Particulates, Aerosols, And Climate: The More Important Story

Guest opinion: Dr. Tim Ball [1]

The article “US Senate Considering Albedo Modification Geoengineering Proposal” appeared as I finished this article. It commented on the plan to introduce particles into the atmosphere to increase the reflective capability of the Earth’s atmosphere known as the albedo. Most responses correctly identified it as unwise. Isn’t it already happening? Jet contrails from commercial airline flights reduce the amount of sunlight that makes it to the surface, as this satellite image shows:

Jet contrails as seen by satellite. Credit NASA Langley Research Center

Jet contrails as seen by satellite. Credit: NASA Langley Research Center

The Senate proposal is not new. In 2009, John Holdren pushed the same idea as a Daily Mail story headlined “Obama may fire pollution particles into stratosphere to deflect sun’s heat in desperate bid to tackle global warming” (Figure 1).

The controversial experiment was touted yesterday as a possible last resort to help cool the Earth’s air by the president’s new science advisor John Holdren.

‘It’s got to be looked at. We don’t have the luxury of taking any approach off the table,’ said Mr Holdren, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology.

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Figure 1, Original caption: “Sunscreen: Could its rays be deflected as a last resort to beat global warming?”

Actions without thought or concern for the consequences are the pattern as political agendas ignore facts or logic. Adding particulates to the atmosphere is another dangerous and unnecessary proposal.

Issues about particulates all relate to a lack of data or knowledge about their role in the atmosphere and their effect on climate and climate change. The challenge is underscored because changing albedo is just one component of their role.

First, there is the issue of the difference between aerosols and particulates. The IPCC only makes the distinction between Working Groups. In the Physical Science Basis Report of Working Group I (WG-I) they only refer to aerosols. The Impact, Adaptation, and Vulnerability Report of Working Group II (WG-II) refers to particulates. The WG-I Glossary only lists a definition of aerosols.

A suspension of airborne solid or liquid particles, with a typical size between a few nanometres and 10 μm that reside in the atmosphere for at least several hours. For convenience the term aerosol, which includes both the particles and the suspending gas, is often used in this report in its plural form to mean aerosol particles. Aerosols may be of either natural or anthropogenic origin. Aerosols may influence climate in several ways: directly through scattering and absorbing radiation (see Aerosol–radiation interaction) and indirectly by acting as cloud condensation nuclei or ice nuclei, modifying the optical properties and lifetime of clouds (see Aero- sol–cloud interaction).

The use of the term particulates in WG-II is apparently related to the health impacts. This is primarily a function of particle size and the ability to enter the lungs.

The atmosphere is composed mostly of gases, but also contains liquid and solid matter in the form of particles. It is usual to distinguish these particles according to their size, chemical composition, water content and fall velocity into atmospheric aerosol particles, cloud particles and falling hydrometeors. Despite their small mass or volume fraction, particles in the atmosphere strongly influence the transfer of radiant energy and the spatial distribution of latent heating through the atmosphere, thereby influencing the weather and climate.

Wikipedia offers a compromise definition.

Atmospheric particulate matter – also known as particulate matter (PM) or particulates – are microscopic solid or liquid matter suspended in the Earth’s atmosphere. The term aerosol commonly refers to the particulate/air mixture, as opposed to the particulate matter alone.

Either way, the IPCC acknowledges the importance of aerosols.

Aerosol particles interact with solar radiation through absorption and scattering and, to a lesser extent with terrestrial radiation through absorption, scattering and emission.

An early attempt to classify aerosols by size and therefore their effect is shown in Figure 2.

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Figure 2; Source: Encyclopedia of Climatology

The problem is each particle reacts differently depending on its size, shape, molecular structure and the angle of incidence of the solar radiation among other things. The reactions are physical and chemical, and they change all the time. For example, a cloud has H2O as a gas, liquid and solid, as well as dust particles of varying sizes and all are constantly changing in volume and form. What happens to the reactive properties of a cloud when water vapor surrounds one of those dust particles (condensation nuclei) and becomes a water droplet? What happens when convective motion takes the cloud above the freezing level and ice crystals form?

Particle differences are important as they affect shortwave (SWR) incoming solar radiation and long-wave outgoing radiation (LWR) as the IPCC acknowledge in Figure 3 from AR5

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Figure 3.

When determining anthropogenic global warming or climate change, it is inadequate to say that you can work out the net effect at the top or bottom of the cloud or the atmosphere. Effectively isolating AGW to a single cause forces us to know the effects of change of every single variable. However, as the IPCC note,

Owing to inter-annual variability, long-term trends in aerosols from natural sources are more difficult to identify (Mahowald et al., 2010).

So they are forced to conclude,

Thus, confidence is low for global satellite derived AOD (Aerosol optical depth) trends over these relatively short time periods.

You can’t identify the human influence if you don’t know the natural. In a good summary of the problems associated with aerosols NASA concludes;

Scientists have much to learn about the way aerosols affect regional and global climate. We have yet to accurately quantify the relative impacts on climate of natural aerosols and those of human origin. Moreover, we do not know in what regions of the planet the amount of atmospheric aerosol is increasing, is diminishing, and is remaining roughly constant. Overall, we are even unsure whether aerosols are warming or cooling our planet.

Wow, warming or cooling is unknown?

Contrary to popular understanding, virtually all numbers used in climate studies are estimates. Look at the values assigned to different components of the energy flow diagram based on Trenberth’s original (Figure 4). The values for “Absorbed by Atmosphere” is 67 Wm2. Others provide a different value. Figure 5 is a recent work of WG-I Co-chairs of the IPCC Report, Martin Wild and Norman Loeb. It shows a value of 79 Wm2 for atmospheric absorption, but this is with a range of estimates from 74 to 91 Wm2.

 

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Figure 4

The role and impact of aerosols in the atmosphere is large. 107 Wm2 reflected and 67 Wm2 absorbed is 174 Wm2 is the crude estimate of the total of 342 Wm2 incoming solar radiation that either doesn’t heat the Earth or indirectly heats the atmosphere. Only a small variation in these variables causes energy balance variations that swamp those attributed to human produced CO2. Apparently there is no value for the amount of long wave absorbed by aerosols in the atmosphere. Is it part of the Back Radiation?

