Claim: Climate Damage Caused by Growing Space Tourism Needs Urgent Mitigation

Peer-Reviewed Publication

UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON

Published today in the journal Earth’s Future, researchers from UCL, the University of Cambridge and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) used a 3D model to explore the impact of rocket launches and re-entry in 2019, and the impact of projected space tourism scenarios based on the recent billionaire space race.

The team found that black carbon (soot) particles emitted by rockets are almost 500 times more efficient at holding heat in the atmosphere than all other sources of soot combined (surface and aircraft) – resulting in an enhanced climate effect.

Furthermore, while the study revealed that the current loss of total ozone due to rockets is small, current growth trends around space tourism indicate potential for future depletion of the upper stratospheric ozone layer in the Arctic in spring. This is because pollutants from solid-fuel rockets and re-entry heating of returning spacecraft and debris are particularly harmful to stratospheric ozone.

Study co-author Dr Eloise Marais (UCL Geography) said: “Rocket launches are routinely compared to greenhouse gas and air pollutant emissions from the aircraft industry, which we demonstrate in our work is erroneous.

“Soot particles from rocket launches have a much larger climate effect than aircraft and other Earth-bound sources, so there doesn’t need to be as many rocket launches as international flights to have a similar impact. What we really need now is a discussion amongst experts on the best strategy for regulating this rapidly growing industry.”

To calculate the findings, the researchers collected information on the chemicals from all 103 rocket launches in 2019 from across the world, as well as data on reusable rocket and space junk re-entry. They also used the recent demonstrations by space tourism entrepreneurs Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin and SpaceX and proposed yearly offerings of at least daily launches by Virgin Galactic to construct a scenario of a future formidable space tourism industry.

These data were then incorporated into a 3D atmospheric chemistry model to explore the impact on climate and the ozone layer.

The team show that warming due to soot is 3.9 mW m-2 from a decade of contemporary rockets, dominated by emissions from kerosene-fuelled rockets. However, this more than doubles (7.9 mW m-2) after just three years of additional emissions from space tourism launches, due to the use of kerosene by SpaceX and hybrid synthetic rubber fuels by Virgin Galactic.

The researchers say this is of particular concern, as when the soot particles are directly injected into the upper atmosphere, they have a much greater effect on climate than other soot sources – with the particles 500 times more efficient at retaining heat.

The team found that, under a scenario of daily or weekly space tourism rocket launches, the impact on the stratospheric ozone layer threatens to undermine the recovery experienced after the successful implementation of the Montreal Protocol.

Adopted in 1987, the Montreal Protocol global ban on substances that deplete the ozone layer is considered one of the most successful international environmental policy interventions.

Study co-author Dr Robert Ryan said: “The only part of the atmosphere showing strong ozone recovery post-Montreal Protocol is the upper stratosphere, and that is exactly where the impact of rocket emissions will hit hardest. We weren’t expecting to see ozone changes of this magnitude, threatening the progress of ozone recovery.

“There is still a lot we need to find out about the influence of rocket launch and re-entry emissions on the atmosphere – in particular, the future size of the industry and the types and by-products of new fuels like liquid methane and bio-derived fuels.

“This study allows us to enter the new era of space tourism with our eyes wide open to the potential impacts. The conversation about regulating the environmental impact of the space launch industry needs to start now so we can minimise harm to the stratospheric ozone layer and climate.”

The DOI for this paper will be 10.1029/2021EF002612

About UCL – London’s Global University

UCL is a diverse global community of world-class academics, students, industry links, external partners, and alumni. Our powerful collective of individuals and institutions work together to explore new possibilities.

Since 1826, we have championed independent thought by attracting and nurturing the world’s best minds. Our community of more than 43,800 students from 150 countries and over 14,300 staff pursues academic excellence, breaks boundaries and makes a positive impact on real world problems.

We are consistently ranked among the top 10 universities in the world and are one of only a handful of institutions rated as having the strongest academic reputation and the broadest research impact.

We have a progressive and integrated approach to our teaching and research – championing innovation, creativity and cross-disciplinary working. We teach our students how to think, not what to think, and see them as partners, collaborators and contributors.  

For almost 200 years, we are proud to have opened higher education to students from a wide range of backgrounds and to change the way we create and share knowledge.

