for the actual Flettner ship. He is correct that the equivalent area of the rotors is larger than the cross section, so my numbers of rotors were too large. However, that doesn’t come anywhere near rescuing the proposal.

    From that article, they say they sailed:

    “… 6200 miles across the Atlantic, using only 12 tons of fuel oil, as compared with 45 tons for a motor ship of the same size without rotors …”

    It’s a bit sketchy, since we don’t have actual numbers from the actual ship with no rotors to compare with. However, it appears that they saved some 33 tons (US) of fuel oil during the trip.

    Now, 33 tons (US) of fuel oil contains about 350,000 kWh of energy. However, a ship is not very efficient. The shaft efficiency in those days was about 30%, meaning that 30% of the energy in the fuel went to turning the shaft. And the propellor efficiency is about 50%, so the overall efficiency is about 15%. This means that the Flettner rotors provided about 52,500 kWh of actual propulsive energy during the trip.

    According to the article, the trip averaged 5.2 knots, so it took 1192 hours. This means that on average the rotors put out 52,500 kW-hours / 1192 hours = 44 kW instantaneous. This is the net figure of energy saved, so it is the energy in addition to the energy for the two motors that spun the rotors.

    The ship design shown in the Salter paper has three rotors, not two, and they are about the same size as the ones used in the original Flettner ship. This means that they might get maybe 75 kW out of them … but by their own figures, they need to get 150kW out of them, plus drive the ship …

    Now, to get 150kW of electrical energy out of a turbine, you need to put in more than that. Their paper, curiously, does not contain the word “efficiency”, but for low-head axial-flow turbines it runs on the order of 75% or so if the speed is varying (peak efficiency at just the right speed is higher). That means that they will need to use about 200 kW of wind power to get 150 kW from the turbines … plus the energy needed to move the ship itself.

    Now, underwater turbines are not new. In the East River off of New York, the current runs at up to four knots, so we’re in the right range. They are now testing six 35 kW underwater turbines there. How big are they? Well … 4.9 metres diameter, with a cross sectional area of 18.7 square metres. The size of the turbines in the Salter paper? The two turbines combined have an area of 9.8 square metres … so I don’t think they’ll get 150 kW out of them. There’s another 35 kW unit going into the Mississippi, with a picture here.

    Now look, folks, if it takes a turbine that size to produce 35 kW, and you need 150 kW, you need four of those plus a bit … me, I don’t think three Flettner rotors will come anywhere near providing enough power to drag that assemblage through the water at four miles per hour.

    Again, if Professor Salter has the numbers to contradict this, he should bring them up now. He has had one project scuttled by false numbers in the past, so if these numbers are incorrect, this is the time for him to give us the correct numbers. I admit when I am wrong, I’ve been wrong before. So let’s see the numbers.

  337. Willis Eschenbach says:
    May 16, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    This is true but misleading. Clouds currently reflect about 79 W/m2. So rather than a 1.1% increase in global albedo being required, global cloud albedo will need to increase by 4.7%.

    They are taking this into account.

    calculate an albedo of A(Z,  L, n)=0.495.
    to the new concentration of cloud drops will be 191 cm−3. This will make the new value of A(Z,  L, n)=0.584.

    That is close to 10%
    When I read it, I had the aha thought, that the tropical albedo is not the world albedo.

    That sounds like a lot … but it is only 0.4% of the earth’s surface. Now remember that we need to increase the global cloud albedo by 4.7%. So how much do we need to increase the albedo of 4% of the earth’s surface to give us a global increase of 4.7%?

    The intelligent cruising means going where the clouds are, so the actual question is:
    How much of the world cloud albedo is within their intelligent cruising grid. Proposed in fig4.

    If it is 50% and that would bring the change induced within your 4.7%.

    BTW do you have a link for the 79watts/m^2 albedo from clouds?

    For some reason, you are not being objective about this proposal.

  338. Continuing on albedo,

    http://www.atmos.washington.edu/~dennis/571_Cloud_Feedback_Notes.pdf

    Estimates from ERBE (Ramanathan, et al. 1989, Harrison, et al. 1990)
    showed that clouds approximately double the albedo of Earth from an estimated clear-sky value of 0.15, to its average value with clouds of 0.3.

    So it does seem that clouds add 0.15 to the average albedo, and the real values can go from very low, for low optical thickness, to 60%
    http://www.brockmann-consult.de/mapp/ATBD_Pdf/07_MAPP-ATBD-CACOT.pdf

    An additional reason for the grid being over the ocean is that snowed up land and ice have high albedos, which will be masked when clouds are there, whereas the ocean has low albedo, from 1 to 10%.
    http://www.climatedata.info/Forcing/Forcing/albedo.html

  339. anna v, thank you for persevering with your honest questioning.