 

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Original Caption: Best estimates of the global mean energy balance components together with their uncertainty ranges, representing present day climate. Surface estimates based on the analyses presented in this study. TOA estimates from Loeb et al. (2009). Units Wm-2 (From Wild et al., submitted)

Figure 5.

The values given in Figures 4 and 5 are for energy flows, but what is not explained is the amount of aerosols. The IPCC only examines human sources of aerosols as their mandate dictates, but there is a massive and constantly varying volume of materials in the atmosphere. There are very few estimates of the actual amount of atmospheric material. Mitchell (1973) estimated the total amount of dust, smoke and other particles as approximately 40 million tons. In 1970 Hubert Lamb published an important article, “Volcanic dust in the atmosphere; with a chronology and assessment of its meteorological significance.” From this he evolved a Dust Veil Index (DVI), a quantification of changes in atmospheric composition and its impact on the Earth’s energy balance.

It appears that some of the AGW proponents realize the DVI is important. As Bob Tisdale reported apparently, Michael Mann saw it as an opportunity to sway the statistics and data on global warming. Simple theory says particulates reduce sunlight reaching the ground. The reality is we have little idea how the DVI varies over time or how aerosols affect temperature as Steve Goddard discussed around the Mauna Loa data in Figure 6.

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Figure 6

Compare this with the latest data plot in Figure 7. The word “Apparent” is significant.

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Major issues not generally considered are how the changing atmospheric content alters the percentages of effects on incoming solar and outgoing long wave radiation. There are three major effects when radiation strikes the aerosol, absorption, reflection, and scattering. Any changes in the numbers and form of the aerosol will create a different response; for example, the phase change of H2O between gas, liquid and solid.

The effect of change, such as an increase in the DVI, will differ depending on the trend of temperature at the time. There is a study of a historical example of what happens when a singular event exacerbates cooling.

In 1992 we organized a conference in Ottawa to analyze the climate impacts of the Indonesian volcano Tambora. It was the largest eruption in historic times and considered the cause of the history-changing record cold year of 1816, the “The Year Without a Summer.” John Eddy presented the keynote paper.

Eddy identified the cooling associated with the lack of sunspots from 1790 to 1830 known as the Dalton Minimum. This meant global temperatures were falling before volcanic cooling was added in 1815. The cooling due to the volcanic dust injected into the atmosphere amplified a cooling trend. What would be the difference if the global trend was warming?

One factor not considered is the impact of changes on the frequencies of sunlight in the visible spectrum. Whether the solar radiation is absorbed, reflected, or scattered is primarily determined by the relationship between the wavelength of the spectrum and the size of the particle. The sky is blue because the size of the most prominent molecules in the atmosphere is the same as the wavelength of blue light. Change the size of the particles in the atmosphere and the sky colour changes as evidenced by red skies in the lower atmosphere with a low sun angle.

Much volcanic ash that reaches high altitudes is sulfur. There it becomes condensation nuclei that create yellow water droplets, which filter out the yellow portion of the sunlight. I witnessed the effect while driving across the Canadian Prairies in the fall of 1992. The eruption was in 1991, but it takes a year for the global distribution of the high altitude effect. Most crops were still unripened in the first week of September because the yellow portion of the spectrum is critical. This is why you need special neon tubes to grow plants. Farmers resorted to adding a desiccant to dry out the plant to facilitate harvesting.

Wind speed is another weather variable that receives inadequate attention. It is a major determinant of the amount of dust in the atmosphere. Deserts are the windiest climate regions and therefore contribute a great deal of atmospheric dust. Similarly, evaporation increases with wind speed over the ocean thus increasing salt particles in the atmosphere.

Aerosol effects are generally measured by comparing observations of reflected and transmitted sunlight between satellite sensors and ground sensors. The few observations available produce columnar data, which are then used in models to simulate what they think is happening. The Global Earth Observation and Monitoring GEOMON started in 2006 underscored the inadequacies.

The wider question is,

“What are the global trends of atmospheric composition from ground-based and satellite observations assimilated in modelling studies, and what key measurements should be added for reducing uncertainties on surface emissions and atmospheric processes?”

Many factors cause climate change, but only a few are considered in the current scientific debate and most are based on estimated or inadequate data. The role of aerosols in the atmosphere are little known, measured or understood.

The proposal to add particulates to offset warming is the environmental equivalent of adding to the debt to get out of debt, only worse. Despite this, politicians demonstrate their lack of knowledge of the science by proposing to play God. Maybe they should wait until there is enough space debris to block the sun and cause cooling.


[1] This article is a composite of two published at the Friends of Science web page and on my web page.

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162 thoughts on “Particulates, Aerosols, And Climate: The More Important Story

  1. Slow, gentle, comfortable warming is not what should worry us; a sudden tip back into a Little Ice Age or worse would make what we have now look like the Garden of Eden. We have nowhere near enough information yet about the climate to start messing with it; this message needs to get at least to those GOP members of the House and Senate who might be more open than others to listening to us.

    Tipping us into the next glaciation is NOT where we want to go . . .

  2. ‘Contrails’….. the First thing that leapt into my head is that some idiot is going to respond with ‘chemtrails!’ ‘Conspiracy!’
    …. but that’s just me.

    • “… the First thing that leapt into my head …”

      Ring the bell; the dog salivates ; )

      • Did it, I missed that, strange tho, which chemtrails conspiracy theory, I think there is like 10 of them :D
        Still the label is designed to shut down rational debate, if you remember you jumped all over 800 refueling tankers and were shown to be incorrect, that’s because you just reverted to “its all a conspiracy theory” instead of just confirming if something is true or not.

      • I said that I doubted there were 800 aerial tankers in the world, and someone produces a list that shows that a bit over 900 have been built. No mention of how many of those were still in service.

        Are you really that desperate?

    • That’s because they misinterpret the change in contrails, and yes that is actually a fact that contrails have changed as sulfur in jet fuel has been increased, some fuel has 3000ppm sulfur in fuel. It depends on the fuel any given plane is using as to the effects left by their contrails I suspect.

