Climate Craziness of the Week: Global scale nanosphere nuttiness

Let’s see, what would we make those nano-disks out of? He says (see PNAS paper below):

Silica-alumina ceramic hollow microspheres with diameters of 1 μm. (aka 1 micron)

Do you think putting nano-sized silicon based pollutants into the atmosphere will go over well?  Silicosis anyone? From this report:

The micron-sized silica dust, which is ingested through the normal breathing process, coats the inner lining of the lungs (alveoli) and forms fibrous scar tissue that reduces the lungs’ ability to extract oxygen from the air.

Respirable particles, which are less than 10 microns in diameter, are invisible to the naked eye. They travel through the respiratory system, eventually depositing themselves in the air sacs (alveoli).

I’ll give him points though for saying geoengineering is “inherently imperfect”, but I think his “cure” is worse than the “disease”. Just have a look at the material safety data sheet (MSDS) for the 3M Zeeospheres he’s proposing (see link below) and you’ll see what I mean.

From a press release at the University of Calgary.

Stopping global warming

Mt. Pinatubo is an active volcano in the Philippines frequently studied by scientists. Photo credit: Courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey
Mt. Pinatubo is an active volcano in the Philippine's frequently studied by scientists. Photo credit: Courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey.

There may be better ways to engineer the planet’s climate if needed to prevent dangerous global warming than mimicking volcanoes, a University of Calgary climate scientist says in two new studies.

Releasing engineered nano-sized disks or sulphuric acid, a condensable vapour, above the Earth are two novel approaches that offer advantages over simply putting sulphur dioxide gas into the atmosphere, says Dr. David Keith, a director in the Institute for Sustainable Energy, Environment and Economy and a Schulich School of Engineering professor.

Geoengineering, or engineering the climate on a global scale, “is inherently imperfect,” says Keith, who is in the vanguard of scientists worldwide investigating the topic.

“It cannot offset the risks that come from increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere,” he says. “If we don’t halt man-made CO2 emissions, no amount of climate engineering can eliminate the problems—massive emissions reductions are still necessary.”

Keith suggests two novel geoengineering approaches—‘levitating’ engineered nano-particles and the airborne release of sulphuric acid—in two newly published studies, one he solely authored and the other with scientists in Canada, the U.S. and Switzerland.

Scientists investigating geoengineering have so far looked mainly at injecting sulphur dioxide into the upper atmosphere. This approach imitates the way volcanoes create sulphuric acid aerosols, or sulphates, that will reflect solar radiation back into space—thereby cooling the planet’s surface.

One advantage of using sulphates is that scientists have some understanding of their effects in the atmosphere because of emissions from volcanoes such as Mt. Pinatubo, Keith says.

“A downside of both these new ideas is they would do something that nature has never seen before. It’s easier to think of new ideas than to understand their effectiveness and environmental risks.”

In his study in the Proceedings of the National Academic of Sciences, a top-ranked international science journal, Keith describes a new class of engineered nano-particles that might be used to offset global warming more efficiently and with fewer negative side-effects than using sulphates.

In a separate new study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, Keith and international scientists describe another geoengineering approach that may also offer advantages over injecting sulphur dioxide gas.

Releasing sulphuric acid, or another condensable vapour, from aircraft would give better control of particle size, thereby reflecting more solar radiation back into space while using fewer particles overall and reducing unwanted heating in the lower stratosphere, they say.


I’ve located the PNAS article here:

here’s the section on “nanodisks”

The Cost of Engineered Particles. Is it possible to fabricate such particles at sufficiently low cost? Any definitive answer would, of course, require a sustained broad-based research effort. The following argument serves only to suggest that one cannot discount the possibility: Approximately 10^9 kg of engineered particles similar to the example described above would need to be deployed to offset the radiative effect of CO2 doubling.

Assuming a lifetime of 10 years, the particles must be supplied at a rate of 10^8 kg∕yr. A plausible upper bound on the acceptable cost of manufacture can be gained by noting that the monetized cost of climate impacts and similarly the cost of substantial reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are both of order 1% of global gross domestic product (GDP) (28). Suppose one demanded that the annualized cost of particle manufacture be less than 1% of the cost of abating emissions, that is 10−4 of the ∼60 × 1012 global GDP.

Under these assumptions, the allowable manufacturing cost is 60∕kg. Many nanoscale particles are currently manufactured at costs significantly less than this threshold.

Silica-alumina ceramic hollow microspheres with diameters of 1 μm (e.g., 3M Zeeospheres) can be purchased in bulk at costs less than 0.3∕kg. Moreover, bulk vapor-phase deposition methods exist to produce monolayer coatings on fine particles, and there are rapid advances in self-assembly of nanostructures that might be applicable to bulk production of engineered aerosols.

10^9 kg is one billion kilograms, or 1,102,311 short tons. I don’t have figures on how much silicon dust makes it into the air globally, but 1.1 million tons of silica nanospheres seems a bit hard to come by for a process. Cost may not be the biggest issue. Deployment and potential health effects are much bigger considerations.

LINK: Material safety data sheet (MSDS) for 3M Zeeospheres (PDF)

Here’s the company website:

Do I want these in the free air? Heck no.

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September 7, 2010 3:07 pm

“inherently imperfect”? What the hell is that supposed to mean? Sucking on a tailpipe is “inherently imperfect”, also. You might live thru it. What is wrong with these people?