We were the first in England to welcome women to university education and that courageous attitude and disruptive spirit is still alive today. We are UCL.

www.ucl.ac.uk | Follow @uclnews on Twitter | Read news at www.ucl.ac.uk/news/ | Listen to UCL podcasts on SoundCloud | Find out what’s on at UCL Minds

Links to online profiles and social media accounts:

Eloise Marais UCL profile: https://www.geog.ucl.ac.uk/people/academic-staff/academic-staff/eloise-marais

Marais Research Lab: https://maraisresearchgroup.co.uk/people.html

Rob Ryan UCL profile: https://www.geog.ucl.ac.uk/people/research-staff/robert-ryan

Rob Ryan Twitter handle: @rsquared_aus

UCL Geography Twitter handle: @UCLgeography

JOURNAL

Earth s Future

DOI

10.1029/2021EF002612 

ARTICLE TITLE

Impact of Rocket Launch and Space Debris Air Pollutant Emissions on Stratospheric Ozone and Global Climate

ARTICLE PUBLICATION DATE

25-Jun-2022

From EurekAlert!

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Felix
June 25, 2022 10:10 pm

The idea that a few rockets to LEO, or even just up and down with 5-10 minutes of freefall, could make any measurable difference to any kind of pollution, whether real or imagined, is grasping for straws.

Alexy Scherbakoff
Reply to  Felix
June 25, 2022 10:16 pm

We also get about 50 tons of meteoric material per day.

Geoffrey Williams
Reply to  Felix
June 25, 2022 11:47 pm

Can’t agree. The study makes sense to me.

Alexy Scherbakoff
Reply to  Geoffrey Williams
June 26, 2022 12:06 am

I wonder how many volcanic eruptions it will be equivalent to? 10^-23 perhaps?

Geoffrey Williams
Reply to  Alexy Scherbakoff
June 26, 2022 1:30 am

Fair point . .

PCman999
Reply to  Geoffrey Williams
June 26, 2022 2:33 am

109 rocket flights in 2019 – that’s like 1 days airplane flights for a small airport.

Auto
Reply to  Geoffrey Williams
June 26, 2022 7:38 am

It’s a Model.

Auto

Rich Davis
Reply to  Felix
June 26, 2022 7:28 am

You miss the point. This is something that only rich people can do. So the conclusion is that it’s destructive and bad. Now come up with a hypothesis to prove it, and create some model data to back it up. It’s The Science ™ man!

Myron
Reply to  Rich Davis
June 26, 2022 6:56 pm

I thought it was only when regular people do things that it is bad for the climate?

Reply to  Rich Davis
June 30, 2022 7:25 am

This isn’t about environment, it’s about government. They let slip their true intentions twice with “What we really need now is a discussion amongst experts on the best strategy for regulating this rapidly growing industry.” and “The conversation about regulating the environmental impact of the space launch industry needs to start now…”

So it’s about government control, regulation, and wealth redistribution.

gbaikie
June 25, 2022 10:20 pm

SpaceX is replacing kerosene with Starships which use Methane {H20 and CO2}.
Kerosene and it’s soot were considered a problem for reusing rocket engines, but they
have been reused 13 times, so I guess, less than expected.

Paul Johnson
Reply to  gbaikie
June 26, 2022 11:49 am

Blue Origin’s BE-4 engine, to be used on their New Glenn and ULA’s Vulcan launchers, will be LNG-fueled. Once again, the answer is…switch to Natural Gas.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  gbaikie
June 26, 2022 12:15 pm

How much cleaning occurs in refurbishing the Merlin engine for reuse?

Rusty
June 25, 2022 10:28 pm

This story was written by The Babylon Bee… Right??? No “real” scientist would be this silly…

Retired_Engineer_Jim
June 25, 2022 10:44 pm

Well, the cause isn’t getting enough press coverage because of SCOTUS decisions, so they had to publish this. Next, they will prove that the SCOTUS decisions were the result of Climate Change.

Brad
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
June 25, 2022 11:44 pm

Has there been a study on the impact of all the munitions being used in Ukraine?
what about the emissions from hunting and recreational shooting?

Martin Buchanan
Reply to  Brad
June 26, 2022 2:51 am

Don’t give them ideas.

hiskorr
Reply to  Brad
June 26, 2022 4:38 am

And there is black powder in all the fireworks coming up next weekend. Shall we ban them, or is it only the minuscule carbon released in the stratosphere that is “bad”?

Hoyt Clagwell
Reply to  hiskorr
June 26, 2022 9:22 am

It’s the same “hate America” crowd that’s driving the CAGW meme so I’m sure they’re working on that.

