Could an anti-global warming atmospheric spraying program really work?

What could possibly go wrong~ctm

From Eurekalert

Public Release: 22-Nov-2018

IOP Publishing

A program to reduce Earth’s heat capture by injecting aerosols into the atmosphere from high-altitude aircraft is possible, but unreasonably costly with current technology, and would be unlikely to remain secret.

Those are the key findings of new research published today in Environmental Research Letters, which looked at the capabilities and costs of various methods of delivering sulphates into the lower stratosphere, known as stratospheric aerosol injection (SAI).

The researchers examined the costs and practicalities of a large scale, hypothetical ‘solar geoengineering’ project beginning 15 years from now. Its aim would be to halve the increase in anthropogenic radiative forcing, by deploying material to altitudes of around 20 kilometres.

They also discussed whether such an idealized program could be kept secret.

Dr Gernot Wagner, from Harvard University’s John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, is a co-author of the study. He said: “Solar geoengineering is often described as ‘fast, cheap, and imperfect’.

“While we don’t make any judgement about the desirability of SAI, we do show that a hypothetical deployment program starting 15 years from now, while both highly uncertain and ambitious, would be technically possible strictly from an engineering perspective. It would also be remarkably inexpensive, at an average of around $2 to 2.5 billion per year over the first 15 years.”

The researchers confirm earlier studies that discuss the low direct costs of potential stratospheric aerosol geoengineering intervention, but they arrive at those numbers with the help of direct input from aerospace engineering companies in specifying what the paper dubs the ‘SAI Lofter (SAIL)’.

Wake Smith, a co-author of the study, is a lecturer at Yale College and held former positions as CEO of Pemco World Air Services (a leading aircraft modification company), COO of Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings (a global cargo airline), and President of the flight training division of Boeing. He said: “I became intrigued by the engineering questions around SAI and the many studies that purport to show that modified existing planes could do the job. Turns out that is not so. It would indeed take an entirely new plane design to do SAI under reasonable albeit entirely hypothetical parameters. No existing aircraft has the combination of altitude and payload capabilities required.”

Mr. Smith said: “We developed the specifications for SAIL with direct input from several aerospace and engine companies. It’s equivalent in weight to a large narrow body passenger aircraft. But to sustain level flight at 20 kms, it needs roughly double the wing area of an equivalently sized airliner, and double the thrust, with four engines instead of two.

“At the same time, its fuselage would be stubby and narrow, sized to accommodate a heavy but dense mass of molten sulphur rather than the large volume of space and air required for passengers.”

The team estimated the total development costs at less than $2 billion for the airframe, and a further $350 million for modifying existing low-bypass engines.

The new planes would comprise a fleet of eight in the first year, rising to a fleet of just under 100 within 15 years. The fleet would fly just over 4,000 missions a year in year one, rising to just over 60,000 per year by year 15.

Dr Wagner said: “Given the potential benefits of halving average projected increases in radiative forcing from a particular date onward, these numbers invoke the ‘incredible economics’ of solar geoengineering. Dozens of countries could fund such a program, and the required technology is not particularly exotic.”

However, in the authors’ view, this should not reinforce the often-invoked fear that a rogue country or operator might launch a clandestine SAI program upon an unsuspecting world.

Mr Smith said: “No global SAI program of the scale and nature discussed here could reasonably expect to maintain secrecy. Even our hypothesized Year one deployment program entails 4000 flights at unusually high altitudes by airliner-sized aircraft in multiple flight corridors in both hemispheres. This is far too much aviation activity to remain undetected, and once detected, such a program could be deterred.”

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99 thoughts on “Could an anti-global warming atmospheric spraying program really work?

  1. What would be far simpler and cheaper is to modify existing jet fuel in regular aeroplanes. We used to put significant amounts of tetraethyl lead into the fuel for car engines as an anti-knock compound. A similar compound based on titanium would combust to produce titanium dioxide (TiO2) in jet exhausts, TiO2 being the very small, non-toxic, reflective particulate pigment universally present in white paints.

    Of course the whole scheme is both totally unnecessary and a huge waste of human effort and resources, but when has that kind thing ever stopped them?Many of these other whacko fantasies really do beggar belief.