Art Horn
September 7, 2010 3:13 pm

Exactly how would these nanodiscs be launched into the air? What is the cost of putting the requisite several million metric tons of these aloft? Would this not require a massive manufacturing and launching program which would mostly contribute further to the very problem the nanodisks are meant to cure? I believe that Pinatubo lofted about 30 million metric tons of debris into the higher atmosphere. This is many times what we have launched into orbit with all of the orbital launches from all earthly space programs. If you believe that industrial activity on this scale causes global warming then this project looks like a big loser. This is not considering the health risks of such particles.
Art Horn

Al Cooper
September 7, 2010 3:13 pm

Song lines come to mind…
“Why don’t we get drunk and screw”
“Lets do something cheap and superfical”
These people have no conception of “unintended” consequencies.

Steve Keohane
September 7, 2010 3:18 pm

Aside from being a generally stupid idea, the nano-particles should at least be an inert carbon compound, coming from that camp. I believe diamond can be vapor-depositioned.

September 7, 2010 3:19 pm

Thomas Fuller said:
“First, it should be obvious that the manipulation of the messages isn’t coming from scientists.”

September 7, 2010 3:27 pm

“What we need is a giant parasol, about 12,000km in diameter”, Prof. Balderick of [snip] University said yesterday.

September 7, 2010 3:29 pm

It depends in part on the type of silica they’re using. For example, crystalline silica is much more dangerous than amorphous silica. Size also matters. Particles larger than 10 microns don’t deposit in the lungs very well. Particles smaller than 100 nm pass through the epithelial/endothelial cell barrier and get absorbed directly into the blood stream, and can even cross the blood-brain barrier. Particles between 10 and 1 micron will deposit in the alveoli. If they are engineered correctly (size, shape, surface coatings, etc), they can be “eaten” by macrophages (white blood cells) and cleared from the body. If the size or composition is wrong, they can definitely cause silicosis, fibrosis, and other very nasty diseases.
There are numerous in vitro and animal model systems for testing the toxicity of inhaled particulates. Hopefully someone will think about testing these particles before deploying them. (Give me a grant and I’ll be happy to do it for them.)

September 7, 2010 3:31 pm

Silicosis or acid rain. That’s a great choice.
I’ll release some popcorn butter vapor and be prepared for the public discussion.

James Sexton
September 7, 2010 3:33 pm

nano disks and sulfuric acid……..what could possibly go wrong? Well, we might have real problems to talk about then…..

el gordo
September 7, 2010 3:36 pm

These geo-engineering ideas will all come to nought as global cooling takes over. Then we can return to the good old days of building the Bering Strait Dam to stop the ice drifting south into the Pacific.

Nick Stokes
September 7, 2010 3:38 pm

I don’t like these schemes either, but I think you’re exaggerating the safety aspect. The 3M sheet you linked sets the exposure limit at about 10 mg/m^3. A billion kg sounds like a lot, but even if it spread right through the atmosphere, it’s less than a microgram per m^3.
REPLY: That’s assuming a homogeneous distribution. As we’ve seen from other studies, concentrations of particulates don’t always distribute homogeneously, but sometimes “lumpily”. Bottom line: distributing something like this is a bad idea. If somebody wanted to do it for any other reason besides climate change it would be immediately denounced by greens worldwide. – Anthony

September 7, 2010 3:38 pm

David Keith has done it once again! This guy is out of control, and his institute is paid for by bored retired wealthy oilmen who have taken greening everyone else’s life as a pet project. This is UofC at its worse.

John M
September 7, 2010 3:39 pm

In addition to other issues, calling those silica particles “nano” is a bit of stretch.
Typically, nano is used to designate stuff less than a tenth that size, but what’s an order of magnitude among friends.
If only that were the only the problem with the paper…

September 7, 2010 3:40 pm

“Silicosis or acid rain. That’s a great choice.”
Don’t worry it will only affect “deniers”… that’s how he’ll try to sell it LOL

tom s
September 7, 2010 3:40 pm

Fools. What a bunch of dangerous fools.

September 7, 2010 3:40 pm

The particles they actually propose to use are discs 10 microns in diameter and 50 nanometers thick, composed of aluminum, barium and titanium. At 10 microns, these things would get into the nose, trachea and upper airways but are unlikely to reach the alveoli. However, at a 200:1 diameter:edge ratio I’m picturing tiny little frisbees with razor-sharp edges. Trillions of them per gram. Anyone with upper airway disease (asthma, bronchitis) is going to be rather unhappy. I’d expect a lot of corneal scarring, too.
Think the EPA would deregulate PM10 to allow this little science project?

Charles Wilson
September 7, 2010 3:42 pm

How can it be something “Nature has never seen before” to quote the article …
… if Volcanos do all the time ?
That is why every Major Scientist in Opposition REVERSED his position …
>> first Lovelock of the Gaia Theory, the #1 Environment Scientist ever,
>> then “Dr. Ozone” (Crutzen), then the Greens’ choice to Oppose him:
>> Caldiera (though most opposing statements still quote him) …
>> even the Presidential Global Warming advisor.
Does any opposition ever consider the really TINY amounts – – about 1/1000th of Pinatubo – – albeit at 5 sites if you want to Reverse Global warming, but what most advocate is to hold in reserve to use: AT _ONE_ SITE ONCE — to prevent an imminent Death of BILLIONS (in fact I would have squirted the Sulphur early this year, in ignorance that Clouds would come & slow the Runaway Ice Melt … Today, after a season of FRANTIC Cloud watching, I think we can predict which years will have FREAK SUN like 2007, & which will not. But when is was “only” a POSSIBILITY … what was wrong in risking $20 Million — that’s MILLION, not Billion – – to preclude – – given the uncertainties this Spring – – a 15% chance – – of 6 BILLION DEAD !
Certainly, as Lovelock said in the 1990s … given the risk, EVERY Government should have this “in their back pocket”, to use IF neccessary. Because an Ocean Current reversal like at the End of the Last Ice age, means 99% DEATH from High Winds destroying ALL above-ground structures = starvation (save near the Equator).
… And he first said that for his first Proposal, which cost 10,000 times as much = $200 BILLION (albeit once, costing only as much as a SINGLE year of “Cap & Trade”), and involved the risk of using 100s of times the Sulphur we’d use now.

