"Tiny bubbles" to lower global temperatures #AGU14

1280px-Large_engine_boat_wakeCase Smit reminds me of this story from AGU that seemed so ridiculous at the time, that I laughed and forgot about it.

Getting ships to generate smaller bubbles as they sail across the oceans could counteract the impact of climate change, a study suggests.

Scientists from University of Leeds, UK, say this would create a brighter wake behind a vessel and reflect more sunlight back into space.

However, it could also increase rainfall in some areas.

Microscopic bubbles generated by shipping could lower global temperatures by 0.5 F says a study presented at the AGU Fall Meeting in San Francisco. according to scientist from the University of Leeds, UK. And possibly reduce fuel costs by being more “streamlined”.

As ships sail across the waves, the white froth they create in their wake stands out from the dark ocean waters.

But the team behind this study said that if the bubbles in the froth were smaller in size, the watery trail would be even brighter.

More importantly, it would also stick around for much longer: the bubbles could last for up to 24 hours, compared with an average lifetime of a few minutes for ordinary bubbles.

This would have the effect of reflecting and refracting sunlight off the surface of the ocean, said Prof Forster.

The team found that making bubbles 10 to 100 times smaller than their current size – to about 1 micron (one millionth of a metre) – had the greatest impact. And that this could be done by fitting aerosol technology to the backs of ships.

Julia Crook, also from Leeds, explained: “The technology required for other forms of solar radiation management is a long way off being ready, whereas micro-bubble generators already exist.

“The Japanese are already experimenting with micro-bubbles under ships’ hulls to make them more streamlined and more fuel-efficient.

“This could have a double benefit.”

The team used a computer model to calculate what would happen if 32,000 large ships – the current estimate of large vessels on the high seas – produced tinier bubbles.

“If we were to successfully put these generators on to these ships, and the ships just went about their normal business, we did find there was potential to reduce the surface temperature by about 0.5C,” Prof Forster said.

However, while this would somewhat counteract the effect of climate change, the team found it would also increase precipitation in some areas.

And there are some concerns about unforeseen consequences on ocean ecosystems, although the team thinks that the scheme probably would not affect ocean productivity – how carbon is moved around the ocean.


216 thoughts on “"Tiny bubbles" to lower global temperatures #AGU14

  1. Oh one more to go – When will they ever learn,
    if not what they should, would and could have learnt long ago,
    at least they ought to learn that they are busted!

    • Well why not just turn the oceans into soda pop by injecting CO2 into it to make it bubbly like champaign ?

  2. “Tiny Bubbles
    in their brain.
    Tiny Bubbles
    Make them sane.”
    Tiny Bubbles
    Make me cool all over.
    With a feeling’ I’m gonna
    Love it ’till the end o’ time.
    So here’s to the golden moon
    And here’s to the silver sea
    And mostly here’s a toast
    To you and me
    Tiny Bubbles
    in their brains
    Tiny Bubbles
    we know their Insane.”

  3. .5 C from a mere 32,000 ships!? just based upon the sheer scale of the ocean I’m calling BS. I don’t have the math to back it up, just experience at looking at how massive the ocean is and how tiny those ships are.

    • Good intuition, showing how commonsense is lacking in academia, at the AGU, and in climate science generally.
      Take AGU facts at face value. Pure white 100% albedo wake (ignoring angle of incidence) for 24 hours (divide by 2 for nightime, so 12 hours effective) from 32000 ships.
      Average bulk carrier (oil tanker) speed is 13-16 knots. Cargo container vessels run 20-22. Say an average speed of 18 knots, or 33kph. Most vessels are Panamax or less, 33 meters beam. Average wake is wider than beam, say 50 meters (it is a narrow V).
      Then this microbubble wake covers (33km/h*12h*0.05km beam/ship*32000 ships) about 6.3E4 square kms. The sea surface is about 3.6E8 square kms. So the effective wake changes the ocean surface albedo area by 6.3E4/3.6E8 or 1.75E-4 or less than two thousands of a percent. Satellites show that Earths albedo reflects on the order of 30% of incoming SLR (sunlight and UV). So these wakes would change net Earth albedo by less than (0.0002/0.71 ocean to land *0.3 average albedo) one thousandth of a percent.
      The modeled temperature cooling result is absurd on its face.

      • Rud-
        I was just about to post a similar analysis. The result of 1.75E-4 is less than two hundredths of a percent, not two thousandths. The result remains well below the measurement noise of global surface albedo, and is dwarfed by seasonal variations in TOA solar insolation.

      • YES! This sort of #BackOfTheEnvelope # FermiAnalysis could provide the basis for a Randall Munroe # XKCD “What If?” cartoon, provided only that Dr Munroe could be induced to reconsider his (now, AFAICT un-considered) support for “the climate consensus”.
        It seems to me there are way too many researchers spending way too much grant money using computers, laboratories, and teams to explore such concepts BEFORE putting a 50 cent pencil to a penny sheet of paper and spending a dozen minutes doing 8th grade (Jethro Bodine-level) arithmetic.
        Thank you, by the way, for not attempting to use calculus and integrate the duration in time and therefore length of his estimated 0.05km wide white wake. You imply the wake exists for 12 hours. Likely, this should be reduced because, if nothing else, the ship doesn’t instantly zip from one edge of the area to the opposite edge. Also, we must specify that the wake does NOT linger overnight and still begin any reflection the morning of the next day. But the first hour’s wake exists longer than the white wake field produced in the hour just before sunset, so the total area of wake is some sort of function using the (constant) duration of wake and the (variable) time of day when it was produced. The result will be, of course, less white area. Dr Munroe can probably integrate this using a visual (cartoon) approximation. As it is, Rud’s assumed whole day area is valid to show the deficiency of the whole concept.

      • Very nice calculation, Rud. But “changes the ocean surface albedo area by 6.3E4/3.6E8 or 1.75E-4 or less than two thousands of a percent” is off: 1.75e-4 is a little under 0.02%. With about 200 W/m^2 reaching the surface, 0.02% is about 0.04 W/m^2. That is roughly 1% of the forcing from doubled CO2, so is surely too small to matter. But 10 times that, with IPCC sensitivity of 3 K, would give a cooling of about 0.5 F, matching one of the two values given in the article.
        If the bubbles really last for 24 hours, they might spread out over an area that is much greater than what we normally see as the wake. A one micron bubble would rise toward the surface at something like 0.01 cm/s, so 10 meters in 24 hours. So maybe the claim is not quite as absurd as it looks. I’d like to see the actual calculation before passing judgement.