    May 16, 2010 at 9:57 pm (Edit)

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    May 16, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    This is true but misleading. Clouds currently reflect about 79 W/m2. So rather than a 1.1% increase in global albedo being required, global cloud albedo will need to increase by 4.7%.

    They are taking this into account.

    I said that it was true but misleading.

    calculate an albedo of A(Z,  L, n)=0.495.
    to the new concentration of cloud drops will be 191 cm−3. This will make the new value of A(Z,  L, n)=0.584.

    That is close to 10%
    When I read it, I had the aha thought, that the tropical albedo is not the world albedo.

    That sounds like a lot … but it is only 0.4% of the earth’s surface. Now remember that we need to increase the global cloud albedo by 4.7%. So how much do we need to increase the albedo of 4% of the earth’s surface to give us a global increase of 4.7%?

    The intelligent cruising means going where the clouds are, so the actual question is:
    How much of the world cloud albedo is within their intelligent cruising grid. Proposed in fig4.

    If it is 50% and that would bring the change induced within your 4.7%.

    Not true. They are only able to cover a very small percentage of the planet, whether they cruise intelligently or not. That is the problem.

    BTW do you have a link for the 79watts/m^2 albedo from clouds?

    It is from Trenberth et al., Earth’s Global Energy Budget.

    For some reason, you are not being objective about this proposal.

    Dear anna, it is true that I don’t have a lot of patience with landlubbers pretending to know something about sailing, mea culpa. However, I am trying to be as objective as possible. They say that they can increase the albedo by 30 W/m2. I did the math above, it is very simple. The math shows that they need to alter the albedo of a minimum of 12% of the earth’s surface to get a 3.7 w/m2 increase in reflected sunlight. Even with intelligent cruising, that is obviously the theoretical minimum. Having done thousands and thousands of miles of sailboat cruising myself, I can assure you that many times the boats (for a host of reasons, due to both weather and cruising speed) will not be in a favorable area for cloud modification.

    This means that they will need to cover something more like 20% of the global surface or so … which at 380 square miles per cloudship means 100,000 ships … and using their figure of two million dollars per ship, that’s about $200 billion for ships alone. Objective enough for you?

    You keep saying I’m not being objective … please run the numbers yourself. I have shown that:

    1. They need to cover 20% of the globe with cloudships.

    2. Their Flettner rotor calculations are extremely optimistic. Remember that they need to move the ships as well as generate power. This will require on the order of 250 kW (200 kW to generate 150 kW of electricity, say 50 kW to move the ships). The rotors on the original Flettner ship, of nearly the same size, put out about 22 kW, so you’d need ten or so per ship, not three.

    3. Their underwater turbines are way undersized. They figure a cross sectional area of 9.8 metres will generate 150 kW. Real world actual underwater turbines to generate that amount have a cross sectional area of 75 square metres … you will need some real power to push that around the ocean. And since you can’t remove the turbines from the water, parasitic drag will be huge. As a result, the cloudships will take a long, long bout of cruising to get the the next location, no matter how intelligently planned.

    Now, I’ve given you the best numbers I can come up with. They are estimates, not exact figures, but are likely quite close to reality. That’s what I call being “objective”, facing the numbers squarely. If you or Professor Salter have better numbers, please bring them up. I calculate they need to increase the albedo, under theoretically perfect conditions (ships always in the right place, clouds always achieving a 30 w/m2 albedo increase), of 12% of the planet to achieve their objective. That means in the real world at least 20% of the planet will have to be covered, and very possibly more.

    If you find fault with my calculations, then I invite you to give me an objective calculation that shows something different. Until then, I’ll stick to my figures.

  340. It seems in their paper that they concentrate on the map “cells” which have an area of 7720km^2, about 20 times your estimated coverage area. Nevertheless they say”

    These crude engineering lumped calculations should be performed with the actual values at a representative sample of times for every cell that has not been excluded on grounds of being downwind of land with dirty air, upwind of drought-stricken regions or too close to busy shipping routes. The wind speed data for each cell should be checked to ensure that there is enough input power for, as will be developed shortly, wind energy provides the principal source for driving the vessels and creating the spray. With an efficient generator, the 30 kg s−1 flow rate will be reached at 8 m s−1 wind speed. If the nucleus lifetime was the longest estimate of 5 days (Houghton 2004), this would bring the concentration up to levels found over land and lead to much reduced effectiveness. Cells will be placed in rank order to see how many are needed to achieve any target cooling and either how many vessels should be put in each cell or how many cells should be treated by one vessel. Vessel movements can be planned by looking at the best-cell list for the next month.