September 7, 2010 3:44 pm

We were doing that before we cleaned up the coal fired power plants -:), maybe we can just use them to emit particles again, of course then we would not need to fund govt and university work.

September 7, 2010 3:45 pm

So, if the ‘heat’ doesn’t kill us suffocation will. This reminds me of the past medical practice of ‘bleeding’ patients.

September 7, 2010 3:45 pm

We don’t know enough about the effects of aerosols or pumping dust into the atmosphere. The people behind the CAGW will have a lot to answer for it any of these nutty ‘climate control’ techniques are deployed.

September 7, 2010 3:52 pm

Hey! This is what I’d term a malthusian-eugenics dream come true. They’ll cool off the planet and kill all or most of mankind in one fell swoop. I do question if the CO2 might not dramatically increase with all of us coughing our lungs out, though.

September 7, 2010 3:53 pm

The engineering possibilities are quite interesting from a theoretical point of view. Particles that are paramagnetic, so they orient themselves in a preferred orientation to Earth’s magnetic field. Particles that incorporate UV-sensitive materials so they have a limited and defined lifetime. Particles that tend to remain aloft rather than settling out, due to directional absorption and radiation of heat that make them self-lofting (I’ll admit this is the least accessible to me).
Just save it for terraforming missions, please.

September 7, 2010 3:55 pm

This is the scam in progress. Claim the man-made co2 rise ‘problem‘ is real (without any evidence it will lead to runaway warming) then create the ‘solutions‘ to tackle the ‘problem‘.
AGW scientists will soon become the new .COM bubble millionaires. Al Gore is not even a scientist and look at the millions of dollars he’s made so far. As for Pachauri and Glorioil / and other oil links – no comment.

September 7, 2010 4:01 pm

They want to reverse “global warming”? It has dipped below freezing for two nights in a row now so if that’s their idea of “global warming”, where do I send the bill for the demise of my garden? To think they want to cool the earth even more is preposterous!

Richard deSousa
September 7, 2010 4:07 pm
September 7, 2010 4:07 pm

Q. >What is wrong with these people?
1. Too much funding.
2. Lack of supervision.
3. Inability to solve problems.
4. Unbounded egos.

R. de Haan
September 7, 2010 4:07 pm

Extreme “events” call for extreme “measures”.
If we let these morons have their way we’re really in for some serious trouble.
Although I think that much of the “engineering” proposals serve the same purpose as all the extreme climate scare stories, namely to create a smoke curtain to hide the absolute lack of empirical evidence for AGW a.k.a Climate Change.
It is stories like this that have a devastating effect on the number of people who believe AGW/Climate Change is real.
They have heard too much of it over a too long period of time.

September 7, 2010 4:14 pm

I wonder what other unintended phenomenon could take place with such nanoparticles in the atmosphere… one can think of those as being perfect catalysts for different reactions that could transform the atmosphere permanently!!!

Stephen Brown
September 7, 2010 4:17 pm

“The term “pneumoconiosis” refers to a group of lung diseases caused by the inhalation – and retention in the lungs – of dusts. The most commonly occurring types of pneumoconiosis (apart from asbestosis) are coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, arising from the inhalation of coal dust, and silicosis, arising from the inhalation of respirable crystalline silica (RCS). There is a long delay – almost invariably 10 years or more – between exposure and onset of disease and hence most new cases or deaths from pneumoconiosis reflect the working conditions of the past and a majority of cases occur in individuals who have retired. ”
I have seen miners die of pneumoconiosis. It is not pleasant. Cancer causes less agony. No-one should even think of injecting micro-particles into the atmosphere, least of all silica-alumina based poison by the mega-kilogram load.
This is tantamount to mass murder.

Karl Wiedemann
September 7, 2010 4:20 pm

Mr. Watts,
Not all forms of silica are equally implicated in silicosis. The more dangerous forms are quartz and cristobalite. Amorphous silica (i.e. non-crystalline forms, to which the nanoforms frequently belong) are considered less dangerous. Nevertheless I do not relish breathing any form of powdered material whether coal, cotton, flour, or silica. The services of a good industrial hygienist should be sought when evaluating exposure to potentially hazardous materials.
As for silica, avoiding exposure to powdery forms of silica is essentially an impossibility. It is all around us in the form of dust and sand.
The minerals that constitute our environment are exceedingly complex, and are a very rewarding and interesting field of study for those so inclined.

September 7, 2010 4:22 pm

These are dangerous fools. Not only are they reacting to what are probably imaginary threats, they are creating actual threats to counter them.

