Climate engineering, once started, would have severe impacts if stopped

Via Princeton University (unrelated to the article below) – This image shows the relative position of the sunshade to the Earth, the moon, and the sun. It is at approximately four times the distance from the Earth to the moon. From Irvine, P. & Ridgwell, A. (2009). “Geoengineering- taking control of our planet’s climate.” Science Progress. 92: 139-162.

From RUTGERS UNIVERSITY and the “don’t start” department.

Rutgers researchers co-author first study on biological impacts of abruptly ending efforts to cool Earth’s climate

Facing a climate crisis, we may someday spray sulfur dioxide into the upper atmosphere to form a cloud that cools the Earth, but suddenly stopping the spraying would have a severe global impact on animals and plants, according to the first study on the potential biological impacts of geoengineering, or climate intervention.

The study was published online today in Nature Ecology & Evolution. The paper was co-authored by Rutgers Distinguished Professor Alan Robock, research associate Lili Xia and postdoc Brian Zambri, all from the Department of Environmental Sciences at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. Other co-authors were from the University of Maryland, Yale University and Stony Brook University.

“Rapid warming after stopping geoengineering would be a huge threat to the natural environment and biodiversity,” Robock said. “If geoengineering ever stopped abruptly, it would be devastating, so you would have to be sure that it could be stopped gradually, and it is easy to think of scenarios that would prevent that. Imagine large droughts or floods around the world that could be blamed on geoengineering, and demands that it stop. Can we ever risk that?”

Geoengineering means attempting to control the climate in addition to stopping the burning of fossil fuels, the main cause of global warming, Robock said. While scientists have studied the climate impacts of geoengineering in detail, they know almost nothing about its potential impacts on biodiversity and ecosystems, the study notes.

The geoengineering idea that’s attracted the most attention is to create a sulfuric acid cloud in the upper atmosphere as large volcanic eruptions do, Robock said. The cloud, formed after airplanes spray sulfur dioxide, would reflect solar radiation and cool the planet. But airplanes would have to continuously fly into the upper atmosphere to maintain the cloud because it would last only about a year if spraying stopped, Robock said. He added that the airplane spraying technology may be developed within a decade or two.

In their study, the scientists used a global scenario with moderate cooling through geoengineering, and looked at the impacts on land and in the ocean from suddenly stopping it. They assumed that airplanes would spray 5 million tons of sulfur dioxide a year into the upper atmosphere at the Equator from 2020 to 2070. That’s the annual equivalent of about one quarter of the sulfur dioxide ejected during the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines, Robock said.

The spraying would lead to an even distribution of sulfuric acid clouds in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. And that would lower the global temperature by about 1 degree Celsius (about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) – about the level of global warming since the Industrial Revolution began in the mid-1800s. But halting geoengineering would lead to rapid warming – 10 times faster than if geoengineering had not been deployed, Robock said.

The scientists then calculated how fast organisms would have to move to remain in the climate – in terms of both temperature and precipitation — that they are accustomed to and could survive in, he said.

“In many cases, you’d have to go one direction to find the same temperature but a different direction to find the same precipitation,” Robock said. “Plants, of course, can’t move reasonably at all. Some animals can move and some can’t.”

He noted that national parks, forests and wildlife refuges serve as sanctuaries for animals, plants and other organisms. But if rapid warming forced them to move, and even if they could move fast enough, they may not be able find places with enough food to survive, he said.

One surprising side effect of rapidly starting geoengineering would be an El Niño warming of the sea surface in the tropical Pacific Ocean, which would cause a devastating drought in the Amazon, he said.

“We really need to look in a lot more detail at the impact on specific organisms and how they might adapt if geoengineering stops suddenly,” he said.

###

The study: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41559-017-0431-0

Potentially dangerous consequences for biodiversity of solar geoengineering implementation and termination

Abstract

Solar geoengineering is receiving increased policy attention as a potential tool to offset climate warming. While climate responses to geoengineering have been studied in detail, the potential biodiversity consequences are largely unknown. To avoid extinction, species must either adapt or move to track shifting climates. Here, we assess the effects of the rapid implementation, continuation and sudden termination of geoengineering on climate velocities—the speeds and directions that species would need to move to track changes in climate. Compared to a moderate climate change scenario (RCP4.5), rapid geoengineering implementation reduces temperature velocities towards zero in terrestrial biodiversity hotspots. In contrast, sudden termination increases both ocean and land temperature velocities to unprecedented speeds (global medians >10 km yr−1) that are more than double the temperature velocities for recent and future climate change in global biodiversity hotspots. Furthermore, as climate velocities more than double in speed, rapid climate fragmentation occurs in biomes such as temperate grasslands and forests where temperature and precipitation velocity vectors diverge spatially by >90°. Rapid geoengineering termination would significantly increase the threats to biodiversity from climate change.

Advertisements

158 thoughts on “Climate engineering, once started, would have severe impacts if stopped

  1. I like that they don’t refer to models. There may be some inferences.
    If geo-engineering, what temperature would be prime for the most life on this planet?