      • The last two natural events which injected sulphate aerosols into the stratosphere ended up ( after 4 or 5 years ) with a cooler, more transparent lower stratosphere, which was accompanied by global warming at the surface.

        There is every reason to expect that similar deliberate interference would have the same result: more surface warming , not less.

        Until we truly and unambiguously understand how that climate system works we need AT ALL COSTS to avoid playing the sorcerer’s apprentice and screwing around with the climate system.

        These hair-brained ideas are akin to ” I have a screwdriver and I know what a piston is , let me take you engine apart and make it work better”.

        These attention seeking intellectuals need to back off and stop pretending they understand something they have very little real understanding of.

      • I expect that a rail gun scheme (General Atomics is launching jets with this) getting ‘buckets’ of aerosols up to 2000’/s or so would be much cheaper. If these idiots are going to do it anyway, let’s spend less tax money on it.

    • All true but what about them seeking to keep the project secret and diversion of funds. One supposes this is how Western Democracy is supposed to work in the era of Global Warming?

      How about secretly putting “happy” drugs in the water supply to end depression, suicides, mass shootings, and PMS? It’d be cheap and likely could even be kept secret since all one would need would be inserting a few Greens in every municipalities water works. Better, just take over a few key manufacturing plants that supply chemicals (as in chlorine, etc.) and mix in the drugs as just part of the supply chain? The cost could even be covered by increasing the price from the suppliers (perhaps as a Green tax).

      The point: It’s not the scheme but the method considered that is the real evil.

      • “How about secretly putting “happy” drugs in the water supply to end depression, suicides, mass shootings, and PMS?”

        Or allow 7-Up to go back to its pre-1950 formula, which included lithium. (Motto: “You like it, it likes you.”)

        • It could cure the the self- loathing misanthropic neurosis and the geoengineering of designer-brain education and all this horsefeathers climate angst would simply stop.

        • The titanium dioxide would probably coat downstream engine blades & vanes & result in much reduced engine efficiency. However there is the “secret” chemtrail conspiracy (sarc). What is really amazing is the average inability to accept (too mentally disturbing?) that the dark part of governments are literally capable of anything (absolute power corrupts absolutely). Even the US has some exposed history of this (MK-Ultra, Project Mockingbird, Tuskegee Study, Operation Northwoods, foreign assassinations/it’s okay when we do it) and how many simply went dark and how many others not uncovered. This “nothing to see here” “they did a commissioned study so who’s to argue” attitude, especially in the recently useless press, prevents any real exposure (Project Mockingbird?). But that may be okay because some of the more recent ones would definitely cause much governmental disruption/instability; perhaps better to keep head buried.

        • It was done in Brave New World; free distribution of Soma, the happy drug. And it worked, there is no climate disaster in Brave New World.

      • Thin you may be onto something there cedar. . .

        Has anyone not seen the spraying? Been going on a couple decades now. If you haven’t, grab you a lawn chair (and binoculars if you have them). Slip out on a level deck or roof somewhere—or your backyard—on a semi-clear day. Don’t wait for a clear one. They’re rare these days because the sky seems to have a milk-of-magnesia opaqueness to it most of the time. Usually from night or early morning runs the aerosol tankers make. It spreads behind them. Drifts wide. Then down for everyone to breath. Nonchalantly. Odorless. Tasteless. So, watch the clearest part of the sky. Most of the time you can spot the spec with the naked eye. It’ll have a contrail—so they say—behind it that’s, oh, it’s hard to tell how many miles when they’re that high. What you’ll be looking at is—and this is only information passed on by semi-literates—nanoed aluminum, strontium, barium with a dash of toxic somethings. They’ve already tried to sell the spraying as an earth cooler. Didn’t fly. If biotechs are involved, genetic nuking would have a nice ring to it. Hard to say, really. Anyone recall an announcement when this started? Who’s financing it? Okayed it? Why is this trying to be sold as a pretend nonevent? Again?

    • When a Situation Analysis employs a Primary Input Assumption that is FALSE, the rest of the Analysis and the Conclusion becomes a foolish debacle.