Dena
June 25, 2022 11:06 pm

I suspect one of the problems is the fuel mix. Run hydrogen and oxygen in a 2 to 1 mix and you end up with a very hot flame that might cut it’s way out of the rocket engine. You have two options. Add more oxygen to cool the flame down or add more fuel for the same effect. It could be they are running fuel rich because the fuel takes less space and is less likely to damage the engine than an oxygen rich mix would. In addition, the fuel is easer to handle where as oxygen has rather difficult storage and handling requirements.

Alexy Scherbakoff
Reply to  Dena
June 25, 2022 11:52 pm

No soot from oxygen/hydrogen combustion. It’s a clean flame with nothing but water as a byproduct. The article is about other fuel mixes.

Dena
Reply to  Alexy Scherbakoff
June 26, 2022 8:17 am

NASSA uses Hydrogen. Read the text above and you will see “due to the use of kerosene by SpaceX and hybrid synthetic rubber fuels by Virgin Galactic.” Kersone while not the most effective rocket fuel has been used for a very long time and was one of the first fuels until they developed better ways to handle Hydrogen. The carbon based fuels are what the article is about. NASSA will be doing far fewer of their own rockets and will depend more on the other two in order to get their loads into orbit thus more carbon from rocket exhaust. Add space tourism and you have even a smaller precentage of the launches fueled by Hydrogen.

Alexy Scherbakoff
Reply to  Dena
June 26, 2022 11:38 pm

So you are agreeing with me.

Duane
Reply to  Alexy Scherbakoff
June 26, 2022 8:23 am

But those other fuel mixes are not used in commercial space tourism, which the effects of is what the research was predicated upon. So to bring up fuels that are not actually in use is a dishonest red herring.

.KcTaz
Reply to  Dena
June 26, 2022 12:25 am

How does oxygen cool down a flame, please?

cirby
Reply to  .KcTaz
June 26, 2022 3:36 am

By making suboptimal combustion ratios.

Too much oxygen (or hydrogen) in the combustion mixture means some of the flow is left unburned, therefore a cooler combustion.

Duane
Reply to  cirby
June 26, 2022 8:19 am

There is no such thing as “too much” oxygen for combustion. It is possibly only for oxygen to be exactly enough, have “excess”, or be too little for the amount of fuel. Any “excess” oxygen in the fuel mixture is not involved in combustion, but can, as you say, provide cooling to the rocket motor or is simply exhausted to the atmosphere with negligible effect on concentration.

Since it is never desirable to deliver too little oxygen to support complete combustion of the fuel mass, excess oxygen is always provided.

Dena
Reply to  Duane
June 26, 2022 8:29 am

An oxygen/acetylene cutting torch uses a proper mix to warm the metal. When the temperature is correct, you hit the Oxygen lever and a stream of oxygen is provided to the cutting tip to burn through the hot metal. An Oxygen rich rocket engine might have additional damage in an oxygen rich environment. This wasn’t a big issue for NASA because they tended to get only one launch per rocket. With reusable rockets, fuel rich might be more desirable because they get more launches per rocket.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Duane
June 26, 2022 12:36 pm

“Since it is never desirable to deliver too little oxygen to support complete combustion of the fuel mass, excess oxygen is always provided.”

Flat out incorrect.

For example, the currently-in-use SpaceX Raptor LOX-methane rocket engine uses an operating mixture ratio (O/F by mass) of about 3.55, which is on the fuel-rich side of stoichiometric combustion (4.0 by mass).

As another example, the LOX-LH2 RS-68 engine that currently powers the Delta IV launch vehicle has a full power operating mixture ratio of 5.97, well on the fuel-rich side of the mixture ratio (O/F by mass) of 8.0 that is required for stoichiometric combustion.

Alexy Scherbakoff
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
June 26, 2022 11:40 pm

‘stoichiometric’ is a big word for some people.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Alexy Scherbakoff
June 27, 2022 6:52 am

Very true . . . but Google and on-line dictionaries are available to most people.

ATheoK
Reply to  Duane
June 27, 2022 6:58 pm

In welding or jewelry construction, torch flame is described as oxidizing, i.e., too much oxygen, or a reducing flame, too little oxygen for the flame. Too much oxygen in a torch flame oxidizes the metal, easily seen in silver. To little oxygen in the flame greatly eliminates tarnish.

As Dana notes, oxyacetylene cutting torches have a lever that floods the flame with additional oxygen in order to cut through steel plate.