      • But ocean albedo is really low, and we have to take into account the microbubbles may increase cloud cover. If we take into account the sun’s angle and stare hard at the solar constant we can obtain a huge negative forcing, equal to 1/2000th of the incoming sun light as estimated using NASA satellites. This in turn drops the temperature, which drops water vapor, and cools the water, which in turn allows the ocean to absorb more co2. The co2 that’s absorbed doesn’t absorb outgoing infrared and fails to heat the air, which in turn reduces water vapor and cools things even more. This is a great idea. Why didn’t i think of this?

      • Rud Ivstan
        Have you dropped an order of magnitude? Each ship sweeps out a wake of 19.8 sq. km so 32000 sweep out 6.3E5. Still small. Have I missed something?

      • So.in effect, a mere fraction of the sunlight already being reflected/refracted by high flying jet aircraft vapor trails,,
        How much more can we take?!

      • It looks like Ronaldo is right about the factor of ten error. So the calculation gives an area between 0.1% and 0.2% of the earth’s surface giving a possible forcing of a few tenths of a watt per square meter. That is not negligible. So it would seem that this can not be so easily rejected and that a more careful calculation is in order.

      • Renaldo, yup, dropped a zero (probably 3200 rather than 32000 ships). Chris, yup, did not convert decimal to percentage. Beautiful the way the internet rapid self corrects. Next time I will use pencil and paper rather than just hammer a calculator as quick as possible. The main point remains.

      • Well for starters, the assumption of a 100% albedo (reflectance) is totally bogus, and Rud Istvan’s area estimation is erroneous too. But a great calculation anyway Rud.
        You have to consider the optics of submerged one micron bubbles. For starters, the entire atmospheric hemisphere above the surface, is compressed into a 48.6 deg cone under the surface, so whatever the sun angle is, it will be within that cone, under the surface.
        Then a one micron bubble is not a flat mirror, which might be a reasonable assumption for the ocean surface. The bubble is spherical, and the reflected light from it’s surface will be reflected into a full 4pi spherical distribution (the reflected ray is at double the angle of the surface tilt). I could set it up in ZEMAX and ray trace it, but it’s not worth the bother.
        Then the reflection coefficient off the bubble surface is only 2% at normal incidence, and less that twice that out to the Brewster angle, which is 53 degrees for a water index of 1.333. The total hemispherical Fresnel reflectance can be calculated, and is in Zemax, but it would be less than 5% total. At 53 deg incidence, the ray will be reflected at 106 degrees, so will never return to the surface. The reflectance will reach 100% at 90 deg incidence, but the surface irradiance at 90 deg. will be zero and in any case the reflected ray will be travelling in the same direction as the incident ray, so it never gets back to the surface. About 95% of the incident light passes into the bubble, in a complicated critical angle cone pattern, and then about 95% of that will refract out of the bubble on the other side, but again in a widely diffused beam.
        Eventually a few percent of the light hitting the bubble will return to the surface, but only the fraction within the TIR exclusion cone of 48.6 degrees can escape from the surface.
        Well I could model that for a single bubble. Ordinary ray optics would be simplest, but a one micron bubble will diffract, which will result in even wider beam dispersion. I could let it do complete physical diffraction optics, but you are still left then with having multiple encounters with multiple bubbles.
        Most of Rud’s surface area calculation, will not actually be bubbles.
        Even if you assume that the submerged bubble layer is a 100% diffuse reflectance, so it has a cosine Lambertian distribution, the critical angle cone only contains sin^2(48.6) of that which is 56%.
        Actually, for exiting the water, the Brewster angle is only 37 dgrees, and that contains only 36% of the flux, which will be about 97% transmitted at the surface, giving 35%. The rest of the flux between 37 and 48.6 (which is 20% of the total (56-36)), will exit, with greater reflectance losses. And I haven’t even dealt with some of the other contributions. The bubble albedo is much less than 100%.
        The reason that such foamy surface looks so bright to your eye, is that each bubble is like a tin hubcap forming a virtual image on your retina, that would be as bright as the surface of the sun, if the reflectance was 100%.
        Just take any low reflectance multi-coated camera lens UV filter, which has less than 1% total solar reflectance, and look at the sun reflection off it. It is still way too bright to look at, because you are still seeing 1/100th of the sun surface brightness (radiance).
        So no matter how bright those ship wakes look to your eye, their energy reflectance is miniscule.

      • Pouncer, we fix the “overnight wake” problem by mandating that all ships travel only during the daylight hours, ships shall heave to during full overcast conditions and all journeys shall be from West to East to maximize “albedo enhancement. The UN just needs the funding to pay the subsidies as Somalia has already offered its pirate population for the enforcement arm as approved by the General Assembly.”</sarc>

      • Some refinements on the estimates-
        Wikipedia lists 9535 container ships in active use, not 32000.
        Average in-service time is 280 days per year, not 365.
        With these two corrections, the area affected is lowered from 0.175% to 0.04%.
        That corresponds to a temperature change of less than 0.1 C.
        That is to say, the effect is too small to measure with currently deployed sensors.
        This still assumes, as Rud already pointed out earlier:
        bubbled albedo = 1.00 for 24 hours, versus albedo = 0 for unbubbled ocean.
        bubbly wakes do not overlap in shipping channels.
        bubbly wakes are never below cloud cover.

      • Looks like a foam albedo of 1 is also very wishful thinking.
        From P. Koepke in Applied Optics, 23 (11) June 1984 pp 1816 – 1824, the measured effective reflectance of whitecaps in the ocean is around 22%. That’s another factor of almost 5 reduction in the efficacy of the proposed solution to CACC.