    • Most life, as in numerous, is bacteria. They have a rather wide range of tolerance. By an amazing coincidence they are delighted to be at 68F/20C with a gentle breeze, 14 hours of day and 10 hours of night, a cottage by the sea in the Pacific Northwest but above the tsunami inundation zone, but those will be eliminated as well.

      • Yes, this kind of stuff NEVER has the opposite effect.
        See: places where they had a rat problem, then brought in cats. Then they had a cat problem, and brought in dogs. Now they have a dog problem.

    • I think geoengineering must be delayed until after estimates and determinations and “determinations” of Earth’s climate sensitivity get better determined, so as to be tightly clustered, as well as having tight clustering with consideration for climate sensitivity somewhat likely having a different value depending on the cause, for example climate sensitivity has some fair chance of being lower for change of greenhouse gases than to change of radiation balance from other causes due to greenhouse gas change having greater negative lapse rate feedback than other causes of radiation balance. Also, climate sensitivity varies with the amount of variability of sunlight reflection by variable snow/ice cover, especially in the middle-high latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere where that has been intermittently volatile as the Ice Age glaciations came and went in the past roughly 2.5 million years. Climate sensitivity has historically been higher when northern hemisphere land ice sheet edges were in mid-latitude Europe, Asia, and mainland North America as opposed to mostly confined to farther north.

      • I say for geoengineering, according to the Precautionary Principle: We should not spend trillions along with impairment of industrial activity and economic growth until we know that this won’t destroy any opportunity that we have to prevent the next Pleistocene ice age glaciation – which would drop sea level enough to put a lot of major seaports and their associated cities dozens of miles inland and dozens of feet uphill from sea level.
        Also, more economic growth means better ability to more quickly prepare for a planetary emergency – such as a planetary emergency from climate change, once we know better which direction a huge change in sea level will happen next from global temperature change. Also, the next planetary emergency could be unrelated, such as a significant asteroid or a comet being found to be on a collision course with only a few years to deal with it, or WW III.

    • For tens of millions of years before the relatively recent Pleistocene began, the mean global temp was (according to National Geographic, which is usually a warmist alarmist publication) about 15 degrees F warmer than today, which would be about 8 or 9 degrees C. So if temps don’t rise more than 9C, I think we can just adapt and be just fine. Up 8 or 9 degrees C would just be “back to normal” from a longer term perspective.

    • “someone has to…”
      its extraordinary that if there is one place where the precautionary principle probably applies, its this.

      • “First “Do No Harm.”
        “Somebody has to” take the sharp objects away from these people.

    • People like this, who belong to the Good Idea Fairy Club, scare me because they NEVER think of the consequences. Never have, never will.

      • 1 degree………….and they just admitted Mount Pinatubo put out more…had a greater effect on temps..cooled off and warmed up just as fast….and nothing happened

    • The word ‘hubris’ immediately comes to mind. It’s the one thing the gods punish most harshly. Why is it that, after a few thousand years of civilization and the countless examples provided in our written history, folks have trouble absorbing that simple truth?

    • Leftists are always convinced that this time they are going to get it right. So they don’t need to worry about unintended consequences.

    • If you believe that you ARE God, and not merely playing God, then you don’t worry, because you’re infallible.

    • And I thought that the “darkness of the Sun” and other signs in Revelation were natural occurrences!

    • “Does anyone think of the unintended consequences of playing God.”
      I believe Susan thinks about it from time to time. Obviously it depends on what you imagine is the nature of God-play.

    • No mention of the aid rain from 10 billion pounds of SO2 a year for 50 years, a total of a half trillion pounds, that would become sulfurous acid, which is not the strongest acid but good enough for decent acid rain.

    • I’m just going to leave this here. It is ironic that the snowflakes who think adding SO2 to the atmosphere is okay if humans do it, but who pay no attention to the fact that Mother Nature/Gaia/Whatever is perfectly capable of putting things into balance all by her lonesome.
      The fact that these people ignore natural processes says several things, the first and most important of which is that they’re after money, and the second is that they MUST be cloistered. No one could be as unaware of things as those guys are.
      Mt. Mayon in the Phillippines has been erupting since 16 January 2018. The ash volume has increased considerably since the initial eruption. I did not see in the Accuweather article any indication that there is a reduction in volume expected any time soon. What I DID see in the article was a paragraph specifically stating what we already know that volcanoes emit tons of atmospheric SO2. which disperse into the upper atmosphere and reduce sunlight, resulting in cooling.
      I think most reasonable people will agree that interfering with natural processes, especially when they are not truly understood, is a very, very BAD idea. Another bad idea is living near a volcano. Ask those guys cast in pumice at Pompeii.
      https://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/mount-mayon-eruption-to-endanger-more-than-200-000-in-the-philippines/70003915

    • Where is the proof that we are too hot. Finally we are in relative climate heaven; planet is greening, food is abundant.
      Do those mental midgets not realize that we are in one of the coldest periods of earth’s history. Average temperature now is about 14 degree Celsius; normal 22.
      The inter-glacial period we are in is winding down; we are just a few degrees away from going back into another ice age and these idiots want to accelerate the process.

