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 …

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David L
May 12, 2010 2:37 am

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!!!!!!

David L
May 12, 2010 2:40 am

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

wayne
May 12, 2010 2:51 am

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.

brokenhockeystick
May 12, 2010 2:57 am

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

Capn Jack
May 12, 2010 2:59 am

Aaargh,
Coises foiled agin.

May 12, 2010 3:01 am

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.

FergalR
May 12, 2010 3:04 am

“$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.

May 12, 2010 3:05 am

What could possibly go wrong with such a brilliant plan?
Wait ’til the pumps try to ingest the Midgaard Serpent — then watch out…

RayB
May 12, 2010 3:10 am

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?

Jack Simmons
May 12, 2010 3:13 am

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?

spangled drongo
May 12, 2010 3:15 am

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

May 12, 2010 3:21 am

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.

May 12, 2010 3:21 am

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

May 12, 2010 3:22 am

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

Merrick
May 12, 2010 3:23 am

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.

Vincent
May 12, 2010 3:28 am

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

RockyRoad
May 12, 2010 3:31 am

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).

Atomic Hairdryer
May 12, 2010 3:31 am

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.

Jimmy Haigh
May 12, 2010 3:40 am

You couldn’t make it up.

dr.bill
May 12, 2010 3:42 am

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

GrantB
May 12, 2010 3:43 am

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

Joe
May 12, 2010 3:45 am

This seem to remind me of something…oh ya, the carbon capture technology.

Jane Coles
May 12, 2010 3:49 am

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.”

tty
May 12, 2010 3:50 am

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.

Paul Bahlin
May 12, 2010 3:55 am

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?

May 12, 2010 3:56 am

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.”

jmrsudbury
May 12, 2010 3:57 am

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

May 12, 2010 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.
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.

Mike Davis
May 12, 2010 4:01 am

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.

May 12, 2010 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.
[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.]

Alan the Brit
May 12, 2010 4:10 am

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?

Wally
May 12, 2010 4:14 am

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?

Chris
May 12, 2010 4:15 am

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…

May 12, 2010 4:16 am

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.

derise
May 12, 2010 4:16 am

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?????

H.R.
May 12, 2010 4:18 am

“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.

Jon
May 12, 2010 4:26 am

Not good for surface sealife … airborne plankton?

oldseadog
May 12, 2010 4:31 am

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.

toby
May 12, 2010 4:32 am

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

cba
May 12, 2010 4:35 am

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?

Zoltan Beldi
May 12, 2010 4:42 am

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 ?

May 12, 2010 4:43 am

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:
http://www.msuapartmentsblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/blue-screen-of-death.jpg

Michael D Smith
May 12, 2010 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.

May 12, 2010 4:47 am

Can we call it liberal wealth redistribution? Not a bad idea really.

Curiousgeorge
May 12, 2010 4:50 am

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.

899
May 12, 2010 4:51 am

“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!

May 12, 2010 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.
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!”

t . f . p .
May 12, 2010 5:10 am

Sea-going hardware for the cloud albedo method of reversing global warming
http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/366/1882/3989.full.pdf+html

Ian H
May 12, 2010 5:12 am

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.

Brent Hargreaves
May 12, 2010 5:14 am

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.

Tom in Florida
May 12, 2010 5:15 am

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.

Pat
May 12, 2010 5:16 am

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.

Bruce Cobb
May 12, 2010 5:20 am

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

Bill S
May 12, 2010 5:24 am

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.

Erki
May 12, 2010 5:24 am

For 40 billion $ they could build a ~15 000MW solar PV plant…

RockyRoad
May 12, 2010 5:29 am

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.

May 12, 2010 5:29 am

3800 square miles, Willis, not 380.
[snip… 5 sentences of snark deleted. ~dbs, mod.]

Holger Danske
May 12, 2010 5:38 am

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…

May 12, 2010 5:38 am

40 comments, and nobody used it yet. Here goes.
“Great, now he wants to BSOD the whole planet”

Pressed Rat
May 12, 2010 5:40 am

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

Erik
May 12, 2010 5:42 am

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!

Eddie
May 12, 2010 5:42 am

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.

David Schnare
May 12, 2010 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.

Enneagram
May 12, 2010 5:48 am

The problem is that those droplets are not ionized as water droplets in clouds. For a more crazy idea:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/31252283/Electric-Tree

Speed
May 12, 2010 5:48 am

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.

kwik
May 12, 2010 5:53 am

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

Enneagram
May 12, 2010 5:55 am

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.