    Bold mine. So, if it is possible for one vessel to treat many cells, the estimate of 380km^2 from the news releases is too low. You take a two mile width. But the vessel is moving perpendicular to the prevailing wind so in effect the width should be much larger , since the wind will be sweeping the swath released. Can that be the difference?

    You are right that they are not providing clear numbers for this.

    I found this for smoke dispersion :
    http://fire.nist.gov/bfrlpubs/fire99/PDF/f99159.pdf
    A calculation from static conditions.
    The swath in length is kilometers, and for the moving vessel in discussion, this would be continuous swaths released perpendicular to the wind.

  341. anna v says:
    May 17, 2010 at 9:41 pm (Edit)

    It seems in their paper that they concentrate on the map “cells” which have an area of 7720km^2, about 20 times your estimated coverage area. Nevertheless they say”

    These crude engineering lumped calculations should be performed with the actual values at a representative sample of times for every cell that has not been excluded on grounds of being downwind of land with dirty air, upwind of drought-stricken regions or too close to busy shipping routes. The wind speed data for each cell should be checked to ensure that there is enough input power for, as will be developed shortly, wind energy provides the principal source for driving the vessels and creating the spray. With an efficient generator, the 30 kg s−1 flow rate will be reached at 8 m s−1 wind speed. If the nucleus lifetime was the longest estimate of 5 days (Houghton 2004), this would bring the concentration up to levels found over land and lead to much reduced effectiveness. Cells will be placed in rank order to see how many are needed to achieve any target cooling and either how many vessels should be put in each cell or how many cells should be treated by one vessel. Vessel movements can be planned by looking at the best-cell list for the next month.

    Bold mine. So, if it is possible for one vessel to treat many cells, the estimate of 380km^2 from the news releases is too low. You take a two mile width. But the vessel is moving perpendicular to the prevailing wind so in effect the width should be much larger , since the wind will be sweeping the swath released. Can that be the difference?

    Anna, many thanks for the numbers. But you are missing the elephant in the room. To do the brightening they propose, regardless of cell size, they will need to brighten about 20% of the world’s surface. Call me crazy, but I just don’t see covering that area, no matter what cell size they use.

    w.

    PS – the paper says:

    Most of this information has now been collected, decoded, interpolated, unified and stored in a database as 6596 equal- area (7.72 x 10^10 m2) cells of a reduced Gaussian grid.

    By my calculation, that’s 77,200 square km. per cell, not 7,720 per your figures. Perhaps a single ship can double the cloud brightness of 30,000 square miles (77k sq km) or even more of clouds, as they speculate … but I kinda doubt it …

  342. Here are some world cloud amounts from
    http://bbso.njit.edu/Research/EarthShine/literature/Palle_etal_2006_EOS.pdf

    Lets take from this that 50% of the earth is covered in clouds on average
    If we can go where the clouds are, that makes your 20% into 10% of the globes area.
    If we can change 10% of cloud cover albedo, that would go to world albedo 1.5 percent since clouds contribute 15% of the 30% albedo of the earth. They aim at a change of 1% to overcome the the CO2 supposed effect, so considering that ocean is 70% and most clouds are over the ocean and that the ships will move in the tropics where heat input is larger, the numbers in watts may well be working out.

    So the question for me is if a ship can really cover with spray output one of their cells of 7700km^2.
    If it can then 1900 ships will do, since there are 6000 something cells over the ocean.

    In any case, I do not think there is a CO2 problem, but the ship is an intriguing proposal and one prototype should be built and tested. It will be like a fire extinguisher, there if necessary. An innocuous precautionary principle.
    By the time this is done maybe we will be looking at geo engineering for heating the earth :) in case of the ice age coming. Like mirrors in space to increase sunshine.

  343. Anna v. — your favorite, adding to Planes’ exhaust — is an old Lovelock favorite. Yes, Mr. Green Himself. For a Decade he has wanted SOMETHING built, & kept in Reserve, so if things started Changing, we had an alternative to:

    Everybody dieing.
    … I guess People are part of Gaia, too.