  2. It’s outrageous that these people have the nerve to call themselves scientists, they are no better than pagans worshipping the sun gods. Where do they get the arrogance to believe they can mess with nature – leave her alone you mental midgets. There were several Ice Ages that humans had absolutely nothing to with or control over, while you go around claiming the hottest year since (or ever) blah, blah blah – we seem to be getting a lot closer to another ice age. And CO2 is plant food you idiots.

    • Really, they’re worse than pagans worshiping the sun. The pagans lived by solar and lunar cycles, and hunter-gatherer clans were fully aware of weather and seasonal patterns and how they affected game.
      There are 56 Aubrey holes at Stonehenge, for wooden posts erected before the stone pediments were brought in. Those represent two full lunar cycles. Those people may not have had a numbering system like ours, but they could count days and nights and the phases of the moon, relative to animal birthings and spring/fall seasonal onsets.
      These people can’t tell you what day it is without looking at a screen on a computer or a tablet or a phone. I would willingly bet that they seldom, if ever, spend more than a few inconvenient minutes outside in the real weather.
      They should spend some time with people living in traditional ways in Mongolia, especially in midwinter. Then we’d find out just how much colder they think the planet should be.

    • I don’t know offhand, but I can look it up in my notebooks, if you like. It’s a matter of how much cloud cover there is, which way the wind is blowing (from the north, from the west or from the south) and how fast, and how many microclimates there are in shadows where the sun can’t reach them.

  3. Geoengineering the Earth’s atmosphere is insanity. Especially since it is not necessary because there is no danger from CO2 causing a runaway greenhouse effect on Earth. It never has in the past, even with higher concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere than today, and therefore it’s not going to happen with the small amount of CO2 humans are adding.
    These alarmists are making false assumptions about CO2 and climate. They couldn’t prove CO2 is having any effect on the Earth’s atmosphere yet they want to apply crazy fixes like this to fix a non problem.

    • Actually they are not suggesting geoengineering. They are broadly trying to paint it as infeasible so as to advance the anti-emissions scenario of starting now just in case it might affect our climate. I think they come up short in even that argument. For example, a geoengineering project to extract CO2 from the atmosphere (grow more plants or something). The whole idea emerges from fallacious thinking that the world is perfect as it was before fossil fuel use. We do not have a single clue as to what a perfect world is. The best we can approximate is whatever is good for mankind. These socialists think they even know what is good for all of us without even bothering to ask, obviously they know what a perfect world is are at least they think they do.

    • Wonder if the clown that wrote the article has noticed the tic-tac-toe spraying that goes on daily in the sky above him? Could be he never looks up. Been ongoing for a couple decades now. Worldwide. Don’t think the sprayers have the earth in mind. Or saving people. The question he ought to be asking is who gave these sonsofwitches the right to spray earth? Or humanity with aluminum, strontium, barium and god knows what else? ‘Solar’ engineering as a potential tool? That facade’s taken. The boys behind the curtain beat him to it awhile back.

      • There is reason to believe that efforts have been made in that direction. When I was much younger, and we were in the cold war with half of our nuclear arsenal in the air at any one time, contrails were a common sight and always dissipated at a certain distance after the aircraft. For whatever reason, contrails today disperseinto and actually form clouds. The higher altitude ones disperse in the normal manner. Given the propensity of these idiots to spend money on dangerous and idiotic projects, I would not be surprised.

  4. Oh. My. God.
    We have the best place in the Universe to thrive right now and these bozos think it needs fixing?
    I have seen brain-dead ideas come up over the past 600 years of my existence, but I have seldom run into anything as consistently BRAIN-DEAD STUPID as even suggesting geo-engineering.
    These mopes should be forced to live in a closed environment, like a buckydome, so that they can get the full impact of it. Oh, wait – wasn’t that the biodome? And it failed because the concrete flooring absorbed all the oxygen in the stupid thing? And the plants were barely enough to live on?
    Someone tell these clowns LOUDLY that you don’t mess with Mother Nature unless you want her to slap you so hard you can’t open your yap for a week.
    P.S. I hope this brilliant idea is just another grab for ‘more money to study’ – that sort of thing.

    • Yep,
      If they really want to prectice GeoEngineering, They should take their pet projects to Mars and try them there.
      Or dome over a few craters on the Moon and try them there.

      • I say “the moon”. Then we could watch in almost real-time as they flounder and beg for rescue.

  5. So….if efforts to cool the climate are successful, and earth starts plunging into another glacial advance, stopping the Engineering would do…what?
    Oh. That’s right. Warm is bad. Cold is good.
    This flies in the face of history and paleontology, but it fits well with socialism, another agenda item that is not supported by historical prospective.

  6. Nobody knows how to tweak climate by deliberately polluting the stratosphere with SO2. Nor do they know what the target climate should be, nor whether climate is changing for the worse.
    These are proverbial mad scientists speeding off in a race car they’ve never driven, on a track they’ve never tried, with blindfolds on.

    • If there’s one thing we’ve learned out of this whole f-kin fiasco, it’s that we’re not going to be able to stop the inevitable by pouring CO2 into the atmosphere, although I’m sure Nick Stokes’s model says no hold on, look at bullshit posts a through z ….