      So even if geoengineering is out the actual drive for increased sulfur content, I believe it’s for extra pressure, the fact is long lasting contrails that spread out over large areas when airtraffic is persistent does have an effect, as shown in the image by the OP, the albedo effect is significant as is the added aerosols creating different types of clouds with smaller droplets because of sulfates.
      http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/Aerosols/page4.php

      • I think you have 1 too many zeros there. Aviation fuel specs are almost universally 300 PPM total sulfur. 400 in Canada.

        Many places are as tight as 100 ppm.

        Allowable sulphur has been going down in all fuels, not up.

    • I have been watching jets high in the sky for most of my 70 years. It has only been in the last 20 or so that I have been watching these “wall to wall” trails behind airplanes. If someone would be so kind as to truly explain why ice particles do not sublimate in high, dry air now but did 40 years ago, I would love to know it. Contrails, I always thought was condensation coming off the wings and tail fins, being squeezed out of the air by the forward motion of the plane, and turned to ice crystals by the semi-vacuum behind them. Now they are attributed to the volume of air passing through the jet’s engines. Yes, the plane carries 10s of thousands of gallons of fuel, but just exactly how much water do you truly think is being pushed through those jets, and why does water through the jet engine persist where the contrails off the wings don’t? and finally, would you also please explain why you will see one of these trails suddenly stop, while you continue to see contrails that quickly vanish, and then as equally suddenly, start up again further across the sky? Pretend what you like, that is not strictly ice crystals, and you can take your cute “conspiracy comment” and do what every pleases you the most.

      • Water is one of the combustion products.
        I urge anyone who has any doubts to break out a pair of binoculars or, better yet, a telescope and observe the process directly.
        I have watched videos of WWII bomber squadrons filling the entire sky with contrails as they flew from Britain to Germany.
        So I think, Tom, that you memory on this is perhaps faulty.
        I have not been alive for 70 years, but I can remember seeing them as a child in the 1960s.

      • It took me all of five seconds to open you tube and find this video. I am sure if one spent some time one could find films taken on days with excellent contrail forming conditions:

    • Wrong on both counts. There is no evidence that it is dangerous (but plenty that it is beneficial), and we don’t have a choice – fossil fuels are, and will remain our main source of energy for a long time.

      • I don’t get your both counts argument. What do you mean? I said/implied Tim likes IPCC regarding aerosols, but not when it comes to CO2.

      • CO2 is an essential trace molecule of the atmosphere, currently at quite low levels for its purpose in the Carbon Cycle of sustaining plant life.

      • “Steven Mosher April 24, 2016 at 8:02 pm

        How can a trace gas have any impact whatsoever?”

        Lung and brain cannot function without it. Plants cannot grow without it. We cannot live without it. Pretty big impact IMO!

      • Mosh’ says “goose meet gander”.

        Trace elements in food and water can be very important. We need very little but we do NEED them. That does not contradict the question about a trace atmospheric gas being the “dominant” factor which determines climate.

        Looks like you just goosed your gander.

      • Do I need to point out that there are dyes will turn an entire lake dark blue by adding one pint to several acre-feet?
        The reason this is done is to prevent aquatic weed growth by blocking sunlight from reaching plants growing under the water.
        Small concentrations of certain molecules can have huge effects.
        In the case of CO2 and life…hey, life has had billions of years to adapt to decreasing CO2 levels.
        Think it is easy?
        Then try to invent a way (another way!) yourself to get CO2 out of the air using only sunlight as an energy source.
        Good luck.

      • Mosh.. you have just proven that you are zero-knowledge salesman.. nothing more..

        so much for you being a pseudo-scientist.

        CO2 is absolutely ESSENTIAL for life on Earth, and yes, for life to REALLY do its best, it requires 800ppm atmospheric CO2 at least.

      • BEST really has erased all rational thought from your mind, haven’t they, Mosh.

        I’ve said it before, you really, desperately, need to get out while you have just a tiny skerrick of intelligence and integrity left.

      • Do you notice how Mosh is trying to claim that if one skeptic says it, all skeptics believe it.

        He really is that desperate.

      • “Do you notice how Mosh is trying to claim that if one skeptic says it, all skeptics believe it.

        He really is that desperate.”

        SInce you think this is sign of desparation, does this mean we will no longer have claims here that if one climate scientist says it, all climate scientists must believe it? For example, one climate scientist said that snow in England might become a thing of the past. The conclusion – climate science is wrong. One climate scientist says the Arctic might (might that is – not definitely) be ice free in summer by 2016. Conclusion – climate science is all wrong.

        I wholeheartedly agree that we should not over-generalise, but it must work both ways.

      • Notice how seaice is trying to equate a random poster at a blog to leaders of the warmista movement.
        Are they all really that desperate?

      • “Do I need to point out that there are dyes will turn an entire lake dark blue by adding one pint to several acre-feet?”

        Not for me. But how many meters of CO2 (say, at sea level pressure) that is dark in the infrared have been added to the atmosphere?

    • I don’t understand your concern. These things we know (empirically):

      1. CO2 is beneficial to all plant life, and thus to all life on Earth

      2. Commercial growers increase CO2 in hothouses to enhance growth, flowering, and plant yield

      3. Increased CO2 reduces leaf stomata and reduces water demand by plants

      4. Atmospheric CO2 shows no correlation to global temperature over geologic time (GEOCARB project)

      5. Atmospheric CO2 shows no correlation to global temperature over the instrumental temperature record

      6. Increase in atmospheric CO2 since 1995 (about 15%) correlates with NO statistical global warming

      The only rational conclusion from these empirically documented conditions is that CO2 exerts very limited influence on global atmospheric temperature

      Oh, and by the way, the geologic and historical records also show that warmer conditions are generally beneficial to mankind and are correlated with less erratic weather.

      If you object/disagree, please cite specific evidence.

      • I’ll respond in the same way as you.

        Tim Ball is fine with the IPCC report when he can make a case about aerosols. He is not fine with the IPCC when it is about CO2.

        Oh, I didn’t answer your whatabouteries. :)

      • Thank you GeoJim,

        for this well put overview of our sure knowlegde about CO2 and the pros of a warmer climate.

