Harvard University Experiment to Block Sunlight, to Prevent Global Warming

Sulphate Aerosol Geoengineering (same principle as the Harvard experiment). By HughhuntOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Harvard University is planning to conduct an experiment to test the effectiveness of sunlight blocking aerosols dumped into the stratosphere.

Harvard Scientists Begin Experiment To Block Out The Sun

Dec 5, 2018, 12:40pm
Trevor Nace

A group of Harvard scientists plans to tackle climate change through geoengineering by blocking out the sun. The concept of artificially reflecting sunlight has been around for decades, yet this will be the first real attempt at controlling Earth’s temperature through solar engineering.

The project, called Stratospheric Controlled Perturbation Experiment(SCoPEx), will spend $3 million to test their models by launching a steerable balloon in the southwest US 20 kilometers into the stratosphere. Once the balloon is in place, it will release small particles of calcium carbonate. Plans are in place to begin the launch as early as the spring of 2019.

The basis around this experiment is from studying the effects of large volcanic eruptions on the planet’s temperature. In 1991, Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines erupted spectacularly, releasing 20 million tonnes of sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere. The sulfur dioxide created a blanket around Earth’s stratosphere, cooling the entire planet by 0.5 °C for around a year and a half.

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/trevornace/2018/12/05/harvard-scientists-begin-experiment-to-block-out-the-sun/

From the description of the experiment;

Stratospheric Controlled Perturbation Experiment (SCoPEx)

SCoPEx is a scientific experiment to advance understanding of stratospheric aerosols that could be relevant to solar geoengineering. It aims to reduce the uncertainty around specific science questions by making quantitative measurements of some of the aerosol microphysics and atmospheric chemistry required for estimating the risks and benefits of solar geoengineering in large atmospheric models. SCoPEx will address questions about how particles interact with one another, with the background stratospheric air, and with solar and infrared radiation. Improved understanding of these processes will help answer applied questions such as, is it possible to find aerosols that can reduce or eliminate ozone loss, without increasing other physical risks?

At the heart of SCoPEx is a propelled scientific balloon that can travel a few meters per second (walking speed) relative to the surrounding air. The propellers serve two functions. First, the propeller wake forms a well mixed volume (roughly 1 km long and 100 meters in diameter) that serves as an experimental ‘beaker’ in which we can add gasses or particles. Second, the propellers allow us to fly the gondola back and forth through the volume to measure the properties of the perturbed air.

The advantage of the SCoPEx propelled balloon is that it allows us to create a small controlled volume of stratospheric air and observe its evolution for (we hope) over 24 hours. Hence the acronym, Stratospheric Controlled Perturbation Experiment. If we used an aircraft instead of a balloon, we would not be able to use such a small perturbed volume nor would we be able to observe it for such long durations.

What is the experiment?

We plan to use a high-altitude balloon to lift an instrument package approximately 20 km into the atmosphere. Once it is in place, a very small amount of material (100 g to 1 kg) will be released to create a perturbed air mass roughly one kilometer long and one hundred meters in diameter. We will then use the same balloon to measure resulting changes in the perturbed air mass including changes in aerosol density, atmospheric chemistry, and light scattering.

Read more: https://projects.iq.harvard.edu/keutschgroup/scopex

Obviously this experiment will not cause any harm – the quantity of material the Harvard Scientists intend to release will not have a significant effect at ground level. What frightens me is the possibility of larger scale experiments, serious attempts to lower global temperature.

From a study published in August;

Estimating global agricultural effects of geoengineering using volcanic eruptions

Published: 08 August 2018

Jonathan Proctor, Solomon Hsiang, Jennifer Burney, Marshall Burke & Wolfram Schlenker

Nature (2018)

Solar radiation management is increasingly considered to be an option for managing global temperatures, yet the economic effects of ameliorating climatic changes by scattering sunlight back to space remain largely unknown. Although solar radiation management may increase crop yields by reducing heat stress, the effects of concomitant changes in available sunlight have never been empirically estimated. Here we use the volcanic eruptions that inspired modern solar radiation management proposals as natural experiments to provide the first estimates, to our knowledge, of how the stratospheric sulfate aerosols created by the eruptions of El Chichón and Mount Pinatubo altered the quantity and quality of global sunlight, and how these changes in sunlight affected global crop yields. We find that the sunlight-mediated effect of stratospheric sulfate aerosols on yields is negative for both C4 (maize) and C3 (soy, rice and wheat) crops. Applying our yield model to a solar radiation management scenario based on stratospheric sulfate aerosols, we find that projected mid-twenty-first century damages due to scattering sunlight caused by solar radiation management are roughly equal in magnitude to benefits from cooling. This suggests that solar radiation management—if deployed using stratospheric sulfate aerosols similar to those emitted by the volcanic eruptions it seeks to mimic—would, on net, attenuate little of the global agricultural damage from climate change. Our approach could be extended to study the effects of solar radiation management on other global systems, such as human health or ecosystem function.