  7. A new post-apocalyptic book series has started and it involves a geoengineering effort that goes awry. As with many of its ilk, things happen quickly, but it is interesting that is has only been puiblished last few weeks when several “admissions” by some alarmists that models may be emphasizing C02 effects and other data needs to be further “adjusted”.
    Just saying….
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0793F2K2C/
    I have serious climate science and meteorolgical problems with the fiction, but it does raise the issue of “fooling with mother nature” wisdom.
    Gums…

    • I apologize if my link is a commercial. I thot it was a simple link to the main page on the kindle site or Mike Kraus’ site.
      I’ll check better next time.
      Gums…

      • It looks intriguing. See also “Fallen Angels” by Niven and Pournelle, a variation on this theme.

    • Looks like auto “mod” deleted the commercial. Whew!
      The book is “The Long Fall” by Keys and Kraus’
      Gums cowers in man cave….

    • That’s interesting, Gums, because I have something underway that goes from the recent past (last 50 years) into the future (350 years) and based on the nonsense in so-called climate research, I propose an ice age underway with people leaving Earth for more temperate planets. It’s a long way to the finish line, but it will be fun. I love to speculate.
      Wasn’t it a year or so ago that some idiots proposed seeding the upper atmosphere with another gas to induce cooling?
      Don’t mess with Mother Nature!!! These people are completely nuts.

      • Keep on keeping on, Sara.
        Doing my best to help grandkids to take up a profession and path to the stars as I did 60 years ago.
        Born too late for Mercury/Apollo and almost too early for shuttle.
        But we gotta get outta this place regardless of what the climate does, and I have a strong feeling that it’s gonna get colder than warmer.
        Gums sends…

      • Oh, don’t give up, Gums. There are thousands of planets being found in other systems already. Eventually, a twin “Earth” will be found and then, as with the New World after Columbus’s stop off in the Caribbean, someone will come up with a spaceship warp drive (warp drive, Miguel Alcubierre did the math in 1997) that doesn’t make planets explode with a ship coming out of warp, and the colonists will depart for other worlds.
        I just hope the natives are friendly and don’t try to use them as hosts for giant ant larvae.

      • I have to ask, Latitude, why Beijing’s smog-ridden atmosphere is ALWAYS the photo used to show air pollution (a lot of it is dust from the Gobi Desert, about 35 miles away), or one of the more grossly polluted cities in India, e.g., New Delhi. Why?
        I think I need turtle cheesecake to soften the effect these crackpot ideas are having on me. Turtle cheesecake (caramel sauce, chocolate chips, chopped pecans) and chocolate ice cream go a long way toward soothing my soul.

      • “News” articles where it says “Scientist baffled” are usually way more entertaining …….
        People with one eye in their foreheads, disgustingly degraded stuff washed up on beaches, climate change shite …..

      • And let us not forget that in the 70’s they wanted to sprinkle the poles with soot because global cooling was locking up all the water in ice! All I can say is that these people must sprinkle hubris on their corn flakes every morning.

  8. Deliberately poluting the Earth’s atmosphere is not such a good idea. We may end up killing ourselves as a result. The reality is that the climate change that we have been experiencing is caused by the sun and the oceans over which mankind has no control There is no real evidence that CO2 has any effect on climate and plenty of scientific rational to support the idea that the climate sensivity of CO2 is really zero. I would think that more sulpher dioxide would lead to more acid rain which we do not really need. I doubt that we could add enough Sulpher Dioxide by airplane to make a difference at least in the climate and for those who do not like CO2, the additional aircraft would be adding more CO2 to our atmosphere. Then there is the cost to consider. The climate change we have been experiencing is so small that it takes networks of very sophisticated sensors decades to detect it. Most of what we have been experiencing are weather cycles and not climate change. What we should be more concerned about now is that our current interglacial period will eventually end and we will slowly descend into another ice age as has been taking place for more than a million years. Ten thousand years from now the prospect of global warming may be only wishfull thinking.

    • Especially given that those flights would need to progress through the Sulpheric Acid Clouds to maintain them AND the flights would produce many more Tons of their dreaded CO2

  9. Mad Scientists. They should be made madder by ending their funding for imagining such insane ‘solutions’ for this nonexistent ‘problem.’

  10. “we may someday spray sulfur dioxide into the upper atmosphere to form a cloud that cools the Earth…………………..the spraying would have a severe global impact on animals and plants”
    These people are scary as sh1t…

  11. Gees, if you want sulphur in the atmosphere, just remove the sulphur filters and precipitators from coal fired power stations !!

    • Absolutely. I thought of that when I first heard of this. Kurt Vonnegut did have a brother who was involved in weather modification. I wonder if that’s where he picked it up?

    • Brilliant!
      Now I’ll have to re-read Vonnegut. Luckily, it rarely takes long to get through his stuff…but it sticks with you.

  12. I pretty much give up on humanity, if the entire earth isn’t a communist prison camp in 20 years with the dumbest of us being our stazi enforcers I will literally crap myself. How can you have any hope when this much stupid has a priestly white lab coats on?

    • I’m actually hoping for some sort of non-lethal solar flare that will wipe out 99% of the internet. Everyone under 40 will be zombies (most under 20 are now anyway), and us old farts will be wowing people with our mad skillz such as navigating with a map and a compass and looking at our wrists to tell the time…

  13. Severe indeed for the grantees and other politicos profiting from the scheme with inside connections to program funds. PR pros would also have an extra tough time but they get paid for that anyway.