        Later generations will realize that CO2 is not the villain but the hero !!! They will surely LOL very much about our mad time and its ruling anti-human eco-ideology…

      • And maybe quit calling CO2 Carbon. And maybe quit calling CO2 pollution. Stop calling petroleum “dirty energy”. Maybe (as someone else suggested), stop calling oil – fossil fuels; it’s not from fossils.

      • Wagen at 2:59pm

        Your response tells me that you are a jerk

        I asked “If you object/disagree, please cite specific evidence”, and you give me BS about something entirely different.

        If you can’t answer the questions with specific evidence, you’re just another mindless greenie-troll

        Challenge: Cite one, only one, published study that unequivocally links human-caused increased CO2 to global temperature increase.

        Waiting . . . . still waiting. There is absolutely no empirical evidence of such a causative connection.

        All you clowns have to cite is “model results”, which is the equivalent of appealing to fictional plotlines. Much like Tinkerbell or Harry Potter’s magic wand.

        Come back when you have actual facts

      • @ geologyjim, 2:40 pm, re point 3. I made the same point about C02 a few weeks ago and got attacked fairly viciously ( on e-mail) about that fact. The point the person made that because of the the reduced size of stomata the person said it actually made plants unhealthier, I am not a biologist but an ex farmer with family in the green house business, they said that was BS the fact that plants are more vigorous they actually take up more nutrients and are healthier, any comment?

      • Asybot.. raised CO2 levels allow the plant to reduce the number of stomata needed to take in the same amount of CO2 while reducing transpiration of H2O.

        At around 250ppm they are packed in as tight as the plant can pack them, maximum water loss.
        Below 200ppm, plants are basically non-functional.

        As you know from agricultural greenhouses, plants LOVE 800ppm plus !!!

      • I meant, “most” plants ie C3 types..

        C4 plants developed in a lower CO2 environment and have an extra process that allows them to survive on lower CO2 levels.

      • GeologyJim April 24, 2016 at 5:25 pm

        “Your response tells me that you are a jerk.”
        Jim, you are being baited.

        “I asked “If you object/disagree, please cite specific evidence”, and you give me BS about something entirely different.”

        Perhaps true, but also clever. He is trying to equate CO2 to Particulate “molecules”. On the one hand we list CO2 as a GHG, a naturally occurring molecule. What we define as Particulate matter is open to debate in so far as it is man made or natural. It’s not if a given molecule is harmful or not, but rather its origins.
        For example, you can dump a 100 lbs of iron dust into the ocean off the coast of British Columbia. You can call it “particulate matter” or fertilizer. In the end the terminology is irreverent. The only question left in this matter is do you prefer malt vinegar or tarter sauce on your fish.

        michael :-D

      • Replying to Wagen is akin to getting mad at a child sticking out his tongue at you and screaming “neaner, neaner” while putting his fingers on the end of his nose.
        Except a little kid has the excuse of being a little kid.

      • “Your response tells me that you are a jerk”

        Thank you!

        “I asked “If you object/disagree, please cite specific evidence”, and you give me BS about something entirely different.”

        Because I was not talking about that!

        “If you can’t answer the questions with specific evidence, you’re just another mindless greenie-troll”

        So, because you want to direct the argument in the way you want, which has nothing to do with what I commented on, I am a greenie-troll. Nice! :)

    • Jet engines have been spewing out aerosols for decades and you lot dont seem to mind.

      The pollution creates a lot of clouds and sprays sulfates into the stratosphere.

      The Satellite image should give you pause, that’s one snapshot, a moment in time, think decades of that daily effect that has only grown in intensity as air travel increases.

      But you see, real pollution doesn’t seem to interest you CAGWers :D

      • Someone is smarting from the spanking he’s taken.

        Who gets to define what real pollution is?
        Who gets to define how much is tolerable?

        There’s a big difference between a side affect of a desireable economic activity vs doing so deliberately.
        Of course when you are desperate, reasonable differences must be discarded.

  3. So we don’t have a good idea of what aerosols are doing at current levels, and Holdren wants to avert something that probably isn’t happening at a hazardous level by doing something he has no good idea of the effects of. Sounds like a sterotypic governent program:-)

  4. Another approach would be to require everyone to smoke, eliminate all technical devices that reduce particulate matter in auto exhaust and smoke stacks. Make it illegal to use natural gas instead of coal or wood. Require everyone to incinerate their trash. These actions will increase particulate matter in the atmosphere with the added benefit of helping to reduce excess human population. Another approach would be to paint surfaces white. White paint on the surface of something is a lot longer lived then particulate matter in the atmosphere. One could compute how much paint it would take to reduce global temperatures one degree C. But should we really be trying to make things cooler? We are still warming up from the Little Ice Age but on a longer time scale the current interglacial period is slowly ending.

    • My two black cats have already volunteered to bleach their hair to WWF blond.
      What more can we reasonably do?

  5. “Obama may fire pollution particles into stratosphere to deflect sun’s heat in desperate bid to tackle global warming”

    What crisis has happened to make us Ssooo desperate? Where are the bodies piling up, that warrant such desperate and risky actions (by their own words)? GK

      • Ah, your POTUS, he’s just been over to the UK to threaten you’re best and most military competent friends, at the request of our great IGNORAMOUS, who is also afflicted by the heating sickness. Fortunately most Brits are as sensible as most Americans, so the air was filled with waving double finger salutes!

      • Jl, I sincerely hope that Obama’s meddling will be the final kick to get Brexit approved. With BHO for staying, it has to be the wrong thing to do.

  6. John Holdren himself said we could well be approaching the start of another ice age, and that CO2 could, ironically, actually be delaying that shift. But he also knows “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” Power and resources, those are the currencies on the table, not science or climate mitigation.

  7. ‘It’s got to be looked at. We don’t have the luxury of taking any approach off the table,’ said Mr Holdren, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology.
    ===============
    Wow.
    Desperation becomes its own trigger.
    Good thing he doesn’t have the ear of anyone in power.

    • “Good thing he doesn’t have the ear of anyone in power.”

      Tongue firmly in cheek there?