      The primary assumption in this case is that:
      There is a dangerous runaway man-made global warming crisis that is a serious threat to humanity and the environment.

      Primary Assumption = .FALSE.
      therefore
      Conclusion Rejected At Precept = .CRAP.

      … and Harvard University used to be a really good school.

  2. What is this ‘global warming’ ?

    Didn’t temperatures stall when a substantial percentage of human created CO2 was released proving that it is not connected to global temperature ?

    Has the climate community decided to do best of three ?

    • It is more realistic to fear the Laws of Unintended Consequences than Global Warming. See idiots running the world governments are going to fool around until they create some very real problems for mankind.

      • Exactly!

        “A program to reduce Earth’s heat…”

        Yay, we stopped Global Warming! And triggered the next Ice Age…

        Chaos works in mysterious ways.

  3. Right now we go to great lengths to take the sulphur OUT of fuels.

    I’m amused by the idea of keeping it secret. I have a picture in my mind of green governments running some kind of ‘black’ program, flying the stuff from secret airbases, and sceptics trying to shoot them down- all for the planet, of course.

    • The idea of a secret programme is daft. “Environmentalism” is all about being seen to do things, they want credit for the alleged benefits and don’t care about the actual effects. So if they ever initiate a programme like this they will be advertising it to show how “good” they are.

    • My guess would be that they expect the UN global government to be in charge by then. Decisions will be much easier and no one really needs to know.

  4. It astonishes me that good time and money is wasted by these people on studies like this when the entire scientific climate community agrees that no one really understands how clouds work.

    If one doesn’t understand how something works, how can one possibly fix it other than by complete accident.

    It would be like arming me with a cordless drill and a sledge hammer and sending me into a nuclear facility with instructions to “fix it”.

    This is science for the sake of science. Scientists disappearing up their own self opinionated backside because they believe their collective feeble education and limited experience can produce a single solution to an unfathomably complicated problem.

    They have done it with climate change itself. Again, mustering their collective educated ignorance to vilify CO2 as the single villain that changes the entire world.

    They are buffoons, fools, idiots; with the audacity to even discuss keeping something like this secret! In the highly unlikely event it was successful they could not resist crowing about it, and in the entirely likely event it failed there would be a global disaster and then the torches and pitchforks would be out.

    Did educated, ‘intelligent’ people seriously collude on a crackpot, dangerous concept like this without one of them saying “Hold up guys, do we really understand what we’re proposing here?” The very real prospect of global disaster through ignorance Vs the mere possibility the planet might warm by a few degrees C which has been proven to be productive in ages past, even without the technology we have today.

    Somebody needs to get a grip here. These people are genuinely dangerous.

  5. “A program to reduce Earth’s heat capture by injecting aerosols into the atmosphere from high-altitude aircraft is possible, but unreasonably costly with current technology,”

    Not really just stop removing sulphur from jet fuel. Or add some more, sulphus costs next to nothing. Most airplanes have multiple fuel tanks, just use the sulphurised fuel at tropopause level, i.e. cruising altitude.

    Problem solved.

    NOTE I claim this solution, if anybody will be making money out of it.

  6. If they were to do this, I’m sure people having solar panels will be pleased to find the effectiveness of their panels reduced.

    • It doesn’t matter. Acid rain obliterated all forests by 2003, didn’t you notice? There haven’t been any trees for 15 years. Jeesh, not very observant, are you? I suppose it will be another 15 years before you wake up and notice the extreme climate change all around you.

      ok /sarc, I refer to the acid rain claims made in the late 70s and early 80s (in many cases by the same loons).

  7. Maybe they don’t even have to spray. Simply roll back acid rain regulations against suflate aerosols. Let her rip.

    • Good one, Chaam. Just bypass all of the SO2 scrubbers that have been installed the last 30 years to the tune of billions. Non-problem solved.

  8. Brilliant ! Let’s reintroduce “Acid Rain” that was going to doom us all just a few decades ago.

    Don’t these people remember why we go to so much trouble to remove Sulphur from fuels.

    Or are the virtue signalers just a target market for low Sulphur fuels.

    What are these people smoking ?