  14. Now we’re making up experiments with earth to change its’ course from something we can’t prove in the first place.

  15. Nations have expended billions of dollars scrubbing sulfur from fossil fuel emissions and here we have these morons seriously contemplating purposefully dumping millions of tons of it into the air. The big volcanoes do a good enough job on creating crop killing global cooling every few centuries on their own.
    Who in their right mind would want to replicate that?
    Oh yeah, I forget: Progressivism is a form of mental derangement. Progressives are of a left mind, and not of a right mind.

    • Dr. Robock has four pictures on his home page at Rutgers, and two of them are of Fidel Castro. Who in their right mind would want to replicate that?
      I’m not at all sure we’re talking about a right mind here.

  16. It rarely seems to occur to the precautionary principle crowd, that the people of 2050 or 2100 might be better at dealing with the problems which they face, than we are in predicting what those problems might be, and attempting to deal with them pre-emptively.
    For example, look at the money Germany committed to its shambolic solar PV roll out mostly when costs were a significant multiple of those available today. And that was just a few years ago.
    So, all that Germany needed to do, was wait, and they could have had the same level of solar PV at a fraction of the cost, with a saving of tens or hundreds of billions of euro.
    Then consider that what they achieved is almost negligible is relation to global energy consumption, anyway. They ended up as reliant on coal as they had been during the 1990’s.
    How about – we focus on doing the things which we do well, in response to our immediate concerns.
    And then we leave the people of the future to choose what they want to do in response to theirs.
    For example, the people of 2100, may decide to remove a proportion of the CO2 from the atmosphere.
    Or they may have decided by then that the additional CO2 turned out to be a net positive.
    And if they do decide to remove some CO2, then they will be better placed to do it than we are, in terms of the technologies which they will have.
    The people of 1918 did not decide to use their technologies to help solve the problems faced in 2018.
    And quite honestly, we should thank them for that.

    • Good one Indefatigablefrog!
      “The people of 1918 did not decide to use their technologies to help solve the problems faced in 2018”.
      Nevertheless they did a good job with their ‘benevolent solutions’ carving up the central European (Versailles) and Turkish Empires (Sykes Picot) into new nation states, to keep several subsequent generations busy with WW2, the Cold War, and now the evolving Culture War in the Mid East.. Good reason NOT to solve perceived problems for future generations before we KNOW what they are.
      Cheers
      Bahamamike

      • Thankyou for your appreciative words and perfect set of examples of the continual failure of humans to anticipate and plan for the future on a grand scale.
        Here’s another perfect example.
        Astonishing costs when adjusted to today’s money. And yet it’s impact was ultimately negative. Since it caused the French to believe that they were more or less invulnerable along their western flank.
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maginot_Line

  17. Just consider what eco-engineering did for Australia, New Zealand, et. al.. The unintended, but well known consequential damage caused by just a few rabbits, etc.

  18. I have to admit that I don’t understand this, although it appears on a second look to be another hands-out for “grant money to complete the study”, which is no surprise.
    The consequences of meddling with a large system like a planetary atmosphere aren’t even considered in this insane proposal. If they’re this concerned, why aren’t they living on Mars? Mars is a permanent freezer state now, its atmosphere is slowly trickling away because it’s magnetic core was blown out by some impact several billion years ago, and now sits rusting on the surface. If these clowns want to do geo-engineering, there’s a perfect spot for it, isn’t it?
    The scary part is that they might even try it when, as others have pointed out, something so lame-brained only requires using high-sulfur coal and/or not scrubbing the SO2 out of the exhaust from power station stacks.
    Have any of these geniuses even considered that the Sun, which lights our days and warms the planet we live on, is in a prolonged solar minimum and there is no guesstimate underway regarding how long it will last. This is exactly how stupid these people are. Maybe they should spend some time in Yakutia, camped out on the Road of Bones. I hear it’s a balmy -80F+\- over there right now, and the sun is setting in my kingdom.

    • No, Foghorn. It was one of those unfortunate occurrences that happen to people. I wanted him but he didn’t want me, and 45 years later, when I ran across him on another blog, all he did was whine about his wife and having only one offspring. I moved on.
      I guess I’m just not mercenary enough.

    • A number of these studies started coming out a couple of years ago. I think it’s no accident. The great money scam is underway once more.

  19. Interestingly the article talks about creating Sulphur Dioxide (Essentially Sulphuric Acid) clouds to cool the atmosphere but the accompanying image is indicating a more L1 Orbital satellite swarm based solution.
    The L1 solution would make more sense though it could hamper accurate earth bound solar studies.

    • None of it makes any sense, Bryan A. If you think that it does, you aren’t paying attention.
      That image does not match the proposal to spray SO2 into the upper atmosphere. It doesn’t say anything about a cloud of that acidic gas being created between the Earth and the Sun.

    • >>
      . . . creating Sulphur Dioxide (Essentially Sulphuric Acid) clouds . . . .
      <<
      I think the Venusians already tried this an look at what happened to their planet.
      Jim

  20. It always amazes me, and also saddens me, the amount of money and time these people spend studying such nonsense. So much effort for nothing. Imagine if the same effort were employed for real issues in the world.