  8. Dr. Ball, I wrote about this extensively in eponymously named essay Blowing Smoke, in same named ebook. So, some additional observational facts.
    1. Whether a volcano can inject aerosols into the stratosphere (where they will persist) depends on VEI and latitude. Volcanic Explosive Index is violence. Latitude determines height of tropopause.
    2. Not all aerosols are created equal. BC 2.5 is NOT SO2.
    I agree that the proposal is stupidly unscientific. Adding pollution to abate ‘carbon pollution’ shows how addled warmunist ‘brains’ have become. But skeptics still need straight facts, not scrambled eggs.

    • ..The measure of “known unknowns” is huge, but the measure of “Unknown unknowns ” is astronomical !

      • Nick Stokes links to this silliness:

        A Nobel Prize-winning scientist has drawn up an emergency plan to save the world from global warming, by altering the chemical makeup of Earth’s upper atmosphere.

        That is tantamount to saying that a scientist who won awards for promoting Eugenics should be given credibility. Really, “altering the chemical makeup of the upper atmosphere”? I’m sure there wouldn’t be any unforseen side effects…

        Crutzen actually …believes that political attempts to limit man-made greenhouse gases are so pitiful that a radical… “escape route” is needed if global warming begins to run out of control.

        Since there is zero evidence that anything like that is happening, or about to happen, or would possibly happen, maybe Crutzen should be issued a government-approved butterfly net, and be released to a funny farm where he can be closely watched so he doesn’t get out and cause even more trouble.

        Really, Nick, where do you draw the line? Should every “What If” proposal be the subject of serious discussion? If you think so, can we vote on it? Because I think ristvan is right on-target: this is a stupidly unscientific proposal.

        If you disagree, tell us why, please. Be specific.

      • “If you disagree, tell us why, please.”,/i>
        ristvan, and now dbstealey, say it is stupidly unscientific. It is proposed by Paul Crutzen, Nobel Prize winning atmospheric physicist. In terms of what is scientific or not, I’ll go with Crutzen. But if you want to explain why it is
        unscientific, please do. A plot of temperatures in kelvin from zero is not an answer.

      • “Side-effects could be an increase in the destruction of the ozone layer and whitening of the sky, although the particles would make sunsets and sunrises more spectacular, he said.”

        Why would anyone listen to some academic clown that makes incomprehensibly nonchalant statements like that? Locking the dangerous old goat up in a fume cupboard somewhere and throwing away the key seems far more appropriate.

        “In January 2008, Crutzen published findings that the release of nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions in the production of biofuels means that they contribute more to global warming than the fossil fuels they replace.”

        Yet we’re still churning out millions of disgusting NOx generators at the express behest of the green blob. Didn’t we ought to be doing something about that first? Including said blob and its never ending lobbying for yet more academic ex-spurt inspired cock-ups. Well of course not, whatever would greenwashed EU car manufacturers do without their unending love affair with filthy diesel – not that the obvious outcome in urban environments was in any way predicatable of course. Unicorns chasing rabbit droppings … €€€€€€€€€€€ … Yodel-Ay-Ee-Oooo, Yodel-Ay-Ee-D

      • More appeals to authority.

        Sadly there are many who see the opportunity to play at God and find that possibility attractive. There is also the possibility of attracting large amounts of funding as long as they spin exaggerated dangers enough.

        Prof. Wadden is another one who wants to play God but is so stupid and ignorant that he was predicting Arctic sea ice would have disappeared by now. With a massive failure like that demonstrating his lack of grip of the subject, who would want to him start “experimenting” with global climate?

      • What ever happened to the “settled science” of Global Dimming. Climate scientist terrified the world into accepting that manmade particulates/aerosols caused the drought in the Sahel (The 1984 Ethiopian famine). I confess I have trouble trying to keep up! Now it seems we are not to be frightened at all about the prospect of deliberate Global Dimming!

      • Notice the appeal to authority that Nick tries to pull.
        The idea can’t possibly be stupid, because it was proposed by a Nobel Laureate.

        More evidence that warmists are incapable of independent thought.

      • Nick Stokes says:

        A plot of temperatures in kelvin from zero is not an answer.

        That doesn’t answer to my question. It’s just more deflection.

        Anyway, if you don’t like Kelvin, here’s a chart in ºF:

  9. They will fire some stuff into the air and when the temps rise ever so slightly and naturally because we are still emerging from the little ice age they will take credit for saving the earth.

    They will say our science of doom was 100% correct but thanks to us we saved everyone from frying alive.

    And there were some who called it a scam.

    Thankfully they are still in jail.

    • Yes indeed, they desperately need to take some physical action (before any significant cooling begins) which will then enable them to explain such cooling and why it is occurring. Kudos and awards will then follow. Disgusting display of ideology Trumping the science and well-being of the planet. GK

  10. Liberals have a tendency to only look at today, ignoring the rule of ” unintended consequences ” !

      • markstoval,

        Frederick Bastiat was the clearest economic thinker of the nineteenth century. Henry Hazlitt explained Bastiat’s ‘Broken Window Fallacy’.

        Bastiat’s essays can be found in his ‘Law’ series. They explain the problems of the State vs freedom, and the free market. It’s no wonder the Socialist/Communist element hates him so much.

      • dbstealey,

        Yes, I agree that Bastiat was one of the titans of economics as was von Mises and Murray Rothbard as well.

        I mentioned Hazlitt as he was so understandable and was a fairly modern American writer. I have seen very young people read Hazitt’s “Economics in one Lesson” and “get it”.

        Bastiat was one of the greats and his work taught me a lot. I am indebted to him.

    • Leftists consider themselves to be so smart that they are convinced they have already thought of and accounted for every possible consequence.

      The idea of unexpected consequences is completely foreign to their mindset.

  11. “Actions without thought or concern for the consequences are the pattern as political agendas ignore facts or logic. Adding particulates to the atmosphere is another dangerous and unnecessary proposal.”

    Actions without thought or concern for the consequences are the pattern as political agendas ignore facts or logic. Adding C02 to the atmosphere is another dangerous and unnecessary proposal.”

    • “In an effort to explain by scientific means the strange afflictions suffered by those “bewitched” Salem residents in 1692, a study published in Science magazine in 1976 cited the fungus ergot (found in rye, wheat and other cereals), which toxicologists say can cause symptoms such as delusions, vomiting and muscle spasms.”