      • chris y
        9000 odd containers ships – yes, certainly something of that nature.
        But all the oil tankers, bulk carriers, car carriers, livestock carriers chemical tankers, gas carriers [LPG and LNG], cruise ships [Wikipedia lists over 60 cruise ships over 100,000 gross tons, almost all in service] and the rest add many any more.
        The Industry uses two estimates – interchangeably, and with no appreciable evidence of either being ‘right’ that I can see: – 55,000 and 80,000 ships in international trade. It all depends on definition.
        Clarksons used to have a figure for ships ‘over 10,000 deadweight tons’ [dwt] of about 33,000, but UNCTAD have a figure of 103,000 – this includes fishing vessels and ‘small craft’.
        The 55,000 estimate would, I guess, cover all ships over either 1600 or 3000 gross tons [both, for historic reasons, being sizes above which additional requirements – for example, for a second radar, or a Cook – will apply].
        #Deadweight – a measure of the weight of cargo [and bunkers and fresh water for drinking/showering/boiler use] that a ship can carry. A ship carries her full deadweight only when loaded to her marks [the old Plimsoll Line, now the International Load Line] – and, being shipping, which floats in water – there are variations.
        In fresh water – less dense than salt, the ship may sink deeper – at the same weight, as the volume displaced is greater, but the weight displaced, as the FW is less dense, will be the same.
        Here is not the place to go into details of Winter loadlines, Tropical loadlines – and certainly not Winter North Atlantic ones. I expect Google or the perfectly accurate [as I can add to it] Wikipedia will give background if you are really interested.
        #gross tonnage – a measure of the enclosed volume of a ship [each ton used to be 100 cubic feet, but there is now a metric equivalent – possibly 2.83 m3 (I can’t be bothered to check . . . .]. Net tonnage is gross tonnage, with certain exclusions [like crew accommodation, Engine Room, etc.].
        Now, for 55,000 ships (nearly half under 10,000 dwt, it seems] the average size may be about 15,000 dwt. That will be – roughly – 160 metres long, by 20 metres wide [‘beam’], and about 9 metres draught. Roughly.
        Trust thus helps [even if it doesn’t greatly clarify!].
        Happy holidays to all – even to those who put the ‘Mann-made’ into – well, whatever Global Warming, which stopped 18 years ago, is called in the latest try at CYA by the grant-gathering groups!
        [TLAs – don’t you love them!]

      • Likewise, I’m quite sure that the wind action on the ocean surface creates significantly more and ‘long lasting’ micro bubbles than ships wakes.

      • Piling on with more refinements …
        Most of those 32,000, 55,000, or 80,000 ships are constrained to the major shipping lanes, almost all of which are in the Northern Hemisphere, mostly because that’s where 86% of the population lives, centered about 30N. (Most will be surprised to know that the latitudes of the navigation choke points of Panama, Suez, and the Singapore Straights are 9N, 30N, and 1N respectively.) With most of the shipping traffic and bubbles restricted to the North Atlantic (15%) and North Pacific (23%), totaling 38% of the worlds oceans, it seams to me that whatever number we are now down too could be reduced by the 62% of the rest of the worlds oceans that see little or no commercial shipping traffic.
        You will be able to obtain at least another 50% reduction on top of that by arguing that a container ship traveling at 21 knots generating a wake with 24 hour persistence will leave a trail 580 miles long, which means any ships following in the shipping lanes will most likely be sailing on top of another wake. The density maps option at http://www.marinetraffic.com will be very instructive.

    • 32,000 ships at 300 metres long x 30 metres wide equals 288 sq kilometres of ships in an ocean of 335,000,000 sq kilometres. What is the area of surf around the worlds coastline? Sounds like somebody has been celebrating their last government grant a little too much.

      • So much much more can be achieved by reducing bubble size in surf. To do that, we need to raise the surface tension, and that can be done by adding acids to the ocean. H2SO4 is most effective, but has drawbacks. H2C03 is easier and is already being generated indirectly by the burning of fossil fuels. Obviously we need more of it …..

      • Mike,
        It would be more effective to add a dish detergent to the oceans to make the bubbles longer lasting. I am particularly fond of Dawn as it also makes a great oil dispersant. (It is a Federal crime to leave a visible oil sheen on any of the navigable waters. I have been told that Dawn will make that sheen disappear. )
        Do I need a sarc tag?
        Steamboat Jack (Jon Jewett’s evil twin)

    • Don’t forget that any mechanical mechanism to reduce the bubble-size plus the added weight of such equipment will reduce the vessels’ fuel efficiency. Virtually all use fossil-fuel engines, so more CO2 >> greater global warming.
      My guesstimate is an increase in global temperatures of >0.5 F.

    • Chris Y:
      You cite the average number of days for container ships “in service” to be 280. Have you a definition for “in service”? Surely the relevant concern must be “days at sea”.
      Here in Vancouver, BC, (where I have a magnificent view of the outer harbour, brag, brag) I see ships at anchor for days awaiting a berth. Still in service, but no wake. Then to a berth to unload, then load. Several more days, still in service, still no wake.
      Will this mess up everyone else’s calculations? Please yes! It will make me feel important.

      • Damn. Yet more corrections to the model calculations. What, this AGU warming model doesn’t work? Good grief! You are undermining the foundations of all global warming theory.! Stop……

      • Richards in Vancouver-
        I extracted the 280 days per year from this article-
        I assumed they grasped for the high end on # of days per annum to increase the fuel use numbers. Of course they provide no reference for this number.
        Here is a sampling of the gas2.org author’s worldview-
        “These ships operate 24 hours a day, 280 days a year, essentially becoming floating pollution factories that are absolutely necessary to the world economy.”
        For what its worth.

      • And don’t forget that there already are bubbles in the wake with todays ships, so we are talking about the net difference with tiny bubbles and the band.

  4. >>And there are some concerns about unforeseen consequences on ocean ecosystems<<
    Ah, yes, the Law of Unintended Consequences.
    Honestly, is this even worth discussing? Ships' wakes are what percentage of the world's oceans? And this scheme would only work on sunny days.

    • I am not sure if these people know that ships follow shipping lanes, and don’t spread out evenly across the ocean. so with one ship essentially following another it really would change the area where there are bubbles much at all.

    • “The Japanese are already experimenting with micro-bubbles under ships’ hulls to make them more streamlined and more fuel-efficient.
      Yup, and iffen they get too many of those micro-bubbles underneath that ship’s hull …. they will cause it to sink into the abyss.
      So its a “catch 22”, …. the more bubble ya produce, …. the lower yer boat floats … and the more “drag” on the hull.

      • Ship constructors have also tested golf ball and shark skin textures, that automatically generates these bubbles, but couldn’t get around the scaling problem obviously.

      • Just remembered …
        The “white trail” also depends alot of the design of the propellar(s). Don’t know if they have tried sawtoothed trailing edges yet. Applying this on fans lowers noise levels (turbulence) and as a result it increases the efficiency. I think the aircraft industry have already been looking into it …

  5. Here we go again. Possibly reducing fuel costs sounds great, but what is the price tag? They never talk about that.

  6. “Tiiiiiny bubbles, in the wine. Make feel happy, make me feel fine.”
    I can’t believe nobody thought of that yet… it fits perfectly.