    • Evidently the mundane facts of life and the earth aren’t sexy/exciting/attention grabbing enough so they must make stuff up. What amazes me is that they get some traction with these goof ball ideas.

      • ‘…your money being spent.’ THAT is my biggest objection to this speculative nonsense.
        There are to date, little if any concrete results coming out of this so-called research. It’s easier to understand how iron concretions formed in the Mazon Creek fossil fields, when the area I live in was the delta of a river emptying into an inland sea. I have a shrimp fossil I collected on a museum trip to Braidwood. It was all tropics up here back then, and tropics are warm, wet and usually thriving with small and large aquatic critters. So if it was okay for the Earth to be wet, warm and full of fish back then (300 million years ago) and life was plentiful, why do these clowns who style themselves “scientists” think it’s so awful now?
        Why? Because they get money to say so and it fills a political agenda, that’s why.

  21. All the comments about the insanity of fooling about with the atmosphere in this way are absolutely correct. But if these people don’t even know that there is nothing “surprising” or new about about El Nino’s creating droughts in the Amazon then they expose their staggering ignorance and unsuitability to give lessons or take any action to alter the Earth’s climate by their donkey brain experiments (apologies to donkeys everywhere).

  22. That’s all we need. To deliberately increase acid rain thru pumping SO2 into sky. We spend millions and millions of dollars removing SO2 from flue gases. These people are dangerous.

  23. The movie “Snowpiercer” is set on a future Earth where this very thing, spraying something into the atmosphere, produces a “snowball Earth” scenario. It’s also a commentary on social stratification with some interesting plot twists.

  24. Hah! When I first saw this article, the headline was

    How Engineering Earth’s Climate Could Seriously Imperil Life

    https://www.wired.com/story/how-engineering-earths-climate-could-seriously-imperil-life/
    I admit I didn’t read it (getting fatigue with 30% to 50% of my science news feeds being about CAGW ™ ) but I assumed someone was actually talking sense. Of course “engineering the climate” is a risk!
    Silly me. They were saying stopping engineering the climate would be a risk!
    What a bunch of maroons!

  25. “stopping the burning of fossil fuels, the main cause of global warming,” I stopped reading right there. Who has determined that burning fossil fuels is the main cause of global warming and where is their proof of such a theory? The anthropomorphic global warming concept is completely unproven. The most recent glaciation stopped 20k years ago and it has been warming, on and off, ever since with no scientific, statistically significant proven relationship to CO2, man made or otherwise. Much indication, in point of fact, that CO2 FOLLOWS temperature. How can idiots like this be accepted for publication? Our educational institutions and scientific journals are completely compromised by the dollar.

  26. If “Global Warming” (things getting hotter by a degree or two) is the problem, then the solution is easy and within Man’s capability.
    Just get the UN to make all, I mean all, the nuclear nations to launch all their ICBMs! The targets won’t matter. Just launch them!
    A Man-made “Nuclear Winter” may just the thing to counter Man’s-CO2-induced Global Warming.
    (At least there wouldn’t be many people left to complain about the weather.)

  27. The ultimate climate catastrophe story:
    For dozens of years, a successful climate geoengineering project had achieved a remarkable (although questionably not needed) stabilizing effect on the global average temperature. Unfortunately, one of the workers responsible for manning the controls accidentally hit the wrong button, distracted while texting a friend about the latest shoe sale. What followed was a series of commands and events ushering in an unprecedented cooling of the globe, killing many thousands of lifeforms of all species.

  28. Geoengineering means attempting to control the climate in addition to stopping the burning of fossil fuels, the main cause of global warming</b, Robock said.

    (+emphasis)
    Assumes a fact not in evidence.
    …and as many others have pointed out above — beware unintended consequences.

  29. I think most of you are over reacting about possible unknown consequences. Clearly we could proceed carefully and monitor the results. say start by just spraying the the Southern Hemisphere on the half that is in daylight, then do the night bit and then, later , if it all works out bring the Northern Hemisphere up to speed. A gradual phased approach should guarantee no unpleasant surprises.

  30. I am trying to imagine what kind of rocket scientist moron it would take to think they could place a large planet-size sunscreen could be kept in a stable location at the L1 point?
    https://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/space_mirrors1.jpg?w=720&h=338
    Solar wind anyone?
    F = 1/2 x (rho) x v^2 x Area.
    rho of the solar wind is quite small, but |v| and Area would be extremely large. Without a huge chemical rocket engine continuously countering that force, the resulting in solar wind force is such that it would simply sail out into the Oort Cloud poste haste on its way to interstellar space as human galactic garbage.

    • The obvious solution is to control the Sun. Or maybe speed up the rotation of the earth so the sun doesn’t shine on any area for too long?
      I’m sure with enough funding and conferences that such geniuses as this “Distinguished Professor” Alan Robock from the prestigious and totally super-scientific “Department of Environmental Sciences” can come up with ways to save us.

      • The only tampering I might consider, reopening of the Central American Seaway when we begin our slide into glaciation. Its closure a few million years ago indirectly produced homo sapiens, but that is another story.