    • Adding C02 to the atmosphere is another dangerous and unnecessary proposal.

      You have the same misunderstanding as Wagen upthread. We’re not deliberately adding CO2 to the atmosphere in order to change the temperature of the earth. We’re adding CO2 to the atmosphere as a consequence of staying alive and having a high quality of life.

      To stop putting CO2 in the atmosphere is a decision resulting in a low quality of life and massive death.

      You cannot equate the two in the manner you and Wagen have attempted.

      • It doesnt matter whether you are deliberately adding c02 to increase the temperature.
        The simple fact is this.
        1. You object to an experiment with unknown consequences on one hand
        2. you continue an experiment with known risks on the other hand

      • 1. You object to an experiment with unknown consequences on one hand

        No. I object to an experiment with unknown benefits and unknown risks

        2. you continue an experiment with known risks on the other hand

        No. I continue an experiment with known benefits, disastrous consequences of discontinuing, and unknown risks.

      • “you continue an experiment with known risks on the other hand”

        Mosh, there ARE NO KNOWN RISKS to a small increase in trace atmospheric CO2 levels.

        None, nada…. zip !!

        Only massive plant life BENEFITS.

      • “We’re adding CO2 to the atmosphere as a consequence of staying alive”

        That’s obviously not true.

        ” and having a high quality of life.”

        That may be true, but it crucially depends on what you consider “a high quality of life” to consist of.

    • “Adding C02 to the atmosphere is another dangerous and unnecessary proposal.”

      …… was the 120-year old conjecture now known from empirical data to be fallacious.

    • Steven Mosher April 24, 2016 at 3:27 pm
      Actions without thought or concern for the consequences are the pattern as political agendas ignore facts or logic. Adding C02 to the atmosphere is another dangerous and unnecessary proposal.”

      Actions without thought or concern for the consequences are the pattern as political agendas ignore facts or logic. diminishing the addition of beneficial C02 to the atmosphere is another dangerous and unnecessary proposal.”

      No more as-a-nine then your statement.
      Steven do you know the store of the two bulls standing at the fence?
      There is a distinct difference between those who see a potential problem and those who fix the problem. They are not the same people.
      Please think about this. Maybe we can talk.

      michael

    • So it isn’t necessary to add CO2 to the atmosphere?
      Are you proposing eliminating all power, or just the ones that work?

    • We know that plants do better with more CO2.
      We know that the earth flourished when CO2 levels were over 7000ppm.
      We know that over the geological record there is no correleation between temperature and CO2 levels.

      The number of unknowns are a lot less than what you wish to believe.

      • The video is not a joke. These persons are real scientists and they say what they think with their name and picture. Respect that for a while.

      • Hi Mark
        I often come across names of people featured in the video, and since I don’t know how truthful their comments are, so I left it without comment.
        On this side of the argument we need to know what the main objections are, if untrue they need to be strongly countered.
        On the other hand the video shows totally unconvincing defence of the surface records accuracy, sceptics have overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
        I would like to see Dr. Spencer and Dr. Christy to come out all guns blazing and shoot down all or most of their objections one by one, but equally if there are problems they need to be sorted out. Also, at the same time the warmists need to be hit hard on the surface records accuracy.
        The best and most convincing way would be to produce a re-edited video, where counter-arguments on both surface and satellite data accuracy would be edited in.
        Good video presentation is far more effective than a long paper with lot of statistics, since warmists obviously know that, the sceptics need to counter it just effectively.
        I hope there are not many doubts about my views, but despite the fact that the nature is on our side, we need to win this battle by telling truth and exposing l.i.e.s.

    • Satellite or Surface Temps: Which is More Accurate?
      ===================================
      It’s an absurd question, how do you test the accuracy of either?
      A better question: Observations or Models: Which are more Accurate?

      • I’ll answer my own question: surface temperatures are more accurate because they are a wee bit closer to the model output.
        Now that is being sarcastic but I’m sure that’s the reasoning of Mears, Hausfather, Trenberth et al.

      • Mr. Hanley
        I suppose few more corrections, global temperature data will match models perfectly, achieving the desired 100% accuracy.
        Joking apart, it is necessary for sceptics to tell truth as they understand it to be, not the way we like it to be.
        This could be important, since in the decades to come I expect N. Hemisphere to revert its past trend of warming to trend of cooling.
        While warming was and is beneficial, consequences of falling temperatures could be serious, not only directly on the ‘older’ section of population, but also on the efficiency of food production. If cooling does happen, population needs to be made aware of problems it would bring.
        Warmers might jump on the band wagon but no one would believe them any more.
        If sceptics stick to the truth now, they may not be, and must not be seen as scaremongers in a possible falling temperature scenario.

      • I think a good test of the satellite data would be to pull up the new US Climate Reference Network’s data that none of the global boys use, and compare it to the data for the same regions in the satellite record.

        I haven’t looked at the satellite products well enough to determine if it is granular enough to compare with the individual USCRN sites, so I may be disappointed when I look. The fact it matches the balloon records so well though gives me hope that it is pretty accurate.

  12. you know….if they would stop mucking with the temperature record
    …it would all correct itself

  13. The plan was carbon reduction and sequestration through “planning”. I suppose they want to cover all of their basis.

  14. April 1, 2076

    After nearly 50 years of geoengineering, scientists around the globe are warning us that we may have inadvertently triggered an early ice age in our desperate attempt to stave off man-made global warming. As temperatures around the globe continue to plummet and winters become longer and more severe than the last. Starvation is at an all time as the growing seasons have become too short to keep up with the demand of 10 billion lives around the globe. Simultaneously, the number of deaths from hypothermia continue to sky rocket as energy prices have become to high for most. The solution that most are promoting is to lift the global ban on fossil fuels which will not only provide cheap and affordable energy to all but will provide the necessary co2 for crops to grow quicker and to perhaps even raise global temperatures.

    /sar

  15. Darwin Award, species version:
    As climate passes the peak of the Modern Maximun, with the onset of the next glacial period already overdue, mankind deploys artificial means to create global cooling.