  7. But we understand the effect on a scale that would be effective would wipe out sea critters don’t we? Anybody got a model of what happens when we kill off the plankton? Maybe the Max Plankton Institute has it covered!

  8. And what unintended consequences would this have on biology & the ecosystem of the oceans? These people & their computer models are driving me crazy! They are idiot’s!

    • My dad got a chance to play on stage with Don Ho. Dad played steel guitar in his band, The Hayriders. I have his first steel guitar he had when he first started his playing career. Dad played in many towns and cities from Central Oregon to the three cornered area of Washington, Idaho, and Oregon. He and his lovely wife took a life time trip to Hawaii where they met Don Ho who invited Dad on stage for a set.

  9. This is all being done by computer model, too… what happens in the real world with real ships?
    I wonder if the energy the froth-generators need to work is greater or lesser than the energy the froth might save in moving the ship. Real world with real ship studies would be needed to see “for sure”. I remember when they added wings to the keels of 12-meter yachts some folk laughed– until it was proven that the wings actually helped the yacht win races, then everybody wanted them.
    Note that here, my main interest is whether the micro-bubble technology will actually make ships more efficient. The business about reflecting light back into space— not so sure that’s anything more than a pipe-dream.

    • They first did the water tank tests with scale models, then they built the yacht and then Australia II had to beat Liberty and Dennis Conner, before anyone thought wing keels made sense, and I still think Australia II won largely because of a mistake by Conner.

      • The wings do work … just have a gander at the new underwater technology of the macro-maxis. Taking this to the extreme is the technology of the America’s Cup catamarans.

      • Americas Cup skippers don’t make mistakes, and Dennis Connor made fewer than most.
        They make choices, and their competitor makes choices, and whoever makes the best choices, wins.
        Actually the later AC competition, in which Dennis Connor recaptured the Cup from Australia, was very much a question of DC making superior choices, which nearly cost him even being in that AC final in Perth, and also involved the tiny bubbles.
        It was well known, that the early preliminaries in the Louis Vuitton Cup Challenger selection series, would be held in light winds, but by the time the final event happened, the winds would be very much stronger; the so-called Fremantle Doctor would arrive by then.
        Under the 12 meter rule, the amount of sail area a boat could use, depended on its water line length. Longer boats have higher hull speeds, so were limited to less sail area.
        Dennis Connor’s boat had the longest water line length in the entire regatta, so he had the smallest sail area limit. This penalized him in the early rounds of the LVC, and he barely made it into the final against New Zealand’s “Plastic Fantastic” fiber glass 12 meter yacht (the very first one).
        Because of his sail limit, in the lighter winds, he was facing elimination by Team NZ, and he protested the glass boat, and accused NZ of cheating. In desperation, DC covered his hull with the 3-M “sharkskin” film, which is rough like a shark skin, and prohibits water from adhering to the skin, because of surface tension.
        This improved DC’s speed enough to finally win against NZ (who were not cheating), so Dennis became the Challenger against Australia, in the Cup match.
        By then, the wind strengths had increased, so Dennis could really fly with all the sail he was legally allowed, specially with his tiny bubble hull. The Aussie boat was shorter, so allowed more sail, but couldn’t use it all, because of the high winds. So they were limited by the hull speed of their shorter boat, and Connor’s boat was just faster.
        Actually their is a theory, that DC lost the cup to Australia, because that was the only way to get it away from the snooty Ted Turner types, and the NEW York Yacht Club, which held it for 134 years, often by skullduggery. So Dennis lost it for them, and then went and got it back, for his San Diego Yacht club. He eventually lost it again in 1995 to Peter Blake’s NZ team skippered by Russell Coutts in “Black Magic” aka NZL-32.
        Tiny bubbles require an excess internal pressure over ambient amounting to 2t/r where t is the surface tension in Newton per meter and r is the bubble radius in meters. So a one micron bubble has a huge internal excess pressure. For the “dimples” on the 3-M shark skin film, the radii are maybe about 100 microns, small enough to prevent water surfaces from curving that much, and so wetting the entire surface of the skin. Such hydrophobic surfaces are now quite common.
        In fact 3-M in their Scientific angler division, make sharkskin floating fly lines, just so they will float higher, even though they are denser (and hence smaller diameter and wind resistance).
        So nyet on the high albedo wakes, but use sharkskin surfaces for higher hull efficiency.

      • Dennis Connor, is one of the most respected of all Americas Cup sailors, and despite his histrionics, and the “Plastic Fantastic affair” as well as the “Big Boat” vs Winged Catamaran event he is very popular in both Australia and NZ.
        Almost single handedly, he made the modern Americas Cup event what it was for about 30 years

    • I’m certain this has been studied extensively by the US Navy … the greatest resistance a ship experiences is the surface tension not the “drag” of water on the hull (thats why submarines can be faster than surface ships) … I’m sure the Japanese are experimenting with it … they also make robots to be elderly companions … not sure they are the best gauge of rational research …

  10. “Tiny bubbles”?
    After reading it through, I think my first thought says it all … someone’s been imbibing a bit much of the bubbly.
    32,000 large ships operating under how many flags? And how will the dictates go out and force all these vessels to operate with these generators?
    File under science fiction/fantasy?

  11. “And that this could be done by fitting aerosol technology to the backs of ships.”
    Once again we have academics gladly spending other peoples money.

    • As free market history shows, if this mod improves economy for the vessels and boosts the company profit, the private sector will invest the money willingly. When technology that doesn’t pay back, it is forced on the taxpayers, for an unquantified benefit to mankind, and a well calculated benefit to the elite.

  12. Another case of “researchers” and University staff having a good laugh at the pub on your quid.

  13. Seems to me that reducing soot emissions to improve Arctic ice albedo would provide more comprehensive benefits for the money. I agree with tom s, though, that it’s silly to want to force things colder, or even try to interrupt what the data suggests is a normal interglacial trend.

  14. Interesting subject. Surprisingly, ships do already have a noticeable effect on albedo : http://www-das.uwyo.edu/~geerts/cwx/notes/chap08/contrail.html The effect is due to clouds forming in response to particles in the ships’ exhausts, rather than to froth in the water. But I don’t see why the potential water-wake effect should be dismissed. A reduction of half a degree (whether C or F!) in average temp would be a significant offset to the increase predicted by the climate alarmists. If that could be achieved by blowing a few bubbles, it would be a whole lot cheap than decarbonising the world’s economy! We should be doing research now into relatively cheap forms of climate engineering such as biochar, cloud seeding, and ocean nutrient fertilisation. If it turns out that they don’t work, no harm is likely to be done. If they do work, they can be kept in reserve as options for the future if temps really do rise significantly.