Duane
Reply to  .KcTaz
June 26, 2022 8:21 am

The oxygen in methalone fuel is supercooled, so any excess oxygen that is not combusted will absorb heat from the combustion chamber and exhaust stream, cooling it down.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Duane
June 26, 2022 3:00 pm

The hypothetical propellant mixture that you are dreaming about is referred to as “methalox”, not “methalone”.

Of course, LOX will burn violently with any fuel that it is contact with, only requiring a mere spark to set off the explosion. Just one of the reasons real rockets scientists have not pursued methalox as being practical for anything.

It has been reported that JPL demonstrated that you could make methalox detonate merely by shining a bright light on it.
— source: https://space.stackexchange.com/questions/34973/pre-mixing-cryogenic-fuels-and-using-only-one-fuel-tank 

Last edited 1 month ago by Gordon A. Dressler
Duane
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
June 26, 2022 4:23 pm

Not hypothetical – it is the exact fuel used by SpaceX and Blue Origins

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Duane
June 26, 2022 5:27 pm

Got any reference to cite for that?

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Duane
June 26, 2022 5:55 pm

Got any reference to cite for that statement?

Here is a reference that says not, repeatedly, for Blue Origin
(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BE-4):

“The BE-4 is a staged-combustion engine, with a single oxygen-rich preburner, and a single turbine driving both the fuel and oxygen pumps.”

“Blue Origin began work on the BE-4 in 2011 . . . This was their first engine to combust liquid oxygen and liquified natural gas propellants.”

“The BE-4 uses liquified natural gas rather than more commonly used rocket fuels such as kerosene.”

and in the caption for a side view photo of the actual engine:
“Blue Origin BE-4 rocket engine powerhead and combustion chamber, April 2018—liquified natural gas inlet side view.”

There is not a single mention of methalox, or even “methalone”, in the entire Wiki article on the BE-4, including all listed references.

Facts matter. Your pronouncements, not so much.

Myron
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
June 26, 2022 7:03 pm

They need to create a hybrid fuel that includes narcotics. “That new methadone fuel is guaranteed to get our rocket very high.”

Alexy Scherbakoff
Reply to  Myron
June 26, 2022 11:42 pm

Unfortunately, the withdrawal systems would feel like shit.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Alexy Scherbakoff
June 27, 2022 6:55 am

Those are sometimes referred to a “crash landings” . . . maybe there’s a connection to be made there?

hiskorr
Reply to  Dena
June 26, 2022 4:40 am

Of course it is the fuel-rich mixture that controls the temperature, just like in all ICE combustion!

Duane
Reply to  Dena
June 26, 2022 8:30 am

The fuel used by SpaceX and Blue Origin is methalone, a combined super cooled mix of methane and oxygen. The benefit of excess oxygen in methalone above that required to fully combust the methane is not only that it is not wasteful of supercooled methane, which is just as expensive to produce and store as super cooled oxygen, but also because excess oxygen does serve to cool down the combustion temperature and also eliminates the release of unturned methane, a regulated pollutant unlike oxygen, to the atmosphere.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Duane
June 26, 2022 2:08 pm

Are you crazy?

The current SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle uses RP-1 (basically refined kerosene) for its fuel. The currently-in-testing Raptor engine planned for its booster to launch it Starship spacecraft will use methane fuel.

The methane is fed into the engine, sparate from the liquid oxygen, because the Raptor engine is based on a full flow staged combustion engine cycle.

Duane
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
June 26, 2022 4:26 pm

No you are crazy. The Falcon 9 is not the spacecraft used for space tourism. Methalone is fuel used in the far more powerful Falcon Super Heavy which is the spacecraft SpaceX will use for space tourism.

Read the effing post before embarrassing yourself yet again.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Duane
June 26, 2022 6:12 pm

First, the Falcon 9 is not a spacecraft at all . . . it is the booster and second stage launch vehicle used to launch unmanned and manned crew capsules into orbit, including transport to the International Space Stations (ISS).

Second, you are, once again flat out wrong even considering this correction to your nomenclature:

“A SpaceX rocket soared into orbit Wednesday evening, carrying four people — none of whom are professional astronauts — and kicking off the first-ever mission to Earth’s orbit crewed entirely by tourists.
— source: https://www.cnn.com/2021/09/15/tech/spacex-inspiration-4-space-tourism-mission-launch-scn/index.html , amongst many others
(my bold emphasis added)
. . . and to make it perfectly clear, the launch vehicle referenced in cited CNN article was a Falcon 9.

Now, you were saying something about embarrassing yourself . . .