Les Francis
May 12, 2010 5:55 am

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”

hunter
May 12, 2010 5:56 am

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

marco
May 12, 2010 5:58 am

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!!

hunter
May 12, 2010 5:59 am

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.

May 12, 2010 5:59 am

[snip… 5 sentences of snark deleted. ~dbs, mod.]
Five sentences of snark in response to a post filled with snark… Willis is tougher than that, mod

H.R.
May 12, 2010 5:59 am

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)

AnonyMoose
May 12, 2010 6:04 am

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.

Jeff L
May 12, 2010 6:05 am

Nice analysis. As they say …. “Do the math …. “

TK
May 12, 2010 6:06 am

Cloud seeding has already been tried in some cases with disastrous results, massive snowstorms in China for one. It’s possible but incredibly dumb…so might as well laugh at the idea… http://www.scienceinseconds.com/video.php?vId=91&tId=

Pamela Gray
May 12, 2010 6:07 am

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?

May 12, 2010 6:07 am

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.

JS
May 12, 2010 6:07 am

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

Ian H
May 12, 2010 6:07 am

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.

Brendan
May 12, 2010 6:08 am

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!

Editor
May 12, 2010 6:10 am

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.

Theo
May 12, 2010 6:11 am

Isn’t water vapour a more effective “greenhouse gas” than CO2???

anna v
May 12, 2010 6:17 am

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

May 12, 2010 6:20 am

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.

Editor
May 12, 2010 6:24 am

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.

Agust
May 12, 2010 6:26 am

“…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…

Henry chance
May 12, 2010 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.

May 12, 2010 6:28 am

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.

Gail Combs
May 12, 2010 6:33 am

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.

OkieSkeptic
May 12, 2010 6:33 am

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.

Diesel
May 12, 2010 6:34 am

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.

R. de Haan
May 12, 2010 6:37 am

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.

Bill Thomson
May 12, 2010 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!

Tony
May 12, 2010 6:40 am

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 ?

Jim Clarke
May 12, 2010 6:40 am

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).

John Innes
May 12, 2010 6:46 am

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.

May 12, 2010 6:46 am

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.

Tilo Reber
May 12, 2010 6:46 am

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.

Gail Combs
May 12, 2010 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.

Clive
May 12, 2010 6:56 am

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

May 12, 2010 6:56 am

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.

May 12, 2010 6:56 am

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.

Gail Combs
May 12, 2010 7:03 am

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.

May 12, 2010 7:06 am

@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 ….

BlondieBC
May 12, 2010 7:07 am

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.

anna v
May 12, 2010 7:11 am

There are no pumps
People please read the links I provided in
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/05/12/every-silver-lining-has-a-cloud/#comment-388079
before getting on the bandwagon.

Don B
May 12, 2010 7:12 am

Just the plan to cool the planet is already producing results. Boulder, Colorado, home to many warmists, had a record snowfall for the date.
http://www.dailycamera.com/news/ci_15067279#axzz0nixcklxU

Xi Chin
May 12, 2010 7:12 am

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?

BlondieBC
May 12, 2010 7:14 am

“”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.

An Inquirer
May 12, 2010 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 . . .

Editor
May 12, 2010 7:19 am

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?

Gail Combs
May 12, 2010 7:21 am

#
#
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.

BlondieBC
May 12, 2010 7:22 am

“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.

May 12, 2010 7:25 am

Hmmmm.
I approve of this scheme. May I recommend a vendor? I have had great … er … success with ACME.

May 12, 2010 7:26 am

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.

Admin
May 12, 2010 7:27 am

Willis, one word describes this project.
FAIL
As a popular website says, “send in the FAILBoat”.

Matt
May 12, 2010 7:27 am

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.

Clive
May 12, 2010 7:35 am

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

Milwaukee Bob
May 12, 2010 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?
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!

bubbagyro
May 12, 2010 7:38 am

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.

Milwaukee Bob
May 12, 2010 7:41 am

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…

Ralph
May 12, 2010 7:42 am

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.
.

Douglas Dc
May 12, 2010 7:43 am

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!”….

björn
May 12, 2010 7:43 am

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.

Dave
May 12, 2010 7:45 am

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

bubbagyro
May 12, 2010 7:46 am

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.

May 12, 2010 7:48 am

A fool and his money are soon parted….