Read more: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-018-0417-3

A serious attempt to block sunlight using stratospheric aerosols could cause global crop failure and famine.

You would think that given the obvious problems nobody would go forward with such an effort. But the green political scientific nexus has a track record of not considering the consequences of their actions.

Back in 2008 lavish biofuel subsidies caused hunger and food riots in poor countries, as subsidised grain purchases drove up the global price of vital agricultural staples.

The ongoing fuel tax protests in France are another example of a serious failure by greens to consider the consequences of their actions. Despite belated French government efforts to retreat from their original provocation, the situation in France is now so unstable the French police union is urging members to join the protests.

Given the horrendous track record of green political irresponsibility, it is reasonable to be concerned about the harm geoengineers and their green political sponsors may cause, if one of their over enthusiastic sunlight blocking experiments goes awry.

170 thoughts on “Harvard University Experiment to Block Sunlight, to Prevent Global Warming

  1. Seriously? Have these people never been outside on a sunny day and have clouds cover the Sun? Question answered, free of charge. Perhaps they spent to much time bingeing on The Matrix.

      • Something will be learned for a relatively cheap cost.

        And just how cheap is “relatively cheap” going to be iffen just the “testing” is estimated to cost $3 million?

        The project, …… will spend $3 million to test their models by launching a steerable balloon in the southwest US 20 kilometers into the stratosphere.

        Maybe they could use those Climate Modeling Programs to do their “testing”? 😊 😊

        • Top college presidents, football and basketball coaches and athletic directors “earn” more annually than the cost of this experimental program. Everything is relative with some things being more out of whack than others.

          Heck, the University of Colorado had to pay their football coach over $10 million to fire him, then another $14 million or so to higher a new coach (for 4 years).

          • What has football got to do with the climate? And I thought it was Co2 that caused warming? Has Harvard given up pontificating about Co2 and decided to have a go at shutting down the sun instead?

            Projected warming based upon computer modelling has not happened. So now Harvard wants to spend $3 million to stop something that isn’t happening from happening. I am confused. I thought you got to Harvard because you were more intelligent than the average Joe. Wrong again.

          • Salaries of presidents, coaches, and ADs are not out of whack relative to the revenue and donations that they bring in. That’s why they get paid what they do. If they are failing, it is worth more to buy them out and spend big $$$ on a new person that to keep a loser.

          • David, I was clarifying my definition of “cheap.” Colleges and universities have income, expenses and budgets. I was just pointing out that the cost of the experimental program is relatively inexpensive in that, albeit out of whack, environment.

          • R Shearer, …… it makes no never mind anyway because Harvard probably has $2 BILLION+ in endowments just being held here n‘ there collecting intere$t …… and has surely already been approved for the Federal Grant of $3 million of taxpayer dollars to conduct said experiment.

      • The idea is fine – and any experiment is fine with me. The main advantage here is that if it works spectacularly, we need not waste trillions of dollars on the assumption that CO2 DOES increase global temperature : we can just sit here and wait and see whether in fact temperatures DO increase. So far this has not happened – but we can fix it when (if) it does.

    • Every university as a rule has on it’s pay roll a house fool, but it appears the roll call at many of the institutions has been expanding far beyond what could be considered healthy for a productive scientific discourse.

      • Weapons are dangerous yet we have and wield them. There are enough atomic bombs on the planet to change the entire face of the planet and yet you worry about a climate science test 🙂

  2. I assume no Harvard educated person realizes that something called clouds already exist and that the coloud cover increase when it becomes warmer; natures climate feedback controls system.

  3. I love how these schemes always require lots of fossil fuels to work, mute testimony about how dependent we are on them.

  4. There seems to be the belief that warm is bad, which is mostly bassackwards. The LIA was an era of famine and plague, but avid Malthusians might like that.

    • If only warmth were the whole story.

      You didn’t go to Harvard, so this is probably going to go over your head, but I’ll say it for the Brights:

      Sunlight helps plants grow.

      And, as a greenie, I’m against that.

      • There is also a little matter of CO2 that plants love to have in abundance. Venus has lot of both sun and CO2 but no plants; we happen to have a special planet and tinkering with it we do at our peril.

        • Exactly. CO2 and sunlight: the “evil twins” (their evil triplet, water vapor, having been disowned) of climate. As a greenie, I’m intensely chlorophobic and anyone who doesn’t share my fear of a a verdant planet triggers in me deep feelings of unsafeness around them.

        • Alan Tomalty

          Don’t ask. It’s Brads attempt at humour, or irony, or sarcasm, or something……. If he said something that wasn’t laced with his interpretation of any of the foregoing it would be useful, but he can’t help himself.

          • Jeff

            Careful mate. There’s likely to be a backlash on Brads own blog condemning us both personally for not getting his distorted humour. We are of course intellectual amœbas.

            Sadly, I like what the guy says, his narcissism just gets in the way.

  5. When the Sun tries to give you something—like energy—it’s very important that you politely refuse, saying:

    “No thanks, you keep it. I’m a conservationist.”