    • The acid rain story was massively exaggerated, I recently talked to a retired farmer who said that when the coal plants were cleaned up he had to add sulphur to his land, to replace the free sulphur that had previously fallen from the sky. There are probably some things it harmed, but it did a lot of good as well, an honest analysis might show a net benefit.

      All a bit like DDT and CO2.

  9. There are two important questions which this research raises.

    1 – Where are they getting the money to generate these dangerous ideas from?
    2 – How can we stop it?

    • Where are they getting the money? The Pentagon’s own numbers show that it can’t account for $21 trillion. That’s one example.

      How can we stop it? Not by voting. IMO, if voting made any significant differences it would not be allowed. Or Demonstrating? Millions demonstrated against the war in Vietnam. We only pulled out because we got our asses kicked.

  10. Any human intervention in the ozone zone can end in a climate disaster. The nuclear tests in the stratosphere proved this.

  11. This is nuts. The atmosphere is already perfectly engineered to reject just enough surface heat to maintain a fabulous climate.

  12. I’m with HotScot and the others who describe this as truly dangerous stupidity and potentially catastrophic tampering with something that they really only have a thin grasp of, especially given the inaccuracy of all the hysterical claims made by the warmest lobby over the last 40 years.

    While on the subject of epic stupidity I’m sure you might appreciate this latest example, a little off topic but characteristic of the increasing insanity in the U.K. The Royal Society for the Protection of Animals has just announced that it intends to prosecute cat owners who try and make their pet eat Vegan diets, as this is “inappropriate” and does not provide a nuitritionally adequate diet. Fair enough. But it now means that in Britain animals are better protected against insane owners than children whose parents choose to deliberately abuse their offsprings health and welfare.

    And you think these idiots are going to hesitate to screw up the planets.

  13. Dear God, not that nonsense again. It’s an idiotic straw man idea anyway; they drag it out only so they can knock it down again. They imagine that it makes them look “reasonable”. No, it just makes the look stupid.

  14. Umm, the smell of sulfurous atmosphere is not nice, so maybe these ‘thinkers’ could get Proctor & Gamble to sponsor the project and add the smell of ‘cotton fresh’ scent.
    Yep, have a whole planet smelling of these ‘thinkers’ undershorts.

  15. I was of the impression that the holy computer models did not deal with particulates all that well, along with clouds. Given that, how are the High Priests of Climate to divine the results? Oneiromancy?

  16. Man takes over responsibility for the atmosphere. Jerry Brown is elected President, and takes control. Everyone dies.

    • As we see from large volcanic events, it takes several years for aerosols to reduce out of the upper atmosphere. We couldn’t remove any sulphates once we put them there. This is why this is an incredibly stupid idea. Don’t try fixing something, if you don’t even know if it is broke or not.

      “What if we are nearing the slide into the next ice age, and all it needs is a trigger?”

      Good question. We are currently in a Great Precessional Winter which if the rest of the Milankovitch Cycles are aligned, (they aren’t that conducive) is when we can dip into ice age territory. And when they do, CO2 levels are at their highest and is the warmest temps. That’s how it appears it always go, so the meme of dangerous global warming is totally overhyped. Warming has never been shown to be a problem anyway, which is why the Holocene Optimum, Minoan, Roman, Medieval were all times of optimum climate and why we are currently in the Modern Warming Optimum that supports 7.4 billion people. But the warmest periods are getting successively less warm every thousand years or so and the cooler periods also every thousand years are getting cooler. We are on a long term trajectory to the next ice age.

      But I don’t think slipping into an ice age is currently possible, just because the average temperature of the total ocean top to bottom is about 3.5C, as compared to .9C at the height of a full blown ice age. That is a lot of ocean heat to start shedding to get to an ice age in a short period of time. But it is evident that we are having successive colder periods such as the Little Ice Age which probably wouldn’t support our current civilization without a lot of turmoil. Maybe after another couple cold periods over the next few thousand years could cool us down while we are still in a Great Precessional Winter and then a big trigger of some type hammers us into the next ice age. Which is why I think a warming world is net good. Warmer is an insurance policy on a temporary cooling trend either from vulcanism or natural variation and in my opinion is why the CAGW climate change/warming meme is totally false.