    PS: It’s easy to REVERSE Cooling: — lots of SOOT will warm the Arctic. Just turn off the Coal Plant Scrubbers.
    Example: The high Soot years in Greenland Ice were 1900-1920, explaining the Low Ice of 1922. Soot is figure 3’s “BC” (Black Carbon)
    http://www.pnas.org/content/105/34/12140.figures-only

  344. Charles Wilson says:
    May 19, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    In case of “the ice age cometh”, soot would work if there is sun to shine on the snow.
    If there is extensive cloud cover around the poles and lower, where the snow is, this will not make a difference.
    Another version of “it is the clouds, ….” .

    It needs a lot of study to know what to do against the sure prophecy of an ice age, but people are running like Chicken Little to stop a small increase in temperature they should be grateful for.

  345. I haven’t read all the responses but I am inclined to think that a high-tech solution is not the right answer. So what is? Well, I suggest planting billions of trees on a worldwide scale, in all countries. Trees transpire, which involves taking up water thru their root system and literally pumping it out into the air to stay cool. This adds moisture to the atmosphere. Furthermore, trees can create a microclimate, where crops can be planted under their canopy. Their roots bind the earth together, preventing the formation of dust bowls and deserts. And they give fruit, nuts, timber and other valuable products. What a gift of God! I have planted approx. 900 trees in my life, even though I have no land of my own, and I’m not in the business. If we are serious about cooling the planet, let’s get planting! Throwing multiple billions at a high-tech solution is a white elephant.

  346. James Rayner says:
    May 22, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    2 things, firstly the ships would be wind powered, so no fuel costs…
    secondly, they would be unmanned, so no crew requirement…
    (Salter et al. 2008)

    I have discussed both of these specious claims above at length. Repeating the claim makes it no stronger. Provide numbers if you don’t believe mine.

    Take a read of this paper:
    http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/366/1882/3989.full

    That’s the paper we have been discussing since the start.

    To have been published in a peer reviewed journal suggests reasonably strong support to their conclusions regarding the projects feasability…

    You have a vastly overinflated idea of the thoroughness and meaning of peer review. For example, Richard Horton, the editor of the prestigious and peer-reviewed medical journal The Lancet, said:

    The mistake, of course, is to have thought that peer review was any more than a crude means of discovering the acceptability — not the validity — of a new finding. Editors and scientists alike insist on the pivotal importance of peer review. We portray peer review to the public as a quasi-sacred process that helps to make science our most objective truth teller. But we know that the system of peer review is biased, unjust, unaccountable, incomplete, easily fixed, often insulting, usually ignorant, occasionally foolish, and frequently wrong.

    In other words, the fact that the paper passed peer review means nothing about whether it is a practical, feasible program.

  347. anna v says:
    May 18, 2010 at 11:01 pm (Edit)

    Here are some world cloud amounts from
    http://bbso.njit.edu/Research/EarthShine/literature/Palle_etal_2006_EOS.pdf

    Lets take from this that 50% of the earth is covered in clouds on average
    If we can go where the clouds are, that makes your 20% into 10% of the globes area.
    If we can change 10% of cloud cover albedo, that would go to world albedo 1.5 percent since clouds contribute 15% of the 30% albedo of the earth. They aim at a change of 1% to overcome the the CO2 supposed effect, so considering that ocean is 70% and most clouds are over the ocean and that the ships will move in the tropics where heat input is larger, the numbers in watts may well be working out.

    If clouds constantly covered half the planet and never moved from there, your point would be correct. Then we could just go where the clouds are.

    But clouds don’t do that, they appear and disappear. So we can’t just concentrate on some mythical area which is always covered by clouds. We have to cover 20% of the planet’s surface if we want to affect 20% of the planet’s clouds.

    So the question for me is if a ship can really cover with spray output one of their cells of 7700km^2.
    If it can then 1900 ships will do, since there are 6000 something cells over the ocean.

    Once again, the numbers are worse than that. Their 6,000 cells cover the entire ocean. But their numbers giving a 30 W/m increase are based on tropical insolation, which is higher than the global average. So if you are talking about the globe, we’d need more than 20% coverage.

    There’s another problem that I hadn’t considered. It turns out that most of the CCNs over the ocean are not sea salt as I had assumed. From Nature Magazine:

    The major source of cloud-condensation nuclei (CCN) over the oceans appears to be dimethylsulphide, which is produced by planktonic algae in sea water and oxidizes in the atmosphere to form a sulphate aerosol Because the reflectance (albedo) of clouds (and thus the Earth’s radiation budget) is sensitive to CCN density, biological regulation of the climate is possible through the effects of temperature and sunlight on phytoplankton population and dimethylsulphide production. To counteract the warming due to doubling of atmospheric CO2, an approximate doubling of CCN would be needed.