    I wouldn’t expect anyone who isn’t Harvard material to understand this, however.

  6. Skepticism against climate change is partly understandable as green solutions can greatly affect the economy and the labor market. However, the aversion to geoengineering is completely incomprehensible since these solutions do not negatively affect these areas.

    • Geoengineering, when applied to the Earth, is a terrible idea. The likelihood of unintended consequences befalling any such mad schemes is terrifying. Why are these clowns so averse to warmth? If warmth were not desirable then no one would travel to various points south in the winter. The resorts around the world would close their doors and reopen above the Arctic Circle if the vast majority of people did not want to be warmer. Central heating would never have been invented either!

    • Geo engineering is madness on the grandest scale possible. Anybody that even thinks about it should be committed to an insane asylum.

      • Alan Tomalty

        Sadly it’s frequently the ‘intellectual’ reaction to everything. “I can solve any problem with stuff'”

        I can’t tell you how many times in my life I have had the ‘intellectuals’ (frequently engineers) attempt to solve problems with lots of complicated, expensive ‘stuff’ and little old me is standing in the background saying “all you need is an effing screwdriver mate”, and been proven right, much to my detriment as these arseholes were often my boss.

        I had a call from a Managing Director of mine 18 months after I left a business, many years ago following a run in with my highly qualified immediate boss who always used a sledgehammer to crack a nut. He cost the company a fortune in new IT kit (mega inter disciplinary, inter departmental, sales, marketing, and Customer Relationship Management database implementation for one of the worlds largest pharmaceutical companies) I was running on an excel spreadsheet. It failed miserably. He employed one of the worlds most successful advertising companies in the world to design and implement it……. ~ahem~

        The MD offered me my job back as the whole lot bombed and cost the business millions; for the want of a tuppence ha’penny spreadsheet; by then it was too late as I had moved on.

        This is another example of technology for the sake of technology.

      • Thomas Sowell’s ‘Vision of the Anointed’ model explains and predicts the trajectory of these harebrained schemes (and why they never do get the mental health care they need)—well worth reading.

      • “Geoengineering, when applied to the Earth, is a terrible idea.”
        “Geo engineering is madness on the grandest scale possible.”

        You’re expressing “The Precautionary Principle”, which I don’t necessarily agree with. When done properly, Geoengineering has produced spectacular benefits. Russ George’s ocean fertilization experiment is a prime example. After noting the correlation between volcanic eruptions in the Aleutian islands and bumper salmon catches a few years later, George re-created the effect and produced a 400% increase in all salmon species two years later:


        Of course he was excoriated by the same people who think this experiment is a great idea.

        • Ditto ditto. I’ve made this point before here against knee-jerk worst-case unnuanced rejectionism.

        • Yeah I came on his web site going on about dumping iron into the ocean. I live around there and I commented that if he did and I met him I’d punch him in the mouth……AND then he did it….on behave of native bands. Real stewards of the earth pfft…
          I know that it did minor damage to the environment, but the hubris of illegal geoengineering and being harangued daily about shit going into the oceans by native bands and government….and he had it on his web site saying what he was going to do it!!!
          Bizarro world.

        • The excoriation needs to be read in full to be believed!

          Another mask slips:

          “Silvia Ribeiro, of the international anti-technology watchdog ETC Group, says that projects like George’s distract from the need to reduce carbon emissions. “It is now more urgent than ever that governments unequivocally ban such open-air geoengineering experiments,” he said. “They are a dangerous distraction providing governments and industry with an excuse to avoid reducing fossil-fuel emissions.”

          And here I thought cutting fossil-fuel use was a means to fight climate change.

          Turns out the fight against climate change is just a means to cut fossil fuel use.

      • Who will be held liable for causing multiple winter deaths in order to save one summer death?

    • I agree. It’s useful to carry out small experiments like this, and increase scope over time. In 20 years we will know much more if we start now. But i also support experiments to fertilize the ocean, and to genetically modify boreal trees to grow taller and with more mass. This would allow CO2 storage in large forests which grow over former tundra.

    • It’s really hard to believe that anyone could even think geoengineering is needed.

      There is no catastrophe, apart from the imbecilic alarmism.

  7. What could possibly go wrong? I think they should let Bill Nye try an experiment in a large clear plastic bubble to see how it goes first.

  8. No harm? Tell that to all the sharks (lawyers) out there who look for the smallest excuse to extort money from those they think have too much. You watch. If Harvard does do the experiment they will wind up spending more money on lawyers than they did on the experiment.

  9. A serious attempt to block sunlight using stratospheric aerosols could cause global crop failure and famine.
    You would think that given the obvious problems nobody would go forward with such an effort. But the green political scientific nexus has a track record of not considering the consequences of their actions.

    Perhaps they have considered the consequences of their actions and you have misconstrued their intent.

    Sir David Attenborough, the famed British naturalist and television presenter, has some harsh words for humanity. “We are a plague on the Earth,”; Multiple ‘greens’ have gone further and call ‘humanity a cancer on the Earth’ – these are the people who are happy to envision the demise of the human race as ‘saving the planet’.