  17. What if it didn’t work? What’s Plan B? Is there a Planet B? Remember the Precautionary Principle?

  18. If they want to get aerosols into the atmosphere, wouldn’t it be cheaper to just start drilling deep wells in places like Yellowstone, Lake Toba, Taupo, ….

  19. Willis E. showed that the SO2 outpouring recently from the big Hawaiian eruption didn’t cool the local thermometers. Cloudcover was reduced locally and more sunshine was let through during the event.. Ya know, we don’t really know a lot about climate, but for goodness sake kets not ignore the precious bits we do know! The only step forward I see in this is at least engineers are geing consulted and costing is being done. If they had done this with renoobles we wouldnt have tufted the planet with windmills and glazed it with glass at a cost of trillions and for a negligible contribution to our piwer.

    • They are assuming they will keep the particulates out of the lower atmosphere, where they will do chemistry – good luck with that. Many claim the drop in temps that occurred in the 70s was due to particulates. Of course, in the same breath they use the increase in temp from the 70s as proof there is not been a pause.

  20. I would look into the design of a slow flying high altitude craft capable of carrying a 200 ton payload to 25 km. This craft would be able to lob missiles into space and eventually be used in a sulfur dioxide emission experiment taking off from Australia.

  21. Might as well drop nukes into volcanoes. It’s cheaper, might actually work and will have about the same level of unintended consequences. Plus, it the volcanoes are chosen carefully, they can address the population problem as well …

  22. Correct me if I’m wrong, but…if you just dumped some of this sulphurous stuff into the coal used to generate much of the world’s power…

  23. Better yet spike all aviation fuel with LSD. Then when it gets hot people will smile and say “look at the pretty rainbows” and the crackpot climate scientists who want to control the weather will be outside running around trying to catch raindrops on their tongues. The environment will benefit.

  24. Not neccessary any longer, thank Vishnu for that! The atmosphere this morning where I am now self-identifies as geo-engineered.

    This was after overnight absorbing acoustic waves of intersectional intervention blather which revealed it’s empirical state was, in fact, a form of oppression perpetuated by a sub-set of old melanin challenged cis-gender carbon life forms hypocritically expelling CO2 into it.

    Mainstream media is just starting to put this on to electronic media. Reports are coming in USA president Trump has already composed a tweet ridiculing the atmosphere. Spokes-people for other world leaders are assuring their populace that they have a wet finger in the air to ascertain the situation.

  25. Why not just go back to regular freon and CFCs in spray cans? Oh, yea, this guys would not get bucket loads of tax dollars that way!

  26. So assuming our climate control idea works, who gets to decide what temperature to set the “thermostat” at ? Roman warm period temp?…oops, too much sea level rise….Maybe a couple of degrees colder….oops, world bread baskets have a higher risk of failed crops…maybe have everyone vote….oops, majority wants the thermostat to be set at “Singapore”…..and so on…

  27. This is all the result of misguided thinking. The realistic situation is that within a year we will be forced to apply the solution realistically regardless of the state of the research and the expected side effects. The situation is so serious that we should be awakened as soon as possible.

    • malkom700

      This is all the result of misguided thinking. The realistic situation is that within a year we will be forced to apply the solution realistically regardless of the state of the research and the expected side effects. The situation is so serious that we should be awakened as soon as possible.

      What are you assuming ANY credible threat occurring “within a year”? There is no threat from global warming at all from man’s release of CO2 within the next 1000 years (even assuming fossil fuels could be burned that long at today’s rates!), much less 1 year.

      • If you do not know about people burned in a California fire, then you are personally responsible for their deaths.

        • No. Those enviro’s who chose to prevent California brush and woodlands from being trimmed and pruned out (logged and cut with fire access trails and roads) so they could bask in their warm glow of “feeling good” about “pristine forests in the wilderness” are responsible for those deaths.

        • malkom700, the climate in that part of California dries out enough to burn every year, and has for a very long time. So if you are buying into Jerry Brown’s “Climate change did it”, you are beyond reason.