    • All these ‘solutions’ you suggest could and probably will, trigger a premature Ice Age.
      We are at the tail end of this present Interglacial. All data shows definitively that we are due to decline rapidly and suddenly into another Ice Age. This has happened the same way over and over again in the last several million years.

      • I didn’t use the word ‘solution’, and I didn’t propose that we immediately go all-out for any of these options. What I would propose is that empirical research – you know, science – should be carried out on a variety of possibilities. For example, how can we know whether nutrient fertilisation on a large scale would be effective, and what its side effects might be, unless we have first tried it on a small scale? As for the possibility of triggering a ‘premature Ice Age’, if you believe that ‘all data shows definitively that we are due to decline rapidly and suddenly into another Ice Age’, then it would not be premature! But I agree that any research should proceed with caution, with the outcomes monitored every step of the way. I am marginally more worried about the proposed beefed-up version of the Large Hadron Collider. The scientists involved assure us that even if ‘mini black holes’ are created, they won’t last very long. But I wouldn’t like to bet the farm on it.

      • David: you say:
        “For example, how can we know whether nutrient fertilisation on a large scale would be effective, and what its side effects might be, unless we have first tried it on a small scale?”
        It’s been done. A very short while ago (I don’t remember exactly when) somebody (I can’t remember who) sprayed the northern Pacific with iron oxide just beyond the national boundaries. The result, after a full breeding cycle, was a salmon return far exceeding anything in recorded history, and according to our coastal natives, exceeding anything in their own historical tales.
        That crop came in just last year. There’s a story on it right here on WUWT, if you want to go searching.

    • A concept applies that originated with , or at least was popularized by, Arthur C. Clarke in one of his stories collected in the book _Tales From the White Hart_. A very small amount of rubber-like material dispersed to the density of fog (what we would now term an “aerogel”, but Clarke was conceptualizing well before the labs ever produced such a material) could be used to create persistent “clouds”. Clarke posited the application of such clouds would be advertising, or “sky-writing”. (Clarke also envisioned a similar dispersal of aerosols in the thin atmosphere of the moon to advertise CocaCola ™ to everybody on Earth, but that is, literally, another story). HOWEVER, it seems that it is equally valid (not actually practical, but equal to the validity of the White Hart advertising idea) to posit that an airborne reflective aerogel durably suspended over a limited number of hot urban area would increase albedo, counter-act the Urban Heat Island effects, reduce air conditioning use and electrical power consumption, and thereby STOP GLOBAL WARMING!
      Please use the indicated e-mail to send grant money, and I will set up a pilot program (no pun intended) here in the skies over Dallas Texas.

      • I remember Tales From the White Hart. One of my favorites of all time. I shall contribute to your Pile-It program. I suggest the name ‘Bandini Mountain.’

    • There are quite a few things that don’t cost much but we know won’t work, and so there is no sense in experimenting. It is possible that headaches could be stopped for free by banging your head against the wall. I don’t know of anyone who has tried this though. The reason it is never tried is because there isn’t much likelihood it would work, and that is why there is no reason to waste time with tiny bubbles.

    • Geoengineering has been kicked around a lot in the past here, rightly ridiculed in terms of the completely unneeded and idiotic goal, the stupid waste of dollars in even studying it, let alone implementation, and if that isn’t enough, the entirely unknown, and very possibly dangerous environmental consequences of it.

    • Let them rise. What we really need is to think about and test concepts to keep us warm when they fall significantly. Creating lots of CO₂ was tested but obviously doesn’t work.

  15. “So these wakes would change net Earth albedo by less than (0.0002/0.71 ocean to land *0.3 average albedo) one thousandth of a percent.”
    But obviously the earth’s climate is unstable and balanced on a pin point. The mere flap of a butterfly’s wings could turn the earth into Venus or Europa, depending on the direction it faces. /sarcasm
    But seriously, pondering the temperature graphs in the Vostok ice core article, I’m in favor of warming the earth, and keeping it warm. Let the polar bears and penguins adapt, and let the celebrities in their beachfront mansions move. A warmer earth is a healthier, more vital earth for all. Global warming is not a catastrophe, it’s a blessing.
    The only area where I agree with the environmentalists is that I’d like to see a reduced human population, especially in the developing world, but here as well.

    • The only area where I agree with the environmentalists is that I’d like to see a reduced human population, especially in the developing world, but here as well.


    • “The only area where I agree with the environmentalists is that I’d like to see a reduced human population, especially in the developing world, but here as well.”
      You first.

  16. Reblogged this on SasjaL and commented:
    It is ridiculos regarding proportions but it’s not surprising, as far too many ‘scientists’ involved in the AWG circus have issues they need to address, regarding the four dimensions that we are capable of perceiving. Some have limited ability apparently …
    Earlier this kind of ‘scientists’ hijacked the method of detecting changes in carbon dioxide emissions of vulcanos linked to eruptions and turned it into a ‘reference’ of global atmospheric levels and now this?
    As the main ‘problem’ is manufactured, so …

  17. “The only area where I agree with the environmentalists is that I’d like to see a reduced human population, especially in the developing world, but here as well.”
    The idea that “too many human beings exist”, is the most dangerous notion plaguing mankind.

  18. I would suggest that the earth won’t stay this warm for more than 1,000 years in the future. And that is the optimistic evaluation. The next Ice Age can happen any time in the near or far future. All we know is, these events are sudden, they are catastrophically much colder than any Interglacial and they last ten times longer than the Interglacials.

    • Yes. If humanity can spend billions to study climate, it makes sense to shift study away from hypothetical CAGW and toward the known problem. We are due for another Ice Age in the same sense that California is due for a major earthquake or Vesuvius is due for a major eruption…we don’t know the exact timing, but we know it is coming and could be catastrophic if preparations are not made

  19. I am doing my part to either add or take away bubbles, don’t know which. I got a soda-maker for Christmas. Love it. By the way, would those be CO2 bubbles those ships are making?

  20. “The team used a computer model to calculate what would happen if 32,000 large ships – the current estimate of large vessels on the high seas – produced tinier bubbles.”
    Good old computer models riding the shirt tails of the kind of half-arsed idea that crops up at 2 a.m. after 17 lagers and half a bottle of scotch. Honestly I’m embarrassed to be even from the same country as these jokers.