    • We are of course…we just spent a ton of money cleaning that crap up…
      ..now we’re going to pay to put it back

  10. Meanwhile, back at the Royal Astronomical Society, they are predicting a Maunder minimum, a 60% reduction in solar activity in the 2030s .
    Can’t post a link but reported in Science Daily

  11. …they “will spend $3 million to test their models…”

    I thought they believed in models – so why the need to test them?

  12. The oceans already provide this automatic negative feedback to solar warming at the surface by evaporation that cools the oceans by around 90W/m^2, and the clouds that the water vapour forms which currently add another 50W/m^2 of negative feeback, both variable with temperatue. It works very well. Why do we need to mess with that?

  13. Oh good!
    Some nice deep pockets to sue next time an unseasonable freeze or frost damages anything!
    Cannot wait to see these miseducated jackasses drown in their own hubris.

  14. “damages (Ed–to crop yields) due to scattering sunlight caused by solar radiation management are roughly equal in magnitude to benefits from cooling”

    I’m still not really too clear on these supposed benefits.

    Rather than burning our croplands, we’re going to darken them? And the fish and the tigers will sing our praises…


  15. Hmmm….
    I have to work this one through.
    The proposal is to disperse Calcium Carbonate in the atmosphere. Well, CaCO3 is a white, highly reflective material and can be obtained as a very finely divided powder. A “cloud” of such material would simply scatter any light in all directions. This is very nearly identical to the action of the multitude of tiny water droplets in a real cloud.
    So, what they are proposing is the creation and study of an artificial cloud, which mimics a real cloud. I suppose that this makes sense due to the well known difficulties of finding and studying real clouds.

    I am sure I could help them. I know that Harvard researchers are very busy and perhaps do not get out as often as they might like. I have been very fortunate to have traveled quite a lot around the Caribbean. I can help these researchers by showing them the times and places in the Caribbean where clouds are frequent and abundant. An added bonus would be the splendid coral sand (More CaCO3!) beaches, fine dining and typical tropical island activities.

    Possible Project goals:
    1) Study a synthetic cloud: (Stupid and doomed to failure.)
    2) Spend as much money as possible: (I can help with that.)

    • Would I be right in thinking that if the experiment makes the climate cooler there will be fewer clouds, partially negating the effect of the experiment.

  16. I think this would be an interesting experiment that might show that the claimed aerosol cooling effect of smokestacks for the last half century is overstated, thus causing the positive CO2 feedback to have to be recalculated at a more correct value. Or not.

    • Yes, nothing wrong with experimenting—one never knows what one may find. What’s the matter with people here who don’t want to look through the telescope?

      • I keep seeing this “whats wrong with experimenting” meme, the only answer is they can stand in a sunny field and wait for clouds to cover said Sun and SHAZAM, experiment completed free of charge. Oh, yea, it is all about the Benjamins not the science. Got to keep stealing that tax money.

  17. This is what happens when Henry Paulson gives the ‘new’ Harvard School of Applied Science and Engineering $500 million to get it named the Paulson School of AppliedScience and Engineering. The bucks pay for the nutso professors who get the experiment money from taxpayers via NSF grants.
    Same School that brough us the rhubarb flow battery noted in essay California Dreaming in ebook Blowing Smoke.

      • What tipping point?
        The Earth has been hotter and colder, survived meteorites, volcanoes and countless natural disasters.

    • This experiment could well show how man’s effort to reduce air pollution did actually lead to much of the global warming since 1980. If true, then global warming is indeed caused in no small part by human activity, albeit via SO2 reduction rather than CO2 production.

  18. From Jan 4, 2018 to Dec 7, 2018, the GHCN-v3 1880 – 11/2017 + SST: ERSST v5 1880-11/2017 to GHCN-v3 1880 -10/2018 + SST: ERDDT v5 1880-10/2018 … the years between 2013 to 2017… so far, I’m not finished, the temperature data has been altered to reflect an increase of of 0.31 C by increasing monthly temps per 41 of the 60 months. They did adjust a couple of months down, but the overall effect was to raise the temp.
    If you didn’t download the data you wouldn’t know they are altering the data…
    Oh, you think they are just altering those years? No. I quickly looked at the changes between 1880 to 1900, there were 83 changes…. haven’t done the math on that … yet…
    0.31 C in world temps by adjusting the record for just 60 months is significant. That’s a lot of heat on a planet wide basis, the previous 5 years was 0.31 hotter than we thought. … worse,
    if I do research on those numbers and they change them so frequently….. the constant refrain is and to my discredit is ” WHERE DID YOU GET THOSE NUMBERS” .. I got them from the NOAA website… is that a wiki site where the data and information can’t be trusted?

  19. What’s the worst thing that could happen? Lol! Do they not understand the Law of Unintended Consequences?

  20. What’s next??–confiscating topsoil so there’s no way to grow fruits and vegetables?

    Our educational system has run amock!