          • Ironically, aggressive fire prevention is one of the biggest problem as it allows the fuel load to grow to the point where a small fire can quickly become a catastrophe. Without man getting in the way, lightning often resulted in parts of the Sierras burning all summer long until the rains came in the Fall and put it out. Many of the trees adapted to the presence of frequent small fires and some even require fire to propagate. The more frequent small fires kept the undergrowth under control and discouraged trees from having lots of foliage close to the ground which tended to keep fire out of the canopy.

            What happened in Paradise was a tragedy, but to blame it on climate change related to CO2 emissions displays ignorance beyond reason, especially when used as a political dog whistle, as Brown does constantly. The level of fiduciary irresponsibility to the citizens of California he has show with regard to climate change is unconscionable. Unfortunately, our next Governor may be even worse.

        • Dang!
          Now I feel guilty about the 300 that died in the The Great Chicago Fire and the 800 that died in the Peshtigo, Wisconsin fire. Both on October 8, 1871. There were also other fires that day.
          (I read one estimate that 1,200 died that day.)

  28. Given what we actually KNOW about the planet, to do this based on the poor level of understanding we have of the climate systems (there is no one system) it is the utmost arrogance and ultimately dangerous what they are doing.

    Of course, scientists who end up killing people with their junk science, never ever pay the price. I’d like to see scientists be held directly accountable for their failures.

  29. The reality is that, based on the paleoclimate record and the work done with models, one can conclude that the climate change we are experiencing today is caused by the sun and the oceans over which mankind has no control. Despite the hype, there is no real evidence that CO2 has any effect on climate and plenty of rationale that the climate sensitivity of CO2 is zero. We do not really know what the optimum climate is in terms of temperature so we do not know whether we should be trying to make things warmer or cooler. We should be able to make things a tad cooler by increasing the Earth’s albedo or by decreasing the surface pressure. We would be better off trying to paint surfaces white then polluting the atmosphere. However the primary surface on the Earth is some form of H2O and trying to cover it up with a reflective coating may have dire consequences.

  30. The bad news is that, if we expect the vastly more powerful natural cycles to continue as they have for 1 Million years/10 repeatable and average 8 degree cooling ice ages, any significant effect would be to hasten the end of the current short warm interglacial we prosper in and accelerate the descent into the next glaciation phase of the coming ice age. No doubt if it was seen to be having this effect they would say the data must be wrong, we must trust the models, and do it some more.

  31. This article is like the Emperor’s New Clothes on steroids…

    Let’s all pretend that geo-engineering is not yet happening
    Look up at that clear blue sky
    Let’s all pretend that the globe is warming
    And ignore the Solar Minimum cycle
    And reach the draconian world government goal of energy restriction via UN Sustainable Development. Feudalism with robots. Good times.

  32. An expensive way to make sulfuric acid rain. To keep sulfur molten, temperature must be 115 C. The airplane is a flying oven. It must have a combustion chamber to burn sulfur into SO2 before releasing to the stratosphere. The oven and combustion chamber will increase weight of airplane and reduce space for molten sulfur.

  33. In 2013 whistleblower and former USAF Environmental Specialist Sergeant Kristen Meghan Edwards predicted exactly what is now happening..

    5:37: “[David Keith] is actually a geo-engineer, Canadian, he works at Harvard, he just wrote a book on climate engineering and inadvertently he’s brought more awareness to this, because I feel they’re getting ready to admit it and they’re trying to sell it to us, you know….I think that they’re trying to, now, kind of admit it and act like they’re gonna start doing it, and they’ve already been doing it.”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XjLzPivKp8

    A short lecture by whistleblower Kristen Edwards..

  34. These climate Frankensteins are truly dangerous, crackpot-serial killer dangerous and evil to boot. This or another crazy idea will be promoted by the UN/IPCC when all efforts against greenhouse gases have failed under their global guidance. The planet is cooling now while CO2 continues to rise—I predict climate lies will only get bigger!

  35. I am amazed that these engineers think they can predict the effects of their actions n future weather and climate.

    I have no doubt you can get up there and spray.

    I have plenty of doubts that you know what the unintended consequences will be.

    I am certain this is not a question appropriate for US agencies to implement without global consent. You might people dropping things om your dams to show you how decisions taken elsewhere can affect you……

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