      • ironic(hu)man,
        Oh, but for the stable climate of 4 million years ago. Oh, but for….
        Always, the “Oh, but for….” throughout human pre-history. It defines us.
        “We come for the climate, and what we get is weather.”
        – Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain)

      • Let’s expand the orbit around the Sun by a few million miles and see if that helps. What could go wrong?

      • Joel we wouldn’t tamper if it was a mini ice age, as experienced a few centuries ago, but full blown global cooling is another matter.
        If you look at the ice cores going back to the previous interglacial its obvious to see our future, at some point terra forming will become fashionable as the Holocene fades.

  31. “But halting geoengineering would lead to rapid warming – 10 times faster than if geoengineering had not been deployed, Robock said.”
    In principle, I am against geoengineering because it would be an unreasonable overreaction to non-existent threats due to the increase in CO2 levels in the atmosphere. Sulfuric acid is poisonous to almost all living things and this decades-long fallout from the stratosphere into the troposphere would do far more damage than even the worst scenarios of AGW catastrophe theorists.
    However, the above sentence does not reveal itself to me. So far, it was common theory of AGW supporters that doubling the CO2 cause a temperature increase of about 1 degree. The further increases in temperature would be caused by forcing triggered by this temperature increase, such as increase in water vapor in the lower layers, warming of the ocean, and decrease in global ice sheets. How can it be if an SO2 shield around the earth and a subsequent cooling due to the blocking of the sunlight would result in a 10-fold faster warming in case of termination of the action? As postulated by the AGW theorists, the oceans absorb the most energy. When sunlight is blocked, the ocean can absorb less energy, and in the event of the blockade being lifted, it recovers more energy. However, the tempo would never increase tenfold, that’s alarmist screaming. We already have an increase in the CO2 content from 280 to 400 ppm if we want to believe the CO2 theorists of the AGW side. So an increase of 120 ppm, that is about 43 percent. The temperature of the upper layer of the ocean (that is, the layer that can be measured at least with low accuracy) shows a small increase in the linear increase, but this still corresponds to the noise in the data. It is physically impossible for the ocean to absorb energy 10 times faster than today. Why should he do this, the measured radiation into space shows that it has not sunk but has even increased slightly. So even in times of half increasing CO2, Earth has lost none of its ability to radiate heat.

  32. “They assumed that airplanes would spray 5 million tons of sulfur dioxide a year into the upper atmosphere at the Equator from 2020 to 2070. That’s the annual equivalent of about one quarter of the sulfur dioxide ejected during the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines, Robock said.”
    An airplane that would fit the bill is the 747 Supertanker, used for firefighting. It can discharge 74,200 liters of water. Assuming that the load is volume, rather than weight, constrained, that would equate to 117.6 tons of liquid sulfur dioxide (which is 1.437 times denser than water). Putting 5,000,000 tons per year into the atmosphere would require 42,433 flight operations per year. Assuming 3 flight hours per operation (probably too small, but what the heck?), that adds (according to http://www.carbonindependent.org/sources_aviation.html) about 11,500 tonnes of CO2 to the upper atmosphere. Since (according to the same source) upper atmospheric CO2 emissions have twice the AGW effect as at the surface, so it’s really equivalent to 23,000 tonnes. Wouldn’t that offset the cooling?
    Further, the eruption of Mount Pinatubo put more sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere than human beings have done in all of history. So now human beings are going to add one Mount Pinatubo every 4 years, while coal plants on the ground pay dearly to scrub SO2 out of their stacks. This will result in the equivalent of about 4% of the world production of sulfuric acid being distributed in rainfall around the equator. Acid rain, anyone?

    • See above: Mt. Mayon in the Philippines has been erupting since 16 Jan 2018. Lots of ash and gases, especially SO2.
      Do you hear any of them squawking about that gas emission? No. It goes completely unnoticed, because it is an inconvenient TRUTH waved right under their noses.

    • Only one “Supertanker” currently exists. You’d you’d a fleet of at least thirty.
      In terms of the carbon footprint of the operation you’d need to the fuel usage for the entire flight. Additionally that used by the vehicles used to service the planes and getting the crews to and from work.
      There’s also the question of who’s going to pay for all this.

  33. They’re just main-lining climate crack, same as usual. I don’t think they expect anyone to actually read it, and I’m happy to oblige.

  34. These fools can’t even explain how the climate system works as they rely on an absurdly high climate sensitivity they can’t even justify with first principles physics and they think they have a handle on how to stop a naturally variable climate from varying?
    Stopping after starting is not what will cause a problem, its the starting part we need to be concerned with.

  35. The law of unintended consequences has kicked our tails too many times for us not to think we will not see some unexpected and potentially harmful effects from any climate engineering…

  36. The number of volcanoes currently erupting should be a factor taken into account in this matter at hand. It seems to me that it is just common sense to account for that, and for the emission volume of gases like SO2 that are known to provide a cooling factor.
    If the people who engage in these studies refuse to acknowledge the real-time, real world effects of natural processes such as volcanism, which seems to be increasing a bit, then they are engaging in bad science, or if you will, pseudo science with an agenda.
    And that probability alone really annoys me. It almost looks like fraud to me.