  21. If ecofasc1sts help the world slide into ice age by geo-engineering, then they will be prime candidates for the Darwin Prize.

    Of course, they will not accept it in person, as millions of other less privileged people will contribute the qualifying deaths.

    I guess Harvard are doing their best to falsify the Gaia hypothesis.

  22. “Mad Science : is when you don’t have to worry about -what is the worst possible
    This is Mad Science..

  23. #HarvardKnew

    Now that we know that Norway is the northernmost country with the coldest climate and the one that is most affected by climate change (Bob Tisdale) we have a good reason to sue anyone that is intentionally trying to cool down our climate. We intend to take Harvard for every nickel they are worth. We can add anybody with a deep pocket (like Germany and Cal.) to the case. And the venue will be the DC court system. We could hire Steyn to report on the proceedings. That will be at least 10 years of entertainment.

  24. Start recording for the next chapter of “Unintended Consequences”. I actually have no problem with this study, but let’s say they decide to try actually controlling temperature over a broad area, like the Southwest U.S. Say further they manage to successfully lower average temperatures there by 2 degrees…

    First better get ready for all the lawsuits on putting dust in the air – it will only be a matter of time for someone to stir up hysteria about the dust and sue for damages. It doesn’t matter if it actually harms anyone, it just has to sound scary to enough people to win a lawsuit.

    Second, what if lowering the temperature in the Southwest U.S. has unintended consequences, say additional rainfall in the Midwest. Once again, expect someone to sue when there are two 100 year floods in the same area – never mind you cannot prove it was caused by lowering temperatures in the Southwest.

    So ultimately, this kind of “control”, even if it works, will never be safe in the U.S. due to the lawsuit mentality.

    Then let’s say China picks it up…hey they don’t care about lawsuits so they enact it to lower temperatures over all of China and it works! And then Russia. And then India. Suddenly winters get colder in the U.S. and snow starts increasing…is it natural? Who knows. U.S. food production goes down due to longer harsher winters. Canada turns a bright pretty white – all year long. Well, China, Russia, and India don’t care (well, Russia might care because it turns white too). If I lived in Alaska, I would be cheering Global Warming on, not trying to reverse it.

    Climate control is a really dangerous idea, because we could actually be successful but we have proven again and again we can’t predict the side-effects of large engineering projects. We are much better at building sea walls and dikes at a local level then trying to manage the global climate.

    Meanwhile, the Earth slowly moves towards a more temperate climate – let’s just leave it be.

    • Thanks for the link because my question was going to be on who’s authority does any one group have the right to screw with my climate.

      • I tend to agree they shouldn’t have the authority, but not based on UN. The UN’s BS studies and GIGO climate models are directly responsible for this crap.

        As far as I’m concerned, the UN already spews more than enough sulphate aerosols and greenhouse gasses out of their tailpipes (both literally and figuratively).

  25. I saw ‘a TV thing’ some while ago, can’t recall what exactly, but can recall my ‘take-away’ from it.

    It concerned a guy in Arizona who was growing olive oil.
    This was ‘class’ olive oil, extra virgin, first pressing from perfectly ripe fruit and no windfalls. None of your cheap and nasty engine oil here.

    He was getting over 2,000 litres, per acre of trees, of saleable product.
    Must consider that nearly the same again was left on the ground in wind-fallen fruit and he could have got another 50% with hot or chemical pressing.
    So what was the Gross Yield of that Arizona olive plantation – 6,000 litres per acre per year?

    Now then, farmers in the UK ‘try’ to grow vegetable oil – rape-seed oil or= canola?
    Rape seed oil is pure muck, mostly for exotic chemicals, paint making or Biodiesel and so they squeeze every last drop of the stuff out of the seed by every means they can – and still only get 500 litres per acre yield. Gross yield maybe 550 litres?

    The difference between Arizona oil and UK oil – the amount and quality of the sunlight ##
    Very similar considerations will apply to plants making other big, complicated and energy intensive molecules – such as protein not least.
    UK farmers cannot grow soya, by example, simply because we don’t have the ‘quality’ of the light to do the chemistry that makes protein, in any quantity.
    Yes we have 17 or 18 hour days and its nice & warm with the Gulf Stream but not the high energy photons to power the chemical reactions involved.

    Even small amounts of what these clowns are proposing will completely trash agriculture.
    And the output of solar panels – and solar power stations.And Biomass,

    It is paranoid knee-jerk thoughtlessness like this that has got Mrs May asking if we are ‘anxious’ and why women everywhere are now keeping their legs crossed and simply saying ‘no’
    Then they go to lawyers to level charges of unreasonable behaviour. What these guys are thinking of doing is exactly that:
    Unreasonable. Not sensible. Without reason. Insane.

    ## Exactly the same considerations apply to the GHGE but no-one wants to know – it is *quality* not quantity of the radiation that matters – that has a heating effect.
    Rides a Coach & Horses through the ozone hole nonsense also, complicated chemical reactions do not happen in low energy environments nor accelerate as temps fall.