John V. Wright
June 25, 2022 11:18 pm

And what is the actual increase in temperature of the upper atmosphere, due to the fact that this rocket soot is 500 times more efficient at retaining heat than ‘other’ soot? Oh look, the article doesn’t say. Of course it doesn’t, because it’s too small to be calculated.
Look, this ‘science’ is an illness – a kind of intellectual masturbation which is self-absorbing for those involved but is ultimately of little consequence. Thank heavens WUWT is here to showcase these 21st century absurdities because modern journalism is failing the planet.
Here in Britain, the Government is committed to moving to a Net Zero policy. Not one journalist has asked what our starting point is. You would think that if Net Zero was the finishing line at least one journalist would ask what the starting point was. In fact, Britain contributes 0.000012% of manmade CO2 to the global atmosphere. And from there our scientifically-illiterate Government is hellbent on destroying our economy by moving to Net Zero. Thank you Anthony, Eric and all the others on here who keep the flag flying for scientific rigour and responsible journalism.

Alexy Scherbakoff
Reply to  John V. Wright
June 26, 2022 1:13 am

They are tricky with that 500 number. Most particulate matter would probably be around 490 compared to their number for soot. There is no efficiency for holding heat for soot. Total BS.

Alexy Scherbakoff
June 26, 2022 12:02 am

I’m considering writing a paper about the wear and tear of shoes and the synthetic soles that must produce considerable carbonaceous particulate matter, especially now that Africans can afford shoes.
I will also write about the wear and tear of synthetics used in pants. The horror of fat thighs rubbing together makes me shudder.

Reply to  Alexy Scherbakoff
June 26, 2022 3:24 am

How about a paper on significant particulate matter from tire wear and the extra tire wear caused by the heavy weight of batteries in electric vehicles?

Alexy Scherbakoff
Reply to  Richard Greene
June 26, 2022 4:23 am

It wouldn’t be as amusing.

BobM
Reply to  Alexy Scherbakoff
June 26, 2022 10:16 am

Please don’t publish any pictures demonstrating the “fat thighs rubbing together” in your paper. Thanks.

Tom
Reply to  Alexy Scherbakoff
June 26, 2022 4:44 am

You’re too late. The Spring 2022, volume 58 Number 2 issue of ‘The Michigan Riparian’ just published an article on microplastic ’emissions’ into waterways. It suggested that that filters on washing machines should be used to reduce microplastic fiber emissions from synthetic clothing. I guess that microplastic fiber emissions from ‘natural’ clothing are OK,

Alexy Scherbakoff
Reply to  Tom
June 26, 2022 4:52 am

Zero emissions unless they are floating on the surface. Micron filters on washing machines would require hefty pumps and would require regular backflushing cleaning methods or total replacement. Ain’t gonna happen.

AndyHce
Reply to  Alexy Scherbakoff
June 26, 2022 11:28 am

Was you clothes once each spring and pray for the best.

.KcTaz
June 26, 2022 12:28 am

Some people have way too much time on their hands. I guess if someone is paying you to waste your time, that’s fine, unless, it’s the taxpayers in which case it is most definitely not OK.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  .KcTaz
June 26, 2022 7:24 am

That’s too cynical. You do know it took 6 months hard research for them to find a topic they could link to climate change which no one else had?

John Bell
June 26, 2022 12:47 am

I thought black soot was going to keep out the heat by reflection?

Alexy Scherbakoff
Reply to  John Bell
June 26, 2022 1:07 am

Limits sunlight to the surface. It heats up and imparts some heat to the surroundings but at the same time, half the heat absorbed radiates to space. The net result is reduced sunlight to the surface. It’s the same effect as volcanic eruptions- cooling. Both sides of the climate warming game agree on the last point.

ScienceABC123
June 26, 2022 12:53 am

These data were then incorporated into a 3D atmospheric chemistry model to explore the impact on climate and the ozone layer.”

So it’s all based on a computer model and not observation.

“The biggest problem with computer models is getting them to match-up with reality.”

fretslider
June 26, 2022 1:29 am

Different launch systems use different fuels. Kerosene is on the way out as Starship uses methane – which makes for more efficient engines

Their modelling is yet another waste of time

Bloke down the pub
June 26, 2022 2:30 am

They blame ‘pollutants from solid-fuel rockets’, yet fail to identify any human rated launchers that carry space tourists using solid rockets. The SLS has SRBs but I expect the cost per seat will preclude tourists taking a ride uphill on that one. The new generation of launchers coming into service use methane and LOX which is even cleaner than the RP1-LOX combination currently prevalent. Another non-issue story from the green blob.

marlene
June 26, 2022 2:36 am

“Growth trends around space tourism indicate future depletion of upper stratospheric ozone layer in Arctic in spring because pollutants from solid-fuel rockets & re-entry heating of returning spacecraft & debris are particularly harmful to stratospheric ozone” And space tourism is big, big business-at $250,000-$1 million a seat. So as I’ve been saying, this fuels the lie that the people are responsible for this & why we’re being forced to pay for carbon footprints that aren’t ours!