  21. I wonder whether these imbiciles ever stopped to consider the combined surface area of The Pacific, The Atlantic, the Indian Ocean, The Arctic Ocean, The Southern Ocean, The Mediterranean Sea, The Black Sea, and many many more seas that collectively make up the largest surface area of the world. Who pays for such wasted research conducted by these stupid people?.

  22. Not affect ocean productivity? So increasing albedo, and decreasing the amount of light penetrating into the water, would not affect photosynthesis, the base of all productivity in the oceans? I question that.

  23. Since the bubbles come into existence only while the ship is moving and quickly dissipate, wouldn’t it make more sense just to have all the ships and anything visible (such as cargo containers) painted white? Now you would get the low albedo effect even when the ship isn’t moving. Why stop there, lets require everything everywhere to be painted white. Or do I seem to be too mono-chromatic?

  24. we did find there was potential to reduce the surface temperature by about 0.5C…
    well fine….that would eliminate all of global warming
    If we do this one thing…..will they shut up and go away

  25. Now that I read it a bit more— wrong end of the ship, ol’bean. Producing tiny bubbles in the ship’s wake will only make the ship burn more fuel— gotta burn fuel to make the “Lawrence Welk Machine” work y’know. (If you remember hearing “Champagne Music” new when you were a lad, join me in the “Old Timer’s Club” back on the fantail.) To have a real useful effect, I would imagine the bubble machine would have to be placed forward in the ship, so the bubbles could break the surface tension alongside the ship. Now, that could possibly make the ship burn less fuel, thereby making the ship’s carbon footprint a trifle smaller. Place the bubble maker aft, so it blows bubbles in the wake….. I fail to see how that does anything except spend money.

  26. “could counteract the impact of climate change”
    “could also increase rainfall”
    “could lower global temperatures”
    Wish I had been at that party when they were drinking so much “bubbly”!
    I wonder if it was Dom Perignon?

    • Dom Perignon was the name of the monk who first invented Champagne, while trying to make a sparkling red wine. In the process, he got so much CO2, that all the bottles exploded. So he gave up on reds, which make too much bubbles, and went to whites, which didn’t blow up.

  27. There’s a slang term for people who describe really tiny things as having responses well outside of what the size could possibly warrant, and beyond the response that more normally endowed people would ever experience.
    And, with that thought, I’m calling it a day.

  28. Gee,
    Can I get a government subsidy for the bubbles my “yacht” makes as I cruise around the bay to help pay the fuel bill? Lots of froth on a sunny weekend in the bay.
    Is that the reason it is much cooler on the Atlantic coast versus inland?
    sarc off

  29. Tiny bubbles
    In the brine
    To slow the warming
    And that’s just fine.
    Tiny bubbles
    To cool the sea
    And they will bring
    More grants for me!

    • Nice! I did one, too. Not as smooth, but longer
      “Bubble on” (sung to the tune of David Gray’s “Babylon”)
      Pacific night
      I am going Eastwards
      All the clocks changing nine to ten
      Turning over beer bottles
      Porpoises running through my head
      well, looking back through time
      You know, it’s clear that I’ve been blind.
      I’ve been a fool
      to allow cheap gas
      to all the people
      having all that fun
      while I was at school
      Want albedo?
      come and get it
      crying out loud
      we were foolish fellers
      using straight propellers
      Insolation proud
      Let go your cash
      Let go your mind
      give us even more money
      feel good now
      drop off the cargo, I am running West
      all the clocks changing ten to nine
      moving on the ocean in slow motion
      vodka rushing through my bloodstream
      Only wish that you were here
      You know I’m seeing it so clear
      I’ve been afraid
      to show you how I want control
      Admit to some of the carbon mistakes you’ve made
      Bubble-on, Bubble-on

  30. I have just looked at a few photos I have taken dead astern of an NCL Jewel-class liner while mid-Atlantic and in various sea states. First there is a distinct difference between a wake and the stream of trailing bubbles. The wake fans out from a ship at various angles depending on hull speed vs boat speed and bow shape. The trail of bubbles remains about the same width as the hull. Dispersion rate of the bubbles varies dramatically with sea-state, and once things get a bit rough the bubbles are quickly plowed under by wind and wave.. It would also appear that the delta in system albedo would be insignificant while under cloudy/rainy conditions.
    So is anything gained by the existing bubbles? Should cruise lines get carbon credits for an increase in albedo? Could finer bubbles do more? I think I shall apply for a multi-year study consisting of photos taken from the stern of various popular ocean-liner classes in order to get to the bottom of this!

    • Excellent idea. I’m willing to sacrifice some of my vacation time to take pictures from the sterns of Caribbean cruise ships. Actually, there is 100th year Lusitania Remembered cruise on Cunard’s new Queen Victoria coming up in May. It’s vitally important we document the reduced albedo from this new ship.

  31. Have these flockers EVER been to sea ?
    They seem not to have any perspective of the scale involved ….

    • This Tower of Bubble described here is obviously a drunken “Let’s see how gullible the campaigners are” stunt, but having spent a few years at sea, I say it’s ridiculous on its face. A quick glance at the Beaufort scale shows that whitecaps (wind and sea-generated bubbles) begin at about 10-12 kts of wind, which quickly dwarf anything a ship can put out.
      As at least one commenter here has suggested, this is a bunch of do-gooders spending other people’s money. These people already show contempt for seafarers: I can’t tell you how many times I went out of the snug pilothouse into the cold, rain or heat to take a temperature reading and log it so that it could be ignored by climate modelers with an agenda and a deficit of ethics.
      Let’s keep the pressure on stopping oil, sewage and garbage pollution by seagoing vessels and pay nothing but derision to the bubblers.

  32. “But the team behind this study said that if the bubbles in the froth were smaller in size, the watery trail would be even brighter.”
    That would also have the effect of making them more visible from above.
    And look, the wakes would be visible for longer:
    “More importantly, it would also stick around for much longer: the bubbles could last for up to 24 hours, compared with an average lifetime of a few minutes for ordinary bubbles.”
    read: Shipping lane control and taxation.