    • We could release it south of 55 degrees south latitude to help cool Antarctica in summer time, this will allow sea ice to survive a bit longer, cool the continent, and maybe start reducing sea level. We can take credit for the extra land, especially in places with very expensive real estate like Montecarlo and Monterrey. This could even be a huge money maker on top of making us famous and earning us the gratitude of those Pacific islanders whose islands will be larger.

  26. This experiment is from the same woke crowd who oppose all manner of energy development because of their concern for all things environmental. Now of course nobody better demand of them and their experiments that they demand of anyone else.

  27. Such an experiment sounds useful as long as it produces useful data.

    Suppose, for sake of argument only, that the alarmists turn out to be correct in a hundred years. Having a Plan B to prevent runaway global warming means we don’t have to be stampeded into doing stupid things right now, like wrecking the economy and therefore civilization.

    • I agree with you, most here do not, apparently. I don’t see anything terribly bad happening as 1 kg of chalk dust is going to be dispersed and will not stay suspended for very long. Hopefully, they will be able to produce useful data.

    • I have no problem with releasing 1Kg of chalk into the air, to see what happens.

      What worries me is the clear intent to scale up to experiments which impact the global climate.

  28. Do we have laws that intentional sabotage of the environment is a crime? If so, that word needs to be put out, and anybody who actually tries to do this needs to be arrested tried convicted and sent to prison.

      • Angel Artiste December 8, 2018 at 12:06 pm
        It’s an insane plan, but probably less insane than the idea of stopping global warming by spreading socialism around the world.

        Harry Passfield December 8, 2018 at 12:28 pm
        Angel: Spot on!

        Global warming does not need to be stopped – Stop buying into their argument. Stop letting them set the agenda. Wake up!

  29. Such an experiment would be beyond idiocy. It would be criminal. It ought to be outlawed by the US government or at least challenged in court. Let them prove the need for it. They won’t be able to do that because their pseudo-scientific reasoning cuts no wood.

  30. I’m sure it’been said before: What could go wrong?
    This is the arrogance of scientivists. They are dangerous people.

  31. While I am with Alan Tomalty that these are seriously deranged people who should be put somewhere quiet where they can’t do any harm, if there is no shortage of money in the US to waste then we should put them in a rocket with lots of paint and brushes and send them off to paint the Sun black.

    Screwing around with things that really are beyond their limited imagination and which have potentially seriously adverse results really is mad.

    • I hear it is super-popular in far northern Cali. where, I’m told, the sun does come out a few times a year.
      if someone hasn’t given it a scare

  32. It’s a fantasy solution to a fantasy problem, which would not only be hideously expensive, but likely would have unforseen, and possibly disasterous consequences if implemented.

  33. These nutty professors at Harvard must really want to create widespread global crop failure and famine for everyone. This should complement the oncoming Maunder minimum and get everyone on a weight loss programme.

  34. And remember, scientists in the early 70’s, concerned about global cooling considered pouring soot over the arctic and diverting arctic rivers. They knew those actions could have dangerous, unforseen consequences though. The idea that man can, or should even try, to change the climate is indeed cuckoo for cocoa puffs crazy. We may as well try to halt the tides.

  35. I have an idea.
    Let’s install millions and millions of solar panels around the world, then create a manmade cloud to block the sun. Absolutely brilliant.

  36. This scheme should be banned immediately. Just because a part of the globe is warm doesn’t mean that all of the globe is warm. To block sunlight indiscriminately will certainly result in cooling of temperate or normally cool regions, almost certainly resulting in deaths from cold, and destruction of property from excessive cold.
    Because the reduction in temperatures the scientists cause will not be controllable.

  37. Thanks for this post. After reading it and its sources, I prepared two responses to the Harvard team, which are given below. I’ve also asked for contact information for their advisory team. Geoengineering of the atmosphere is fine for scifi movies but potentially dangerous in the real world. My concerns below may seem minor, but they, too, are certainly real.

    I am deeply concerned about the effect of your project on my atmospheric observations for more than 30 years and the sunlight measurements by the UVB Network operated by Colorado State University (I have managed one of their sites since 2004). Because there are many natural volcanic events that you can exploit rather than injecting aerosols artificially, the unannounced timing and nature of your experiment raises serious questions. For example, consider the historic Kilauea eruption, which injected 50,000 tons of SO2 into the atmosphere for several months? Where were you? (I was there measuring the effect of SO2 on my UV and ozone measurements.)
    Next year I will begin work on a comprehensive paper on 30 years of observations at my Texas site (29.6N 97.9W) of Saharan dust, Asian dust, Mexican and Central American biomass smoke. Since 4 Feb 1990, I have made near daily measurements of the ozone layer, UVB, total column water vapor and aerosol optical depth at multiple wavelengths. I made extensive measurements of the atmospheric impact from the June 1991 Pinatubo eruption. The last thing I want to report is interference in my observations by an artificial aerosol injection by a group with much bigger ambitions that will ruin global monitoring of the atmosphere.
    You obviously feel that your initial project will not cause any problems. Yet, you have already encountered an unexpected consequence from an observer with a long track record. The least you can do is provide detailed information about the location of any aerosol injections, so I can inform the UVB Network and other observers about your proposed interference to our measurements. I suggest you move your project to Antarctica, from where many balloon flights are launched and where there are very few ground-based solar observation stations. Please stay far, far away from my Texas site, Hawaii’s Mauna Loa Observatory, where I have calibrated my instruments for each of the past 25 years, and all the UVB Network sites. And please don’t tamper with our incredible atmosphere by expanding your project globally in order to win more research grants. The negative consequences could be far more unexpected than even you can imagine.