September 7, 2010 4:26 pm

First of all: They have not syntethize anything, as this is a common trick in nanotechnology, silico-aluminate nanoparticles do exists already as natural MONTMORINOLLITE; btw, btw this is why these nanoparticles are the most popular “obtained”.
Second: When actual nanoparticles reach such small sizes, as I have obtained, and if -as expected- pure, then its EMF is very great, so they ATTRACT among them usually forming a sponge like material. See the following picture of 5-10 nm. copper nano particles as a sponge:

September 7, 2010 4:32 pm

We may not need to speculate about artificial attempts, at least in the short term. Keep an eye on Sinabung:

September 7, 2010 4:36 pm

What is now called silicosis of the lungs used to be called consumption.
Miners who used rock drills that had no water injection breathed silica dust from the quartz.
It’s a horrible way to die, slow suffocation as lungs scar over.
Drilling dry is outlawed, and MSHA inspectors check the dust at all the mines for compliance.
OSHA checks all other workplaces.
But, utopian think tanks want to fill the skies with it.
This then, is one of the ‘ultimate solutions’ to the problems that exist in utopian thinking.

Frank K.
September 7, 2010 4:37 pm

ZT says:
September 7, 2010 at 4:07 pm
Q. >What is wrong with these people?
1. Too much funding.
2. Lack of supervision.
3. Inability to solve problems.
4. Unbounded egos.

Thank you, ZT. That about sums it up for me…most especially, numbers (1) and (3).

kadaka (KD Knoebel)
September 7, 2010 4:40 pm

Jimbo said September 7, 2010 at 3:45 pm:

So, if the ‘heat’ doesn’t kill us suffocation will. This reminds me of the past medical practice of ‘bleeding’ patients.

Hey, it’s how their healing the US economy. Didn’t you notice the improvement?
I should get a T-shirt made up:
Do you feel recovered?

George E. Smith
September 7, 2010 4:43 pm

Why not just cancel all the enviro wacko dust and particulate EPA controls, and let the natural dust act to nucleate clouds.
Part of the problem is tha EPA wants the air to be cleaner than it was whent he pilgrims landed, so now there are fewer clouds because no dust is allowed to blow around.
These people are in my opinion, criminally insane; that’s just my opinion. It costs nothing at all to leave the weather the hell alone to take care of itself. Mother Gaia knows exactly what the weather should be at all times everywhere on earth; so let her take care of it.

September 7, 2010 4:44 pm

R. de Haan says:
September 7, 2010 at 4:07 pm
Extreme “events” call for extreme “measures”.

The extreme event being the loudspeaker attached to the lips of Chicken Little, who has had his stage moment.
Pull the plug, hit the Gong and use the stage hook.
Next Global Idol contestant, please.

CPT. Charles
September 7, 2010 4:44 pm

This definitely falls into the category of ‘WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG?’
This is beyond bat-sh*t crazy, on turbo boost.

kadaka (KD Knoebel)
September 7, 2010 4:45 pm

Arghh, that should have been “they’re” instead of “their” in my last comment!
This federally-mandated anemia must be getting to me…

September 7, 2010 4:49 pm

co2insanity says:
September 7, 2010 at 3:52 pm
“Hey! This is what I’d term a malthusian-eugenics dream come true. They’ll cool off the planet and kill all or most of mankind in one fell swoop. I do question if the CO2 might not dramatically increase with all of us coughing our lungs out, though.”
This is somewhat along the lines I was thinking as well. This is the main reason the Malthusians buried the warmabomber story so fast. The aim is to eliminate the “surplus” populations (Lee referred to them in more colourful terms like “filth”) without damaging their sunny vacation getaways. So the nano ninny method is a bit over the top. I rather expect some sort of invisible and odourless gas to be the final solution chosen by “them”. Zyklon B was too messy, and CO would kill all the happy little birds that lull Bonny Prince Charles to sleep in his castle. Perhaps a nasty virus that attacks only lower class individuals? A strain of bacteria that can be added to anything except Fois Gras and Arugula?
What would you do if you wanted to eliminate 95% of the population, yet not damage anything?

Dan Absher
September 7, 2010 4:51 pm

Looks worse than MTBE or ethanol, both of which were advertised to improve the air and are/were disasters.

September 7, 2010 4:54 pm

“Silica-alumina ceramic hollow microspheres with diameters of 1 μm”
Since they naturally occur in fly ash, it sounds like an argument for putting the tall stacks back on the coal-fired power plants.
Let’s see: Take $535 million in government grants, strike out “carbon sequestration” and substitute “atmospheric fly ash injection”. what could go wrong?

Gary Hladik
September 7, 2010 4:54 pm

I’m not actually worried that any of these “geoengineering” projects will ever be tried. If people become wary enough of CAGW to consider such schemes seriously, they’ll also be wary of the unknown consequences. Besides, think what a bonanza geoengineering would be for lawyers!
Me: “A-choo! Oh no, you gave me nanosphere-induced flu! Pay up!”
3M: “Uh, we haven’t launched them yet.”
Me: “OMG, they’re worse than we thought! Pay double!”

September 7, 2010 4:55 pm

This reminds me of the old Bloom County comic strip in which one of the characters, Oliver Wendell Holmes, strode into his science class claiming to have solved the entire worlds’ energy issues using only two hamsters and Raisin Bran. He laid out the mathematics on the chalk board only to have the teacher inform him that hamsters were allergic to raisins. As he sits saying that the math worked, his teachers tells him that failure is hardly original. Reality can be a real bummer.