    • John Harmsworth, I too daubt Islanders speak that litany.

      And thought all non islanders, the majority, could need a handy term.
      So i asked google go islandic -> english.

      Setting the blanks one after another led me to a reasonable sounding explanation. Till now I wasn’t corrected – let it be.

      Sole problem for google was a word ‘yel’ – think a good guess is a nordic ‘hjel’.
      ___________________________

      So:

      And then there’s real data to study:

      Eyjafjallajökull: located in Iceland.

      Last eruption‎: ‎March to June 2010
      _______________________________

      Eyja f hjel a jök ull ->

      Island in an increased Helmeth of wool

      : hjel

      could stand for the

      : norwegian hjelm

      or just the indogerman ciel

      : ci – el = sky

      as in ceiling = above me / above us
      _________________________

      every Islander correct me where I’m wrong.

  16. That pathetic fool Jimmy Carter signed an executive order banning the SST. One stated reason was that the contrails would lead to the apocolypse du jour, Catastrophic Global COOLING. What a putz. I was a Democrat back then and I voted for the damn fool. I am SO embarrassed.

  17. There are enough particulates being ejected into the atmosphere, at no charge, by various volcanos around the world.

  18. Personally, I think it would be less dangerous just to let the Earth warm a couple of degrees.

    • Mr Wundersamer
      re hames translating
      I put ‘Wundersamer’ into google translator it came with:
      German = miraculously
      is that what you understand it to be?

      • Mr. Vukcevic,

        tested Google as you told me –

        Yes and No: Google does as you said
        ____________-Google is not always right

        Belive ME

    • vukcevic on April 25, 2016 at 2:38 am
      Mr Wundersamer
      re hames translating
      I put ‘Wundersamer’ into google translator it came with:
      German = miraculously
      ___________________________

      Not that bad, Mr. Vukcevic.

      It’s just saying ‘I’m wondering about that one’

      No +/- connotation expressed.

  19. Please enlighten a puzzled amateur.

    Is the opaque haze in the image mostly (or even partly) cloud? If so, ascribing albedo to these ‘vapour trails’ is somewhat misleading. I’m almost inclined to say unfair to vapour trails.

    If vapour trails are condensed vapour, I’m thinking that the average density of vapour is not changed by the passage of an aircraft. Ok, so if the vapour is ‘thinned out’ by a sliver of condensation, some extra sunlight might squeeze past on either side of the condensation until the trail dissipates. Is this not compensated for by the density of the trail?

    My observation of vapour trails is that they are transitory and temporary.

    In summary, I’m not convinced that the total sunlight reaching the surface is significantly affected by vapour trails.

    Please condense and then dissipate my ignorance. On average, will I be any wiser? Thanks in advance.

  20. “The wider question is,

    “What are the global trends of atmospheric composition from ground-based and satellite observations assimilated in modelling studies…”

    An even wider question is: if Willis Eschenbach is correct that anything that reduces sunlight from reaching the inter-tropical convergence zone puts afternoon cloudiness off to later in the day, thus maintaining the heating. His most compelling evidence of the resistance of the system to heating and cooling is the fact that the difference in expected strength of the sun impinging on earth between aphelion and perihelion, which is stronger than the effect of the sunspot cycle, is remarkably undetectable in temperatures. There is a lot of linear thinking on all sides of the debate.

    The ramifications then for warming and cooling would seem to be this:

    1) Aerosols/dust won’t have much effect on earth’s temperature unless you have so much that afternoon clouds are forceably delayed to the limit of not forming at all, thereby losing their correcting effect. At that point, there will be cooling. This seems to be the case with the very large emissions of major eruptions. The clouds kick in only after the burden of aerosols/dust has settled out after the main blowup is over (seeming a couple of years). Smaller eruptions go unnoticed in the record because the cloud mechanism is at work.
    2) The other end, the clear sky end, is truly constrained by convective cooling/thunder clouds such that ocean surface temperature are limited to a maximum of 31C because of it.
    3) This means that sea surface temperatures on the hot end are bounded but the low end can drop us into protracted cool periods and ice ages. A dense burden of aerosols from a bolide strike is an extreme example. Cooling in the tropical atmosphere would first slow down the Hadley cells that move warm air poleward allowing cooliing of the temperate and polar zones. With thinning of the aerosol/dust to a certain intermediate level, Hadley cells would be reactivated somewhat but simply become pumps for piling up the snow into high albedo continenal glaciers and pulling down sea level. The tropics with clearer skies could warm and the rest of the world be cold. Although tropical warming would be moderated by larger volumes of cold polar/temperate zone water circulating back.

    It’s after midnight here, I hope this brilliant piece looks as good tomorrow morning!!

  21. Nothing scarier than a bunch of idiots who don’t understand climate and all its intricacies trying alter the very thing that they don’t understand by a method they don’t fully understand that may have consequences they can’t comprehend. What could possibly go wrong?

  22. I remember that the general grounding of air travel right after 9/11 gave scientists the chance to compare the effects of contrails with their absence. Median temps didn’t change, variability did. The swings were larger without contrails..

    Cooling periods tend to follow volcanic eruptions. Sometimes.

    Given that all the climate models are wrong about current temperature trends, I’d tell tell them to get back to me when they have models that actually have predictive value.

  23. Tim Ball

    Much volcanic ash that reaches high altitudes is sulfur. There it becomes condensation nuclei that create yellow water droplets, which filter out the yellow portion of the sunlight. I witnessed the effect while driving across the Canadian Prairies in the fall of 1992. The eruption was in 1991, but it takes a year for the global distribution of the high altitude effect. Most crops were still unripened in the first week of September because the yellow portion of the spectrum is critical.

    OH come on. Where did you get that from? This is as good as referring to CO2 as “carbon”. Volcanoes produce SO2 gas which combines with water vapour to form sulphuric acid aerosols, NOT clouds of yellow elemental sulphur.

    BTW the elements sulphur is yellow because it REFLECTS those wavelengths not because it absorbed them.

    • “BTW the elements sulphur is yellow because it REFLECTS those wavelengths not because it absorbed them.”