    Please do not interfere with my stratospheric aerosol measurements. In addition to my prior objections to your project, For 5 years I have measured the elevation of aerosol layers from 1 km to 150 km using the twilight method. My method reliably detects tropospheric aerosol layers, the permanent stratospheric aerosol layer and meteor smoke from the upper stratosphere into the thermosphere. My measurements are made when the sky is cloud-free from my site (29.6N 97.9W) to 300-500 km toward the sunset point. It is absolutely essential that I be notified at least 8 hours in advance of any planned aerosol injections during the twilight glow along the path cited above, the direction of which changes each night with earth’s tilt.

  38. Gee, why is it that when you have a system that works well, some “geniuses” (and I use that word loosely) have to fiddle with it and ruin it for everyone else?

    These Harvard people are nuts. If they want to play God, they are on the wrong planet for it.

    I sincerely hope that their experiment fails and fails badly.

  39. Perhaps there is a neomalthusian agenda to trigger the next ice age. Perhaps man in some way is delaying the the transition to the next glacial period and the PTB would like to reverse this

    The impact of a glacial period of rapid onset on crops and population on a civilization preparing for the opposite (global warming) would be horrendous. The elites would be well prepared with their stock piles of food and luxury items , real estate in warmer climates, and private military to protect from the hungry masses, and at the end of the day there are a lot less of us around making a number of neomalthusians happy as the New New World Order begins with a clean slate.

  40. It is highly “foolish” experiment. The solar radiation reduction impact all meteorological parameters including rainfall and thus on crop production and diseases. It is like a doctor giving prescription without diagnosing the disease. If you got plenty of money you can do any thing.

    Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

  41. The strong animosity the consensus of climate-blog-skeptics (unfortunately) evince towards geoengineering experiments and suggestions has one curious implication. They are not in the pocket or under the influence of nefarious business-as-usual forces, which presumably would love to divert efforts from mitigation to adaptation—e.g., geoengineering.

    Attention: Heartland, GWPF, etc: Add this point to our quiver of counterpunch ammo.

  42. So these “scientists” are considering spraying something in to the atmosphere to stop global warming? I think they should look up the plot of a film called “Snowpiercer “.

  43. Sadly, the proposed project is further confirmation of why Harvard is not/should not be known for excellence as an engineering science center, let alone be consider as one of the top institutions studying climatology.

    So, a single weather ballon is going to loft a large enough mass of calcium carbonate to cause measurable solar dimming over an intercepted area of 0.1 km^2 (the propeller wake that is 1 km long by 100 meters diameter, according to the article)??? Yeah, right!

    And they dare to compare the reported 100 g to 1 kg of calcium carbonate mass lofted to the 20 million tonnes of sulfur dioxide put into the atmosphere by the Mt. Pinatubo eruption, which only cooled the globe by 0.5 C according to scientific reports (granted that CaCo3 particulates would differ in effectiveness in causing solar dimming compared to SO2 vapor/aerosol).

    Then again, maybe the Harvard researches have made a breakthrough in technology that can measure difference in atmosphere temperature to .001 C resolution . . . bearing in mind the measuring difference in light scattering does not easily correlate (even via “models”) to realized differences in dynamic atmospheric temperature.

    Good grief!

    • Boeing 747 “jumbo jet” has 140 tonnes cargo capacity. To mimic 20 million tonnes SO2 emitted by Mt. Pinatubo, they need:
      20,000,000/140 = 142,857 flights/yr
      That’s a jumbo jet taking off every 3.68 minutes. Charge the cost to Al Gore

  44. I can think of several reasons to disapprove of this.

    1 – Cost. Renting a ship to “anchor” a balloon which will release CaCO3 into the atmosphere. The liability insurance premiums alone should be exorbitant.
    2 – Weather. Wind patterns change on a whim. The monsoonal flow from the Indian Ocean into northwestern India and Pakistan never used to go into the Arabian peninsula. Now it happens every year, resulting in flooding that never used to happen.
    3 – Unless this “experiment’ is carried on continuously for several years in a row and constantly monitored, the results will only reflect what happens in the short time period of the experiment. This has no bearing on how a system as erratic as Earth’s atmosphere will act over a period of 10 to 20 years. The proposal gives no reference to the effects on areas within a specified distance from the site.