CRS, Dr.P.H.
September 7, 2010 4:56 pm

*sigh!* Geo-engineering idiots. They always seem to forget about unintended consequences….
My own favorite was the attempt at “ocean fertilization,” pumping tons of ferric sulfate into the ocean to stimulate phytoplankton growth. The theory was that the plankton would grow and sink, sequestering carbon.
Problem was, all they did was feed a whole bunch of critters! Copepods and amphipods.
“Following fertilisation of a 300 sq km patch of ocean, Lohafex, too, saw a burst of algal growth. But within two weeks, the algae were being eaten by tiny creatures called copepods, which were then in turn eaten by amphipods, a larger type of crustacean.”
HAW HAW HAW!! The companies who pushed for this type of thing (Planktos comes to mind) are now history. BTW, welcome back, Anthony!!

Ian Mc Vindicated
September 7, 2010 4:56 pm

Don’t worry guys, this will never get off the ground. Sane people will intervene and put these clown ideas to bed. Talk about ridiculous….sick twisted concept.
Reminds me of a loony bin insane asylum…..the entire concept of geoengineering is just a scientific way of saying ” give me money and I will come up with inane ideas to keep myself employed .”

Gary Hladik
September 7, 2010 5:00 pm

kadaka (KD Knoebel) says (September 7, 2010 at 4:40 pm): “Hey, it’s how their healing the US economy. Didn’t you notice the improvement?”
That is perhaps the best argument against any action on the AGW “threat”: the people in charge are the same ones in charge of the national economy. Oops.

September 7, 2010 5:00 pm

It sounds ominously like eugenics to me. Chemtrails anyone?

James Sexton
September 7, 2010 5:04 pm

ZT says:
September 7, 2010 at 4:07 pm
Q. >What is wrong with these people?
1. Too much funding.
2. Lack of supervision.
3. Inability to solve problems.
4. Unbounded egos.
5. Poor parenting(hence the necessity of supervision)
6. Didn’t play well with others.(hence the inability to solve problems
Just here to help!

Jim Barker
September 7, 2010 5:14 pm

I recently read the word neurotypical. It’s a word that some with autism use to describe us so-called normals. BUT there is a group that might actually have this syndrome.
Neurotypical syndrome is a life-long and serious mental disorder affecting people everywhere. Symptoms include preoccupation with social concerns, delusions of superiority, and obsession with conformity. Neurotypical individuals often assume that their experience of the world is either the only one, or the only correct one. NTs find it difficult to be alone. NTs are often intolerant of seemingly minor differences in others.

September 7, 2010 5:22 pm

ZT says:
September 7, 2010 at 4:07 pm
Q. >What is wrong with these people?
1. Too much funding.
2. Lack of supervision.
3. Inability to solve problems.
4. Unbounded egos.
So, with those exceptions, they’re just like you and me ;o)

September 7, 2010 5:28 pm

Hey, didn’t we spend billion$ through the ’80-’90s to STOP sulphuric acid rain???

September 7, 2010 5:43 pm

Ray says: “…one can think of those as being perfect catalysts for different reactions that could transform the atmosphere permanently!!!”
Careful, Comrade! Penalty for give away State secrets is ten years in Gulag.

September 7, 2010 5:51 pm

Did Dr. David Keith just tell me that we spent all this time and money cleaning up the air, and now it’s too clean?
We have to put particles and sulphuric acid back in it??

Ed Caryl
September 7, 2010 5:53 pm

To quote my neighbors 3-year old grandson when confronted be one of the “Isn’t he cute” crowd at the grocery store, “Save me Jesus”!!!

September 7, 2010 5:56 pm

Someone needs to pull the plug on these idiots, but I guess that would be constraining academic freedom! There seem to an endless supply of quacks bouncing about academic institutions when they should really be in another type of institution.

September 7, 2010 6:18 pm

Yep, let them TEST this in their University air conditioning and report back in 40 years coff coff!

Douglas Dc
September 7, 2010 6:28 pm

Sinabung, possibly but look at Katla : starting to get a bit busy….

John F. Hultquist
September 7, 2010 6:43 pm

Enneagram says @ 4:26
A minor spelling correction to “montmorillonite”
It is a clay mineral
Often found in kitty litter
because of its capacity to absorb liquid
And, so, is currently found in many homes and apartments

Lew Skannen
September 7, 2010 7:00 pm

This is hardly news. Sanity left the AGW tribe years ago…

Gail Combs
September 7, 2010 7:05 pm

Gavin says:
September 7, 2010 at 4:32 pm
We may not need to speculate about artificial attempts, at least in the short term. Keep an eye on Sinabung:
The Alaskian/Russian volcanoes are not exactly quiet either:

September 7, 2010 7:13 pm

The EPA should be jumping on them for even suggesting. Like asbestos, the least cross section determines whether it gets into the lungs.

September 7, 2010 7:24 pm

RE:Al Cooper: (September 7, 2010 at 3:13 pm)
“Song lines come to mind…”
“There was an old lady who swallowed a frog …”

Rhoda R
September 7, 2010 7:29 pm

Richard deSousa: Thanks for the link. I’d heard this postulated earlier, but this is a clearer description of that particular insanity.

September 7, 2010 7:35 pm

I don’t agree with geoengineering schemes, but will point out that it sounds like the material is “Silica-alumina ceramic”, not silica dust. A ceramic molecule is going to be, chemically speaking, considerably different from straight silica.

September 7, 2010 7:36 pm

Wouldn’t releasing trillions of mylar balloons be safer, or could they present a choking hazard for small children?

JRR Canada
September 7, 2010 7:39 pm

Stop. These experts need encouraged, this level of wisdom and expertise goes a long way in encouraging the proper public reaction to all things of the climate sciency nature.