      There are a lot of folks who argue about “global warming” who don’t have much of a grasp on physics or chemistry. I suppose they don’t see any need to get up to speed on those subjects as all we need are some computer games models.

  24. While I would agree that deliberately putting aerosols into the atmosphere is a stupid
    idea I would not be particularly inclined to listen to someone who appears not to even
    understand the reason why the sky is blue and sunsets are red. It has nothing to do with the relative size of the particles but rather it is the amount of Rayleigh scattering. If you get that wrong why should I listen to you about anything more difficult?

  25. The main thing that climatology seems to have failed to notice about major volcanoes is that the long term effects are the exact opposite of the short term effects which they use to drive models. The stratosphere shows this most clearly.

    It is clear that the initial increase in temperature caused the presence of volcanic ejections in the lower stratosphere , which absorb incoming sunlight and cause warming, gives way to a net opposite effect after 3 or 4 years. The stratosphere ends up being COOLER that it was before implying that it is then more transparent and letting more solar energy into the lower climate system.

    The drop after each event is clearly attributable to the eruption and is not a steady downward trend. It is step-like.

    If this TLS record in inverted it can be seen that it is complementary to the warming of the late 20th that got everyone crapping themselves.

    https://climategrog.wordpress.com/uah_tls_365d/

    Clearly until we have be much better understanding of how our climate works, it is insane to propose meddling with it. On the evidence of the volcanic data, injecting SO2 would very likely have the opposite affect and cause more global warming a few years after the first test

  26. I did some simple statistics on the records of volcanic eruptions in N. H. high latitudes, going back to 1660 and compared to the CET. On the longer term scale (I used 1.057nHz = 30 year low pass filter), there is no doubt whatsoever that the correlation is positive . Currently I am expanding data volume and will publish results, hopefully in the next few months.

  27. It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature. This sound more like “give me money to employee someone even if the idea is stupid”.

  28. Here’s an idea: just go back to coal pollution. (sarcasm)
    One would hope that we have saner people running our government, but if they’re seriously considering this, can we please get the commitment process started on them?

  29. The sky is blue because the size of the most prominent molecules in the atmosphere is the same as the wavelength of blue light
    ==============
    that is the scientific explanation. there are two others classes of explanation:

    1. that is the way god made it.
    2. it had to be some color, it just happened to be blue.

  30. I have a question regarding the picture used of jet contrails – what time frame does that represent? The implication is that it is one moment in time, but I’ve seen similar photos (not of contrails) that are actually composite photos over a 24 hour period. I just wondered if that was the case here.

    Yes, I could chase it up myself, but it’s just gone 6:00 a.m., here in Oz, and I’m still on my first coffee. I just wondered if anyone knew offhand.

  31. Astounding that after all these years of SAG, Stratospheric Aerosol Geoengineering using planes to make stripes in the sky that widen instead of disappearing like normal contrails, and change the sky to a greasy gray, that often show an altered spectrum when the Sun shines through at a certain angle, everyone pretends that it might happen…..that it is still in the discussion stage. Amazing!

  32. The big problem with creating artificial aerosols to cool the planet is that the release of such particles could coincide with one or more unpredictable events, like for instance a major volcanic eruption. That could be a double whammy, tipping the Earth into a full blown ice age. Add to that the likelihood of cooling because of low solar activity, and there would be no going back. It is often said that humans will eventually destroy themselves, but no one envisaged it would be by freezing us all to death.

  33. Needless to say Google supports :

    Icelandic ‘Eyja f hjálm jök ull’ -> english
    Island in an increased Helmeth of wool

    Icelandic ‘Eyja f hjálm jök ull’ -> portugese
    Ilha no capacete aumentou de lã

    Icelandic ‘Eyja f hjálm jök ull’ -> french
    Île dans la laine de casque augmenté

    Icelandic ‘Eyja f hjálm jök ull’ -> basce
    Kaskoa handitu artilea in Island

    Icelandic ‘Eyja f hjálm jök ull’ -> hungri
    Sziget a sisak nőtt gyapjú

    Icelandic ‘Eyja f hjálm jök ull’ -> spain
    Isla en el aumento de la lana de casco

    Icelandic ‘Eyja f hjálm jök ull’ -> japanese
    ヘルメット増加羊毛で島
    Herumetto zōka yōmō de shima

    ____________________________

    if the proper type set isn’t installed the screen will burn through – please report to Google

  34. + needless to say Google supports :

    Icelandic ‘Eyja f hjálm jök ull’ -> english
    Island in an increased Helmeth of wool

    Icelandic ‘Eyja f hjálm jök ull’ -> hebrew
    אי צמר הקסדה גדלה

    Icelandic ‘Eyja f hjálm jök ull’ -> turk
    Kask artan yün Adası

    Icelandic ‘Eyja f hjálm jök ull’ -> russky
    Остров в шлем увеличился шерсти
    ____________________________

    if the proper type set isn’t installed the screen will burn through – please report to Google

    Grüsse – Hans

  35. Wie Karl Kraus sagte während WW1

    zu den Verbündeten Dynastien

    Hohenzollern + Habsburgern

    ‘was uns trennt ist die gemeinsame Sprache.’

    Und ganz offensichtlich werden jetzt wieder Dynastien errichtet, Trumps, Davitoglous, LaGardes, Marie LePens, Saudis – vorfinanziert bis in die Enkel + Grossenkelgeneration.

    DIE finden schon 1e gemeinsame Sprache – es hakt an den / kontroversen / finanziellen Interessen.

    Grüsse – Hans

  36. Think the real message of

    Eyjafjallajökull –

    And the real data to study is :

    Eyjafjallajökull

    is mommas saying –

    get a thick wollen helmet for going out there.

    other youre going to die – it’s cold outside.

  37. It’s got to be looked at. We don’t have the luxury of taking any approach off the table,’ said Mr Holdren, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology.

    It would be so much easier to recalibrate your instruments and declare victory…just talk to the engineers at VW…

  38. “Moreover, we do not know in what regions of the planet the amount of atmospheric aerosol is increasing, is diminishing, and is remaining roughly constant. Overall, we are even unsure whether aerosols are warming or cooling our planet.”
    Sounds like a bad idea to me, if you have no idea what it will do.

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