Milwaukee Bob
May 12, 2010 7:49 am

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.

Tom T
May 12, 2010 7:52 am

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.

May 12, 2010 7:53 am

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.

polistra
May 12, 2010 7:53 am

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.

Anu
May 12, 2010 7:54 am

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.

Tom T
May 12, 2010 8:02 am


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

R. Craigen
May 12, 2010 8:04 am

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.

May 12, 2010 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

vigilantfish
May 12, 2010 8:05 am

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.

Adrian
May 12, 2010 8:05 am

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.

May 12, 2010 8:08 am

Man, money is so easy! Damn my scruples!!

May 12, 2010 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.
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.

Henry chance
May 12, 2010 8:13 am

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.

David Schnare
May 12, 2010 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.
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.

May 12, 2010 8:24 am

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.

Henry chance
May 12, 2010 8:25 am

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.

jcl
May 12, 2010 8:27 am

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

May 12, 2010 8:28 am

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?

CodeTech
May 12, 2010 8:29 am

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…

George E. Smith
May 12, 2010 8:31 am

“”” 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.

Enneagram
May 12, 2010 8:33 am

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

fxk
May 12, 2010 8:35 am

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?

David Schnare
May 12, 2010 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.

George E. Smith
May 12, 2010 8:39 am

“”” 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 !

Enneagram
May 12, 2010 8:40 am

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.

May 12, 2010 8:41 am

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

May 12, 2010 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.

Tommy
May 12, 2010 8:43 am

Who would secure this fleet from pirates? Factor in some navy to the costs.

snork
May 12, 2010 8:47 am

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.

George E. Smith
May 12, 2010 8:48 am

“”” 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.

David Schnare
May 12, 2010 8:50 am

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.

PeterB in Indianapolis
May 12, 2010 8:51 am

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.

Fred from Canuckistan
May 12, 2010 8:51 am

So Bill Gates thinks that ship design is seaworthy.
Judgment like that explains Vista.
It is all clear now.

May 12, 2010 8:54 am

I’m tired of winter. The greenhouse gas geoengineering scheme is not working.

sdcougar
May 12, 2010 8:56 am

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]

George E. Smith
May 12, 2010 8:58 am

“”” 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 ?

Jeremy
May 12, 2010 8:59 am

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

Kevin G
May 12, 2010 9:03 am

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.

Drew Latta
May 12, 2010 9:06 am

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.

Jim G
May 12, 2010 9:09 am

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.

Jack Simmons
May 12, 2010 9:16 am

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.

Feet2theFire
May 12, 2010 9:19 am

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?

Ulric Lyons
May 12, 2010 9:21 am

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

bubbagyro
May 12, 2010 9:23 am

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.

May 12, 2010 9:27 am

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

bubbagyro
May 12, 2010 9:30 am

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.

BJ
May 12, 2010 9:31 am

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?

Ulric Lyons
May 12, 2010 9:32 am

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

Booty
May 12, 2010 9:39 am

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!!!

May 12, 2010 9:42 am

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.

Booty
May 12, 2010 9:44 am

Ha ha ha CodeTech. Just read your comment. Seems like we’re on the same page here.

Kevin G
May 12, 2010 9:47 am

@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.”

May 12, 2010 9:51 am

Some people here appear to have money invested in this project…

May 12, 2010 9:52 am

Boffins want to curb climate change by building a $7bn fleet of 1,900 ships to crisscross the oceans as each sucks up ten tons of seawater per second and blasts it a kilometer into the sky to create clouds to absorb sunlight and cool the earth.

Bill Gates chucks cash at climate cooling cloud creator $7bn nautical chill pills

RockyRoad
May 12, 2010 9:52 am

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.

Jimmy Haigh
May 12, 2010 9:57 am

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…

May 12, 2010 9:58 am

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.

TJA
May 12, 2010 10:00 am

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

Ulric Lyons
May 12, 2010 10:03 am

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?

Al Gore's Holy Hologram
May 12, 2010 10:08 am

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.

kdk33
May 12, 2010 10:12 am

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

maz2
May 12, 2010 10:15 am

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/

Kevin G
May 12, 2010 10:18 am

The Blue Screen of Death – a Clear Sky!

Flask
May 12, 2010 10:18 am

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.

LarryOldtimer
May 12, 2010 10:24 am

“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.

Bruce Cobb
May 12, 2010 10:31 am

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.