Gail Combs
September 7, 2010 7:46 pm

INGSOC says:
September 7, 2010 at 4:49 pm
This is somewhat along the lines I was thinking as well. This is the main reason the Malthusians buried the warmabomber story so fast. The aim is to eliminate the “surplus” populations……
What would you do if you wanted to eliminate 95% of the population, yet not damage anything?
“They” are already doing their long term population culling experiments:
Someone has already gathered a list of all the covert-sterilisation programmes using vaccines:
Spermicidal corn.
Spermicidal corn already in use???
“The World Health Organization has a Task Force on the Regulation of Male Fertility. In 1990 a paper was published in Lancet, a well-regarded British medical journal detailing the use of testosterone injections to render men sterile. The abstract of the article noted “Hormonal regimens that induce azoospermia [lack of fertile sperm] can provide highly effective, sustained, and reversible male contraception with minimum side-effects.”
Unfortunately research documents the increase in testosterone promote tumors (including cancer) in the brain, prostate.
This is the really interesting part:
“However, until the late 1980s there was little evidence of any change in fertility. Since then, many changes have occurred in sub-Saharan Africa. Although population growth rates remain high, signs of reductions in fertility are appearing in several populations once regarded as having little or no prospect of lower levels of reproduction in the short term…
Barney Cohen reviews levels, differentials, and trends in fertility for more than 30 countries from 1960 to 1992. He finds evidence of fertility decline in Botswana, Kenya, and Zimbabwe, confirming the basic results of the DHS. What is new here though is his finding that the fertility decline appears to have occurred across cohorts of women at all parities, rather than just among women at middle and higher parities, as might have been expected on the basis of experience in other parts of the world. He also presents evidence that fertility may have begun to fall in parts of Nigeria and possibly in Senegal….”
I wonder what a new study, since the manufacture of spermicidal corn, would show.

September 7, 2010 7:48 pm

Zeeospheres are silica-alumina ceramic, but the authors only use it as an example of a material that is cheap to make in large quantities. For moderating solar effects they actually suggest something quite different — discs of aluminum oxide, aluminum, and barium titanide, 5 microns in radius and 50 nm thick. The biological properties of this material are, as far as I know, completely unknown.

Chris Knight
September 7, 2010 8:19 pm

It used to be “the atmosphere”. Then we learned it was made up of “troposphere” “stratosphere” “mesosphere” and “thermosphere”. Somewhere in there there’s an “ionosphere”, and around everything there’s a “magnetosphere”. Now someone wants to fit in a “nanosphere” too. Enough’s enough, let me out of here, I can’t breathe!
Spermicidal corn. Is it used like an eco-friendly vibrator?

September 7, 2010 9:34 pm

Let us hope that President Dr. Elizabeth Canon muzzles this guy. This kind of nonsense is becoming a serious embarrassment to the University of Calgary, as well as most Canadians. This makes me cringe.
What is scary is that these “Professors” are teaching this stuff to our young impressionable kids who have been pre-brainwashed by years of man-made Climate Science hyperbole.
The original generation of Dr David Suzuki disciples (who call themselves scientists and pretend to speak the holiest science truths) have created a new version of hell (climate thermageddon) and now the next generation of priests are preaching ways to save the planet.
Please leave donations at the door….remember nothing is more worthy than saving our planet and Geo-engineering is just one of the myriad of ways you can help save your soul (and help keep the new priests on the gravy train – doing their good work all for a good cause)!

Gail Combs
September 7, 2010 9:43 pm

Chris Knight says:
September 7, 2010 at 8:19 pm
…..Spermicidal corn. Is it used like an eco-friendly vibrator?
Unfortunately no…. They are growing the blasted stuff near me here in NC. Despite using three different bucks (billy goats) I have only had between three and five kids, in total, born to my herd of 17 does (nanny goats) during the last two years. Prior to that I had at least one and usually two kids per doe for between 20 and 25 kids a year. I am not feeding any local corn this year and we’ll see what happens with my new bucks.

Neil Jones
September 7, 2010 10:05 pm

“A downside of both these new ideas is they would do something that nature has never seen before.”
It has seen higher CO2 before and life survived and thrived then. It doesn’t seem to do so well in the environs of active volcanoes because of the pollutants they release.
From this and adding the silicosis problem you show I am forced to conclude their solution to “man-made global warming” is get rid of man.

September 7, 2010 10:12 pm

Does this mean the Chem Trail people could be right, and they have been trialling this already? /humour off

September 7, 2010 10:46 pm

It’s one thing to argue about climate, but something else entirely to attempt its manipulation. Fortunately, nature will deal with such folly in the same way as she does a volcano’s temporary local concentration of various matter.
Is it not bewildering these days that some folk, not necessarily scientists of whatever colour, feel behoven to meddle with unknown quantities on a grand scale, with no real conception of the outcome? Where on earth do these people obtain their funding?
REPLY: Who? Joe Romm gets his money from George Soros. CRU gets its money from BP and Shell Oil. Jim Hansen gets money from natural gas interests and of course rigged US government grant money and NASA funding to reach a predetermined result… – Mike

Luke W
September 7, 2010 11:32 pm

76 responses and no mention of pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis?

Ian E
September 8, 2010 1:11 am

I know an old woman who swallowed a fly!

John Marshall
September 8, 2010 1:58 am

More stupidity from the alarmists! But no worse than switching to so called eco-friendly light bulbs and polluting the planet with more mercury.

Alexander K
September 8, 2010 2:26 am

I am pleased you’re back and on deck, Anthony.
This proposal seems to fit a working definition of clinical madness; how do (supposedly) responsible university authorities get to employ this sort of baying-at-the-moon lunatic and provide him with somewhere to work, funds to further his mad schemes and lecture theatres in which he can infect young minds?
My mind is boggled!