    • Zeke
      Unhappily, I think you are right.
      A longer-term aim, of course, but with satellites and drones it’ll be easy to see who has gone where, identify them visually, and tax them.
      The IMO has imposed low-sulphur fuels in ‘Emission Control Areas’; it’s costing us some two or three million dollars per ship: our charterers will also have to pay another two hundred dollars [ISH] a tonne for low-sulphur bunkers (where they can get it). Our ships will burn a couple of hundred tonnes a day. Guess what this does to the cost of the energy [LNG] we carry, and to the retail index.
      We will also have to fit, somehow, ballast water treatment systems – able to treat, on our ships, some 50,000 tons of ballast water, to make sure it doesn’t carry any invasive species or toxins, etc {Big tankers, bulkers etc. may carry 120,000 tonnes of ballast on a ‘ballast voyage’] And we have to reduce our fuel use, despite having to pump all this water in and out – often through filters [on some systems] that raise back-pressure, and so fuel consumption..
      The oceans are vast – even the UNCTAD figure [my post above] of 105,000 ships [of all sizes] is less than one ship for every thousand-plus square miles.
      Kent, in the SE of England, is about 1,440 square miles: ten Kents, fourteen ships [of all sizes].
      I don’t know.
      If this bubble-licious hypothesis may reduce fuel consumption [and saw-toothed propeller trailing edges is a new one on me – let’s see] shipping will go for it – if cost effective . . . .
      Half a degree of cooling? I reserve judgement, but am happy to be identified as sceptical on that!
      And – let’s be honest, warming of a degree or two will be nice – better crops, longer growing seasons, fewer un-necessary deaths from the cold in the Northern Hemisphere, at least [sorry Larry Geary, December 28, 2014 at 8:23 am ], and perhaps even nicer weather here in the UK (perhaps, right?).
      Global cooling – even a couple of degrees – will come with those benefits reversed. Lots of bad news. especially if the watermelons are still getting productive land turned over to bio-ethanol – rather than human food; lots will die, I guess, if food staple prices are hiked in the ‘Third World’, but with fewer foods in local surplus, less food will be available for trade [and carriage overwhelmingly by sea] for the poor of the world.
      But isn’t that what the watermelons want?
      I am not a lawyer – but can anyone indicate at what point a failed – or failing – attempt at the biggest fraud in history tips over into actual genocide?
      Auto, pretty depressed by the watermelons’ future. Surely we can do better?

      • FWIW I was Cargo Engineer on two classes of 125,00 cubic meter LNG tankers, with El Paso in the Algeria to east coast and with ETC in the Indonesia to Japan trades. The El Paso tankers were set up to burn 100% natural gas at sea. The ETC ships could only burn the boil off to control tank pressure. Still, it made up about 50% of our at-sea fuel requirements. So, you COULD run an LNG tanker on the cargo but it would reduce the revenue. I also sailed with a Chief Mate who was on a coal bulk carrier in the Newport News to Boston (??) trade. They also fueled the ship from the cargo ( but we don’t want to go there! !)
        Steambat Jack

  33. This is not as ridiculous or trivial as it seems at first glance. Like Willis, I have spent 1/3 of my life living aboard boats and ships at sea.
    Not only would the micro-bubbles reflect back energy from the sun, preventing it from being absorbed into the top few millimeters of the oceans — but the “secondary” benefit described in the original article is probably really the primary benefit. Dispersing micro-bubbles under the hull of a ship at the bow (front) gives this: “The Japanese are already experimenting with micro-bubbles under ships’ hulls to make them more streamlined and more fuel-efficient. …. This could have a double benefit.” Like the “bulbous bow” it could provide a pretty big fuel savings, which means less CO2 emission as well.

    • Unlike Willis he didn’t gain any logical thought processes for his long time at sea. He must be a believer who never sees anything wrong with any stupid research providing it supports the global warming scam or is supported by a computer programme.

      • George, Kip,
        Bubbles under the hull has been around for a bit – I remember this from a (UK) ‘Tomorrow’s World’ TV programme, an edition in about 1970 – very roughly.
        That, however, suggests to me that there is little or no net benefit – commercial shipping will have used it if it was cost-effective, even only when designed in at the planning stage, I am sure.
        I see the squeeze on budgets every day – since the 1973 oil price squeeze at least . . .
        Ships have large whetted areas, remember – our bigger LNG carriers have a whetted area of some 18000 metres square – & most of that is under more than one bar pressure even to get the gas to the outside of the hull [a soccer pitch (per FIFA) has an area of 5000 to {I think} 12000 metres square].
        Plainly there will be a cost involved. With oil at $60/barrel, the need for economies is not quite so pressing – but ‘Every Little Helps’, as the Big Shop says.

    • “This is not as ridiculous or trivial as it seems at first glance…”
      No, it’s far, far stupider. If you’ve observed the sea for long, you’ve noticed that its effective albedo is not constant. Albedo varies with wind velocity and direction, air and water temperature, surface tension, plankton content, pollutant concentrations, air humidity, solar zenith angle, and time of day. There is no way to capture this system in a climate model based solely on physical principles. The local variations from hour to hour dwarf the effect of trailing a line of bubbles into insignificance.
      The script for an AGW scientist’s biopic should be written by Woody Allen.

  34. Figure out a way to make this benefit the ship owners. If the bubble-machine can be shown to make the ship more efficient and burn less fuel per voyage, shipping companies will line up to install these machines on new ships and to refit older ships as they come in. Trucking companies already have hardware on their tractors and trailers that help direct airflow and save them money, IF it can be demonstrated that bubbles help ships cost less to operate the idea will sell.
    Otherwise, it’s a “Green Pipe Dream” and will die of its own weight when it can’t be shown to be of any real benefit.

    • Reply to mjms… ==> Apparently, that’s what they have been working on….injecting tiny bubbles under the hull at the bow “coating” the hull bottom is what this bit means: “The Japanese are already experimenting with micro-bubbles under ships’ hulls to make them more streamlined and more fuel-efficient.”.
      It is a lot like the tractor trailer trucks adding wind panels under the trailers, curved tops on the cabs, etc…ten percent fuel savings here, ten percent there.

      • …ten percent fuel savings here, ten percent there.
        Yup, then the fuel tanks overflow 🙂
        A typical catch-22.

  35. It would likely be found that those tiny bubbles increase the rate of CO2 mixing with sea water leading to greater calls to control acidification of the oceans.

  36. Great idea! Let’s also have the climatologists ride around on their bicycles wearing foil hats. Think of the albedo…

  37. This idea from the AGU doesn’t impress me. And it doesn’t seem to impress anyone. Not surprising as it has been selected from the AGU as a comical mis-step.
    Fine, I like a laugh.
    But what was the best presentation from the AGU?

  38. Doesn’t the US Navy have a system to emit bubbles around the hull to mask a ship from passive sonar?

      • Thank you neilszoo. I did read about this in a Tom Clancy novel, but I see he at least did some research. In any case, it would seem we already have a population of vessels fitted with a system that could serve to gather some real empirical (as opposed to CGI green screen modelled) data on just how much difference there is in the wake of a bubbly ship vs. a plain, ordinary non-bubbly ship.
        Too bad. I was looking forward to a grant to study ship wake albedo in Caribbean cruise ships.