    • you need more than water, you need ozone, or oxygen and iron dust as catalyst, but all that exist in the atmosphere. So the short answer is: yes.
      Does it matters? As everything, it just depends on the the quantities.

  37. I think if they’re going to start with this sort of lunacy in the first place I think it will have reached the “stop the world I want to get off” stage
    James Bull

  38. I’d be interested to know how they concluded “The spraying would lead to an even distribution of sulfuric acid clouds in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.”
    Given that the distribution of regular clouds is anything but even.
    Such a condition seems unlikely, even at the equinoxes.

  39. Climate Engineering, (or whatever the ” Fifth Column” behind every major government wants to call it .) – is already here. Really ? Industrialists, politicians and scientists relying on computer models ? Were supposed to trust then as they *snip – profanity, even with … is still profanity* our planet and poison us ? Please people wake up.

  40. and if me or you went into a public place and persisted in throwing sulphuric acid around…….
    Armed police would materialise as if from Star Trek and blow us completely away. No questions asked
    Basically= Terrorism
    So what gives these muppets free licence to suggest such action?

    • The truly scary thing is these C02 for brains are given the money by idiots every day. Look at how many people just give to any environmental org. without checking into it, or they just assume that CACC is real. It’s a grass roots idiocy without bounds because the globalists are so power hungry they’ll do anything to get more funding including destroying the planet while telling the morons they’re saving it. At least this fellow admits there’s a danger in completely obliterating the rainforest, (makes deforestation look like a lawn mowing). He also notes that it could have a catastrophic affect on many thousands of ecosystems.
      Actually, when you read the end of the article you realize he’s not as dumb as many of his donors. I still think it’s a complete waste of time and money even if it did work, but I don’t donate to the fascist environmentalist causes so I have no impact on their judgement.

  41. batshit crazy as a starting point and all downhill from there.
    they need to be sectioned not employed!

  42. They are using geoengineering as a straw man. Honestly, I think that is what most of the Climatists are doing when they talk about it. They are merely offering a false choice, based on false science.

  43. University is the land of the fools, those who couldn’t make a proper living out of their art, so they taught it instead.
    It is the land of the nuts, unchecked by reality.
    It is the land of those who don’t care, making the best use of their time: trying to get sex, drug, and Rock and roll
    Why we care so much about their “studies” is the real mystery for me.
    Humans routinely do geoengineering. The drain swamp, build cities, dikes, lakes, cut or plant forests, etc. They even have moderate success at having rain, or preventing frost. They do all this for an obvious profit, and never stop as long as the profit exist. And all these are local.
    Who would pay for a global geoengineering? For what profit? Why would he stop, if profit does occur for him?

  44. Such geodabbling would have many side effects. For one, this would cause iron oxide dust to become bioavailable for iron seeding the iron deficient oceans. This would cause decrease in atmospheric carbon dioxide . The synergy might bring on an ice age.
    Dr John Martin faced hurdles in iron seeding experimentation. Sulfur dioxide seeding seems far more difficult. Millions of tons? Cost?

  45. How about ‘Climate-engineering would have severe impacts if STARTED.’
    I fear nothing about Climate Change other than what eco-fascist psychopath control-freaks try to do about it.
    AND how opportunists will try to exploit it.

  46. So they’re going to do something at a quarter the level that natural events (volcanos) already do. Then they’re going to suddenly stop – which volcanos also do. But the climate impact of stopping will somehow be catastrophic even though there was no such catastrophic effect after the Mt Pinatubo emissions cleared themselves out of the atmosphere…
    I also have to wonder what the fossil fuel budget is for lifting 5 million tons a year into the upper atmosphere. For reference, a C-141B has a cargo capacity of a little over 45 tons. Call it 110,000 flights a year. A C-141 has a fuel capacity of about 24,000 gallons. Even if you only needed half that to get up to altitude and your assigned dispersal area, run the dispersement pattern and return, that’s 1.3 billion gallons of jet fuel a year.

  47. I’m a time traveler from the 23rd century.
    Saying – “stop! Don’t do it!”
    Geoengineering will result in disastrous vandalism of the planet and a horrible indescribable mess to clean up.
    O yes – and in the 2020 Superbowl the Washington Redskins will beat the Denver Broncos. And Trump gets a second term. Enjoy the good times – while they last.

  48. Geoengineering has global effects even if only pursued by the USA, therefore any attempts by US organisations to pursue unilateral geoengineering should lead to global sanctions aimed at doing to Americans what Rex Tillerson and Mafelaine Albright consider good metrics for evaluating warmongering in the Middle East….
    If Mr Watts considers US a superior nations and US humans superior, he had better say so…..

  49. So if somebody launched a bunch of space junk between the sun and the earth and lowered the temperature by 1 degree C or 1.8 degrees F, these scientists don’t think that organisms could adapt to a sudden 1.8 F increase if the space junk stopped blocking the sun?
    Let’s face it, most organisms that live outdoors face temperature fluctuations of 20 F between day and night. They could easily handle one-tenth of that fluctuation if a little space junk moved out of the way of the sun. Do any organisms die when a cloud moves away and lets the sun shine through a patch of blue sky?

Comments are closed.