Charles Wilson
September 8, 2010 5:26 am

“too much funding” …
Does Noone remember the Difference between Million, Billion, and Trillion ?
A $20 million project to put the PART of Pinatubo’s Sulfur that caused the Cooling up, ONCE, = $ 20 MILLION.
OECD says the Full CO2 reduction ( – 5/6 in 2050 not just the 1/6 planned for 2020) = 7% of GDP = $1000 B/year for the USA.
= $ 20 TRILLION over 20 Years.
The Sulfur “Insurance” Gizmo is a MILLION times LESS.
In fact, it should be PART OF THE MILITARY … a TINY part.
PS: NOT the nano-tech. Why ? Take an analogy: SDI Costs a Lot. But, there is a suggestion the First time one is deployed, it might Trigger a War rather than stop it. Now contrast something … DONE BEFORE:
If SDI cost 1/15,000 th what it does …
AND one or more had BEEN put up, every few years, of similar or larger size, and every 20 years or so, ones 100s of times larger …
… for Million of years ! … and nothing happened.
Millions of times. Like the Millions of Volcanos over the years.
Wouldn’t you spend 6 cents per American … just to be safe ??

Walt The Physicist
September 8, 2010 5:53 am

This thought isn’t new. As far as I know the first man who suggested blocking the sunlight and such cooling the planet is Ken Caldeira who is a big shot director at Stanford University. Intriguingly, this fellow was a Post Doc at Penn State Geoscience Department. His ideas of blocking the sun light with particles placed in the upper atmosphere brought him tenure, relatively large salary, dining with Bono, and large funding from Gates. The scary part is that the funding is so large that this work can and will go beyond just theoretical stage. They will actually do it.

September 8, 2010 6:15 am

A ( hopefully hypothetical ) review:

September 8, 2010 6:35 am

The EPA has just put out a barrage of new regulations to decrease the amout of fine particulate (read nano-silicate particles) and acid gases (read sulfuric acid) in power plant emissions. As some have alluded to in previous posts, reversing these changes would lead to more of the suggested products in the air, also avoiding the billions of dollars that will have to be spent by utilites to comply. Of course, this is asinine. One more thing, have the atmospheric models accounted for the influence of such particles?

Gail Combs
September 8, 2010 8:53 am

Charles Wilson says:
September 8, 2010 at 5:26 am
Wouldn’t you spend 6 cents per American … just to be safe ??
How about the “precautionary principle” – FOR REAL.
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution expresses it better than I in Abrupt Climate Change: Should We Be Worried?
“Most of the studies and debates on potential climate change, along with its ecological and economic impacts, have focused on the ongoing buildup of industrial greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and a gradual increase in global temperatures. This line of thinking, however, fails to consider another potentially disruptive climate scenario. It ignores recent and rapidly advancing evidence that Earth’s climate repeatedly has shifted abruptly and dramatically in the past, and is capable of doing so in the future.
Fossil evidence clearly demonstrates that Earth vs climate can shift gears within a decade….
But the concept remains little known and scarcely appreciated in the wider community of scientists, economists, policy makers, and world political and business leaders. Thus, world leaders may be planning for climate scenarios of global warming that are opposite to what might actually occur…

Hopefully you have been here long enough to be aware there are natural climate cycles. Such as the Milankovitch cycle that ushers in an ice age.
Joe Romm over at Climate Progress states:
Absent human emissions, we’d probably be in a slow long-term cooling trend due primarily by changes in the Earth’s orbit — see Human-caused Arctic warming overtakes 2,000 years of natural cooling, …
This peer reviewed paper, also agrees that we are at the point in the earth’s Milankovitch cycle that ushers in an ice age. The biggest question of course is why we are not covered in ice yet.
Lesson from the past: present insolation minimum holds potential for glacial inception (2007)
“Because the intensities of the 397 ka BP and present insolation minima are very similar, we conclude that under natural boundary conditions the present insolation minimum holds the potential to terminate the Holocene interglacial. Our findings support the Ruddiman hypothesis [Ruddiman, W., 2003. The Anthropogenic Greenhouse Era began thousands of years ago. Climate Change 61, 261–293], which proposes that early anthropogenic greenhouse gas emission prevented the inception of a glacial that would otherwise already have started….”
So what happens if some of the recent natural changes and not man made CO2 have a major impact on climate? If you look at the strength of correlation to warming since 1895, you can see CO2 .43, the sun .57, the oceans .85. (Meteorologist Joe D’Aleo)
We know there are half century ocean cycles. The Pacific Decadal Oscillation has turned cold
So what about the sun?
During the last century the sun has been very active but with cycle 24 the sun has now gone into a long minimum with “unusual characteristic”s according to NASA and the Solar Dynamics Observatory Mission News
“We want to compare the sun’s brightness now to its brightness during previous minima and ask: is the sun getting brighter or dimmer?”
The answer seems to be dimmer. Measurements by a variety of spacecraft indicate a 12-year lessening of the sun’s “irradiance” by about 0.02% at visible wavelengths and 6% at EUV wavelengths.”