    Those are just a few reasons to not fund it. The most important one is this:
    4 – When you fiddle with a relatively stable system and ignore the feedback factor while you’re at it, the results can and probably will be disastrous for those on the sidelines who are impacted by the experiment.

    • I see that I left out one thing that IS important and it’s the long-term effects of the substance these geniuses are planning to use: CaCO3 (calcium carbonate).

      Calcium carbonate, CaCO3, is insoluble in water. Like the volcanic ash that they think they’re mimicking, it will clog airplane engines and foul them enough to cause accidents. They want to put this balloon experiment into what is general commercial and military aviation air space, and whatever they release will stay in the atmosphere unless it’s rained or snowed downward. Then it goes into the ocean and contaminates fishing and fish habitats, never mind contaminating any agricultural land it drops to. And since it’s a “thin cloud”, it won’t be visible on radar or LIDAR, either.

      Yes, this is a truly WONDERUL IDEA!!! GENIUS!!!

  45. From the minds of Mensa, who brought us corn ethanol and other environmental disasters, now planning a truly epic ruination of our earth!

  46. I already did this experiment. I should publish my results before they launch the balloon, to show that it can be done much cheaper. I planted a maple tree, south of my house and it cast a shade across the southern exposure of the house, and resulted in reduced temperatures. As the tree grew bigger, the shade was larger, and the cooling was also increased.
    If I knew they were throwing $millions at the problem, I would have documented it a little better. When I was still riding a tricycle, I discovered that it felt cooler in the shade. I assumed everyone understood that. But casting shade on your neighbors without permission is not cool.
    Making it colder is a no brainier. Keeping it warm, when things get cold will be a challenge. Better that they work on that one.

  47. Experiment? No…sounds more like massive environmental pollution. Subject them to heavy EPA-mandated fines if they go through with this!

  48. Take per out of perturbation and substitute mas, and the value of this experiment is revealed.

  49. What is all the angst about crop heat stress from a couple degrees extra warmth during a growing season? The year of the great Yellowstone fires, 1988, was exceptionally warm in the northern plains. i am pretty sure the summer was far more than two degrees Celsius above the 1958-1988 average, and probably as much above 1980-2010. The result? Bumper yields of sugar beets and pinto beans. Big yields of corn also, although corn yields in the northern plains are never impressive by Iowa standards.

  50. The experiment has already been run although in reverse order. It was called “The Clean Air Act” passed by congress in the late 70’s. The first order of business was to put sulfur dioxide scrubbers on the stacks of coal-fired power plants. The scrubbers effectively reduced both the haze and cloud nucleation the SO2 produced and warming rates increased in the early 80’s. This effect can be easily verified, just pick 3 or 4 close-by power plants and shut the scrubbers off next summer.

  51. I think that such geoengineering experiments are a colossal waste of money, especially when they’re making a catastrophe over what is essentially a non-issue. And even many alarmists of man-made “climate change” are opposed to geoengineering experiments. Those scientists in question should switch instead to real issues like how to fend off asteroids that could be real threats literally to our planet, or how to reverse biodiversity decline or the global garbage/plastic pollution problem, and they should spend their research money in any of those directions.

  52. Unfortunately, this is a big mistake. Unfortunately, our realistic situation is like the position of a man in a window on the fifth floor of a burning house. If you stay there you will definitely burn off if you jump there is a chance. Unfortunately, we are in a state of emergency.

    • malkom700

      Unfortunately, we are in a state of emergency.

      What is the emergency (other than the deliberate destruction of the nation, of the world’s economies) due to the promotion of the CAGW hoax by politicians, and the media and academics who are paid by the politicians?

    • MalKom,
      Have you walked outside recently…or ever?
      Everyplace I go, the sky is blue, the clouds are white, the trees and the grass is green and growing bountifully…
      The rain is wet, the sunshine is warm, and everything is just like it has always been.
      Weather is weather, and it varies, with some harsh weather but most of the time in most places everything is very nice indeed.
      In fact, nothing unusual is happening with our weather or our climate, and people who have spent a bunch of decades paying close attention to such things know this very well.
      The planet is not on fire, the Arctic is not screaming, and we have actual problems that are going ignored while a bunch of liars and frauds have a bunch of fools thinking the sky is falling.
      I hope you have nothing to do with educating children, because some of them are fragile and believe your nonsense, and then some of them throw away their lives taking drugs and committing suicide.
      So get a grip, quit your raving and scaremongering, and take a walk outside.
      Then come back and say thank you.

  53. I don’t understand all the negativity in these comments regarding geoengineering research. First of all, hard-core environmentalists hate geoengineering to the core, and try to shut down research into it as much as possible. They believe that it would provide an “excuse” to people not to implement their costly and ineffective anti-carbon policies. In reality, geoengineering research would also give us a lot of information about how the natural climate and climate change work. Any kind of “experiment” regarding climate would look like geoengineering research, even if its purpose was just to understand the normal processes of both natural and man-made climate change.

    • Cool, you want to do research go in a lab and knock yourself out. Oh, and use your money, not mine. Far too many things tax dollars are needed for.

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