    • No, killer whales do. When a pod hears the savage violent outburst from a Navy sonar, they blow bubbles and swim away keeping the bubbles between themselves and the amplifier. No dummies, those killer whales…

    • Well I would think the bubble generator would make much more acoustic noise, for a passive sonar to detect, and I think you meant active sonar, which bubbles might interfere with. The bubble idea is essentially to put an “anti reflection” coating on the steel hull, which would likely want to have a acoustic refractive index, that is intermediate between water and steel.

    • During WWII US subs were equipped with system that would emit a wall of bubbles that would in theory confuse active enemy sonar. Not sure it was very effective. I was aboard one of the last diesel subs for exercises off of Hawaii in 1962. No such system was used or mentioned. Submariners do not want to waste the precious compressed air to make bubbles. The want it to be instantly available for purging the water ballast tanks to surface quickly if needed.

  39. mjmsprt40 said, “Otherwise, it’s a “Green Pipe Dream” and will die of its own weight when it can’t be shown to be of any real benefit.”
    Yes, like wind, solar and waves. Precedent would seem to indicate that the Green lobby simply doubles down when it becomes obvious their schemes are useless.

  40. Seawater is obviously not part of The Team. Seawater needs to recalibrate its density, viscosity ( kinematic and static) and other fluid properties so as to be part of Team Gaia. As for ships – pah. Obviously they should be banned and operators sent for re-education and the planet destroying, shipbuilding industries shut down.

  41. Ursus Augustus
    December 28, 2014 at 1:01 pm
    Hey – not tooo toooo quick with that – I’ve still a few years to retirement . . .
    Mods – UA doesn’t need a /SARC tag for the ending of global trade in energy, fuels, foods – and consumer goods. Mule trains do not compare with ships at getting goodies from China into the decadent West . . . .

    • Hitler, Stalin felt no shame. They were self-appointed messiahs who thought their causes were noble. Does that answer your question?

  42. Perhaps it`s time to stop farting around and smother the oceans with white polystyrene beads………
    Gone would be hurricanes,monsoons and the like and soon we would be able to drive the SUV across those icy plains – it`s a must do!!!

  43. I think the tiny bubbles affect is similar to a child thinking he can make the ocean larger by bringing glasses of tap water from his beach cottage to the ocean. Technically the child is making the ocean larger at that moment, but imperceptibly so, obviously without significance. It is good thing that children can create rich fantasy play.
    In terms of childish play, maybe these researchers can calculate the sea level rise from the 32,000 ships or better yet calculate sea level rise based on how many people go swimming at the same time.

  44. The Japanese are already experimenting with micro-bubbles under ships’ hulls to make them more streamlined [ … ]

    What a load of codswallop … we have been doing this with racing yachts for years but it has nothing to do with “streamlined”, micro bubbles won’t do that, only the hull design will. What micro bubbles will do is break the skin tension bond between the water and the hull surface. We don’t use mechanical bubbles, but rely on the ‘skin friction’ to cause micro bubbles to form a layer between the hull and the water.

  45. Gentlemen and ladies…… Before we get too carried away with the math, analogies, possible improvements, and other disclosure, could we please get some funding in place (government preferred, maybe crowd sourcing… maybe both?). I think we could set up a small group of investors, milk this for at least a couple months in study, get a half dozen or so peer reviewed published articles, get some IP in place, get into a lecture circuit, and issue a few shares amongst ourselves, and float this to market via an IPO by year end, or 1st quarter 2016 latest, and then retire. Who’s on board?

  46. Ah Ha! Gottcha Yea. I knew I would. Happy Holy Days from Iceland (ah ah cough cough uh yh oh yea)

  47. It really is enough to make you ashamed to be British. Well done Leeds. You have sunk to a new low that matches UEA and its subsidiary of the creative writing department they label climate science.

  48. Scientists from University of Leeds, UK, say this would create a brighter wake behind a vessel and reflect more sunlight back into space.

    Do these tiny man-made bubbles on the Earth’s surface reflect sunlight directly into the space? Without it getting stuck somewhere in between with a positive feedback and all? Brits often have a great way of bringing things forward and University of Leeds seems no exception.

    • I do my bit to help green the earth by releasing as much CO2 from bottles as I can without causing my brain to shrink..

  49. “Scientists from Leeds” appear to have never seen or heard of waves, especially wind swept waves.
    Didn’t there use to be places to house people like this to keep them out of our misery?

  50. A college & grad school buddy of mine with a distinguished chair at a prominent engineering university got a grant to study painting roofs white to make up for lost Arctic sea ice albedo.

  51. The size of ship wakes relative to the planet and the incoming solar radiation is so miniscule it would make literally ZERO difference, this is obvious to anyone with a brain.
    0.5 degrees is just flat out wrong.

  52. At our municipal wastewater treatment plant one of the stages involves oxygenation with micro-bubbles. It does not look at all like ordinary bubbles, more like a grey/milky tone to the water.
    Problem with the idea of such bubbles reflecting sunlight is that they rise very slowly to the surface, and probably won’t reflect much while a meter or two below the surface. A ship’s wake by contrast is bright white because the bubbles rise to the surface as fast as they can.

  53. Honestly, it is so sad to see this climate nonsense descending to such pathetic levels!
    Bubbles … a mere nothing-impact in the context of changes brought about by natural climate variability.

  54. Those of us who look at visual images from GOES-W satellites frequently; e.g., California Regional Weather Server (http://virga.sfsu.edu) see ship tracks at times in cloudless areas. These particular tracks are due to the hot (moisture and condensation nuclei laden) exhaust from the ships. I think these tracks are larger, longer lasting, and more visible (to a satellite) than the ships’ wake in the water. Still negligible to climate, however.

  55. Apparently this study ignores the greatest source of bubbles — wind, not ships. Average winds in the trades are between 13 to 25 knots. These are whitecap speeds. Large bubble speeds. And the trades cover far more area than 32,000 ships. The trades cover roughly 30 degrees north and south with small band (about 200 nm wide at the equator — the doldrums. If you ever fly to Hawaii you will see this effect and you will also see why it is so difficult for search and rescue planes to spot a white boat.
    A Category 2 hurricane will leave a 100 mile swath of disturbed water. Sounds like this guy has never been to sea.

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