This is in contrast to what was happening to 20th century solar cycles before cycle 24.
Solar activity reaches new high – Dec 2, 2003
” Geophysicists in Finland and Germany have calculated that the Sun is more magnetically active now than it has been for over a 1000 years. Ilya Usoskin and colleagues at the University of Oulu and the Max-Planck Institute for Aeronomy say that their technique – which relies on a radioactive dating technique – is the first direct quantitative reconstruction of solar activity based on physical, rather than statistical, models (I G Usoskin et al. 2003 Phys. Rev. Lett. 91 211101)
… the Finnish team was able to extend data on solar activity back to 850 AD. The researchers found that there has been a sharp increase in the number of sunspots since the beginning of the 20th century. They calculated that the average number was about 30 per year between 850 and 1900, and then increased to 60 between 1900 and 1944, and is now at its highest ever value of 76.
“We need to understand this unprecedented level of activity,” Usoskin told PhysicsWeb.”

Svenmark Sun temperature graph
Now some idiots want to mimic a volcanic eruption. Given the phase of the Milankovitch cycle, a cold PDO, and a very quiet sun after a century of extreme activity, do you REALLY want to go messing with something no one knows anything about or what the repercussions are? What if CO2 build up, a highly active sun, and a warm ocean is the only thing keeping us out of a major cooling period? What if a quite sun, a cooling ocean coupled with major volcanic activity is the trigger causing climate to ” shift abruptly and dramatically” in to a cold phase?? Do you really think a few ppm of CO2 is enough to trump the Milankovitch cycle and the rest? Don’t you think the best thing to do is to see what the changes in the natural cycles actually do over the next decade before doing major harm?

Canadian Mike
September 8, 2010 9:18 am

Great, this is from my alma mater. How embarrassing. I may be forced to drop the U of C an email letting them know how stupid this makes them look.

September 8, 2010 10:05 am

Two points looking at both sides.
1 Silica is not silica-alumina any more than quartz is feldspar (also silica is not silicon). It is not the element that is the problem, it is the silica minerals and their properties. The fracturing of silica particles into sharp-pointed respirable micro-particles during mining is part of the reason that silica becomes trapped in the lungs and causes the disease. While silica-alumina micro-spheres may not be good to breathe (according the MSDS) this is probably not akin to decades of hard-rock mining.
2 Why does the “precautionary principle” relate to the supposed effects of AGW but not to the proposed remediations? I find no mention of the precautionary pricinple in Keith’s article.

September 8, 2010 10:24 am

John F. Hultquist says:
September 7, 2010 at 6:43 pm
Thanks! That Mont…..thing entangles any tongue.

September 8, 2010 10:41 am

Since they think that Venus is just like earth, maybe they should try their Geo-engineering solutions there first.

Gary Hladik
September 8, 2010 10:51 am

BTW, these geoengineering schemes remind me of the planet Miranda in the “Serenity” movie.

September 8, 2010 11:27 am

Ray September 8, 2010 at 10:41 am
What do you think makes Venus so white and bright? Sulfuric acid aerosols have soaked up the remaining little water vapor that hasn’t escaped to space. The amount of sun light reflected does not compensate for the amount of heat retained in a sulfuric acid smog. The active ingrediant in our smog is sub-micron sulfuric acid aerosols.

Charles Wilson
September 8, 2010 5:10 pm

Gail Combs:
1. Milankovitch is Dead. OK, we have nothing to replace it so we still teach it to Kids, but Vostok’s 740 K year core revealed that for cycles 5,6, and 7, the Milankovitch years proved to be progressively worse until #7 was half way in between Ice age Start & Stop ! The Cycle is 101 K. Not 108. The 41 K Milankovitch cycle shows up fine and as M. himself said, the 108 K cycle Should _NOT_ dominate the ice Ages because it is much weaker. PS Jupiter works fine. Problem is: “dust” has been disproven — so see the Wilson August Sea ice Update for an idea that works.
2 We Geo-Engineer every time we cut a Pollutant. Blindly
.. whereas Sulfur is well known.
3. The PLAN is only to drop the temp <1 degree, back to what was OK in 1900. And that only when the Ice threatens to Melt Off … EARLY. (July's Sun would heat the Arctic warmer than the North Atlantic, reversing the Currents = that Disaster Movie FOR REAL) .
4. Again, this is an OFFSET
… of the Soot that "Cap & trade" has so enhanced, thus melting the Ice with dark little Polka-dots. We had Soot in the 1920s, but fortunately also put out lots of Sulfur.
… Offsets do not create anything New = NO RISK.
… Besides: it'sALREADY BEEN DONE ! In the 1920 Era of Coal-heat.
… That is, for Sulfur Dioxide. One would have to test the Acid idea VERY intensely & as for the nono-stuff : ! ! ! There, Silicosis is just 1 risk – – we could indeed trigger an Ice Age, just as you say, from an unexpected detail causing Too Much effect – – as we have no Experience to draw on.
… but given the MILLIONS of examples of Sulfur-Volcanos in History: I say Sulfur is _ZERO_ risk to 50 decimal places !
… Now if you want to be Afraid: think of some Terror country putting up 100 times the Sulfur discussed here .

John F. Hultquist
September 8, 2010 9:12 pm

Enneagram says:
September 8, 2010 at 10:24 am
Some years ago I watched a video of the history of porcelain and the discovery of china clay. Some of the story is told here:
Another time a VP of a mining company and a very good public speaker explained his career as being the kitty litter captain of the company.
And then Mt. St. Helens exploded and I learned that instead of it being really hard rock there was much “weathering” of the minerals to clay. At the chemical level it is interesting material.
Take a look at this site discussing expansionistic clay soils (montmorillonite):
By the way, “montmorillonite” is named after the place of it first major find and description (a common practice in such naming):
I rather think you would have to be raised French to feel comfortable pronouncing it.

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