    This raises three new problems. The first is that phytoplankton produce these CCNs in response to temperature and sunlight. If you cut down the temperature and sunlight, you’ll reduce the number of natural CCNs, which will warm the earth … like the old saw goes, “Nature always sides with the hidden flaw”.

    The second problem is that the ocean naturally produces about 1000 sea salt particles per square cm. per second. Over the area of a gridcell, this is about 7.7E17 particles per second.

    The Salter plan is for each ship to insert 30 kg of water per second in the form of 0.8 micron drops into the atmosphere. This is about 4.5E16 drops, leading to the formation of the same number of salt particles.

    Note that with one ship per gridcell, this is on the same order as the natural production of sea salt particles. Yet that number of natural particles only supplies a small percentage of the cloud nuclei … so doubling that number of particles cannot do more than double a small percentage of the cloud nuclei. The same natural phenomena that make it so that most of the sea salt crystals don’t make it up to the 3,000 foot level to form clouds, whatever those natural phenomena may be, will affect the injected salt particles as well. This means that the change in albedo will perforce be much smaller than the Salter calculations indicate.

    The third problem is that they say “To counteract the warming due to doubling of atmospheric CO2, an approximate doubling of CCN would be needed.” This agrees with the Salter calculation regarding the 30 kg/sec from the ships, which approximately equals the natural production of sea salt crystals. They think that would double the number of CCNs.

    But this means we’d need a doubling of CCN over the entire ocean surface, not just 10% or 20% of the oceans, but the entire surface. And remember that sea salt crystals are only a small part of the CCNs, so we can’t just use 30 kg/sec. We’d need to use much more water, and over the entire ocean surface …

    So for all of these reasons, I hold that this proposal is eminently impractical, and that the numbers are out by orders of magnitude.

  348. FURTHER PROBLEMS

    Well, there’s more troubles for the proposal. Salter et al. identify a variety of areas where they think that the scheme might work. These are mainly in the tropics, and so they propose putting their ships in the tropics.

    I found a very interesting study entitled Automatic detection of ship tracks in ATSR-2 satellite imagery. It uses computer detection of ship tracks to see where the phenomenon is actually occurring. Here are the results:

    As you can see, the phenomena is very limited spatially. You would think that this is because the most ships are in those areas, but the paper shows that this is not the case. That’s just where the conditions are right for the phenomenon. The total area where the tracks are occurring is about 10% of the earth’s surface … which means that it will take a very large change there to make a difference to the world.

    But wait, there’s more. In addition to being limited spatially, the effect is also severely limited by season. Seven months out of the year there are almost no ships tracks. Eighty percent of the tracks occur during the period between April and August. This means that for more than half the year there is little point in doing the cloud seeding.

    The combination of spatial and temporal restrictions reduces the effective area where the effect may work to only about 5% of the planetary surface. To change the global albedo by 3.7 W/m2, we’d have to change the albedo of that area by 75 W/m2 … and that seems beyond belief. That’s a huge change in albedo, even Salter’s very optimistic figures show a change in albedo of 30 W/m2, less than half of that. Not going to happen, in my opinion.

  349. Well, Willis,

    You are determined to see the glass 9/10ths empty, whereas I am determined to see it 2/10ths full :).

    The map is interesting, but for sure there would be similar regions in the southern hemisphere, and there there are no ship lanes. I do not buy the “they say it is not so”. Certainly I would need a map of the tracks of the planned routes of ships and the frequency and size etc to be convinced, not by a simple handwave, that what is being displayed is what happens where there are enough ships to leave tracks.

    Lets leave it at this. In any case my defense has to do with using this solution tactically until nature takes over and makes null and void any worry about AGW.

  350. Kelly Wanser has a history of making bold statements on behalf of other people, most recently as CEO of ColdSpark, where she frequently put completely fabricated customer quotes on public facing materials. This sounds exactly like what she’s done here.

  351. I cannot believe this is a serious scientific endeavor! In the natural world when our sun heats up the earth and the oceans the naturally cleanse the saline water to fresh water into clouds! Now they, are proposing to pump SALT water into the atmosphere? Never in the history of our earth has this happened!!!! What would be the outcome? Just imagine a saline cloud dumping salt water over the Amazon jungle!! Or the Congo! Or your back yard! We would in a sense be killing off all green plants on this EARTH. Are they insane? Has anyone thought of what would happen if this was to become a reality?

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