HankHenry
May 12, 2010 10:33 am

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.

CRS, Dr.P.H.
May 12, 2010 10:35 am

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.

Dell from Michigan
May 12, 2010 10:38 am

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.

anna v
May 12, 2010 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 ,
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.

wayne
May 12, 2010 10:41 am

It’s raining poor little fish !!! And look over there, there goes a dolphin !!!

Julian Flood
May 12, 2010 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.
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.

Glenn
May 12, 2010 10:45 am

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?

Patrik
May 12, 2010 10:50 am

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

Gary Hladik
May 12, 2010 10:54 am

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.

kdk33
May 12, 2010 10:59 am

“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?

R. Gates
May 12, 2010 11:01 am

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…

John Galt
May 12, 2010 11:11 am

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.

Curiousgeorge
May 12, 2010 11:15 am

#
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”. 😀

PJB
May 12, 2010 11:22 am

“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……

a dood
May 12, 2010 11:25 am

“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!

ZT
May 12, 2010 11:25 am

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’.

blackwatertown
May 12, 2010 11:31 am

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.

blackwatertown
May 12, 2010 11:33 am

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.

Mike A.
May 12, 2010 11:33 am

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. 🙂 !!

bubbagyro
May 12, 2010 11:34 am

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.

Jordan
May 12, 2010 11:38 am

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?

Enneagram
May 12, 2010 11:45 am

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

Jim G
May 12, 2010 11:46 am

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?

May 12, 2010 11:49 am

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!

CRS, Dr.P.H.
May 12, 2010 11:49 am

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?

ML
May 12, 2010 11:51 am

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

May 12, 2010 11:52 am

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! :^)

Enneagram
May 12, 2010 11:56 am

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.

Gail Combs
May 12, 2010 11:58 am

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.

Stop Global Dumbing Now
May 12, 2010 12:01 pm

The imagination of a 6-year-old is a wondrous thing.

May 12, 2010 12:06 pm

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.

tty
May 12, 2010 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. 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.

Jordan
May 12, 2010 12:15 pm

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).

Henry chance
May 12, 2010 12:16 pm

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.

CRS, Dr.P.H.
May 12, 2010 12:16 pm

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/

Bruce Cobb
May 12, 2010 12:16 pm

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.

anna v
May 12, 2010 12:18 pm

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.

May 12, 2010 12:18 pm
Lokki
May 12, 2010 12:27 pm

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?

Jordan
May 12, 2010 12:28 pm

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)

manfredkintop
May 12, 2010 12:30 pm

..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

Common Sense
May 12, 2010 12:33 pm

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.

Tim Clark
May 12, 2010 12:37 pm

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

anna v
May 12, 2010 12:38 pm

Paragraph 5 of
http://www.see.ed.ac.uk/~shs/Climate%20change/Phil.Trans.%20Seagoing%20hardware.pdf
I should have said ” a conventional pump” for which you were calculating energy needs. It is all in the rotor package.

John Cooper
May 12, 2010 12:42 pm

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.

Feet2theFire
May 12, 2010 12:47 pm

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…

Eric Naegle
May 12, 2010 12:51 pm

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.

anna v
May 12, 2010 12:52 pm

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.

Enneagram
May 12, 2010 12:56 pm

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/

May 12, 2010 12:56 pm

If they ever start building these things, I’ll know exactly what company to sink my pennies into — Acme Deepwater Marine Salvage…

May 12, 2010 12:58 pm

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

Harry Lu
May 12, 2010 1:00 pm

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

bubbagyro
May 12, 2010 1:05 pm

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.

Philip Thomas
May 12, 2010 1:14 pm

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.

Greg
May 12, 2010 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”

CRS, Dr.P.H.
May 12, 2010 1:18 pm

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.

Feet2theFire
May 12, 2010 1:20 pm

@ 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.

Jim G
May 12, 2010 1:24 pm

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!

DavidQ
May 12, 2010 1:33 pm

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.

RockyRoad
May 12, 2010 1:48 pm

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.

Milwaukee Bob
May 12, 2010 1:52 pm

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.

Jordan
May 12, 2010 1:52 pm

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.

peter_dtm
May 12, 2010 1:54 pm

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.

DavidQ
May 12, 2010 2:04 pm

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.

Gail Combs
May 12, 2010 2:17 pm

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.

ML
May 12, 2010 2:21 pm

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

Big Al
May 12, 2010 2:27 pm

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