June 26, 2022 2:36 am

Crewed space flights are just a tiny fraction of all rocket launches

H.R.
June 26, 2022 2:38 am

A flea farting in a hurricane comes to mind.

I guess when all 8 billion of us start zipping around using our jet packs, there might be something to that.

It looks like we’re not going to get those flying cars in our garages, so next up on the wish list is jet packs.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  H.R.
June 26, 2022 7:29 am

8 billion zipping around using jet packs – that’s one way to reduce the population 🙂

June 26, 2022 2:42 am

How about growing air tourism to the Maldives?
https://raajje.mv/114074

Capell Aris
June 26, 2022 4:05 am

UCL . . . ‘ attracting and nurturing the world’s best minds’.

Such as the great mind of Nobel Laureate Sir Tim Hunt (https://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/jun/13/tim-hunt-forced-to-resign)?

Dr Ken Pollock
June 26, 2022 4:34 am

For those interested in accurate descriptions, for “efficient” read “effective”. I admit to not seeing any reference to a measure that could describe “efficiency” but I do accept that the soot might be more “effective”. That said, 109 flights in a year? Negligible impact, I would have thought…

Peter Wells
Reply to  Dr Ken Pollock
June 26, 2022 9:48 am

Given the rapidly approaching ice age, we can use all the warming we can get.

Loren C. Wilson
June 26, 2022 5:58 am

Did they actually measure any data? It looks like models, all the way down.

David Elstrom
June 26, 2022 6:14 am

Sick of the incessant yapping about Climate Change—the biggest scam in history. Woke Marxists are playing Luddite because they hate whatever they can’t control, and private activity like Space X shows up NASA.

AWG
June 26, 2022 6:18 am

Borrowing from the genius of AOC (“they are angry because they can’t date me”)

The authors are just jealous of those who are economically, physically and mentally capable of high altitude flight.

Duane
June 26, 2022 6:49 am

What soot from rocket motors?

SpaceX and Blue Origin rocket motors both use methalone, which is comprised of nothing but super cooled liquid methane and oxygen. There are no long chain carbon molecules that can produce solid particulate soot in methane, which is just one carbon atom and four hydrogen atoms. Soot only arises from the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels with many long chain hydrocarbon molecules, especially heavier fuels like JP-4, kerosene, and diesel. And you only get less than full combustion unless available oxygen levels are insufficient to support complete combustion, and only at lower temperatures. The rocket motors in orbital rockets combust at a temperature between 3,200 deg C and 6,400 deg C, whereas peak combustion temperatures in gasoline engines only reaches a peak of about 2,000 deg C, and in diesel engines that produce the most soot the combustion temperature only reaches 2,500 deg C

Also, if any soot particles actually were created by Earth orbit bound rocket motors – they aren’t – by definition the particles being heavy long chain hydrocarbons in solid form are heavier than air and will quickly settle out of the atmosphere.

Finally whatever greenhouse effect that may or may not exist, the effect must necessarily be in the lower atmosphere. Heat energy somehow retained in the upper atmosphere quickly radiates to space and does not impact the biosphere – us, that is.

Where do they get these self-proclaimed “scientists”?

Last edited 1 month ago by Duane
Gordon A. Dressler
June 26, 2022 12:12 pm

The University College of London is worried about the black carbon (soot) particles emitted by rockets???

Meanwhile:

1) This article states in its very first sentence: “. . . used a 3D model to explore the impact . . .” Should I have continued reading?

2) Furthermore, this article states “The team found that black carbon (soot) particles emitted by rockets are almost 500 times more efficient at holding heat in the atmosphere than . . .” In this regard, solid matter physicists teach that carbon-black is one of the most efficient radiators of thermal energy because its emissivity is close to 1.0.

3) The following:

“The number of diesel car, SUV, full-size pickup trucks and vans in operation reached 8 million in 2016.
“Diesel-powered cars accounted for about 3 percent of total auto sales in the United States, which is considerably lower than 50 percent in Europe.
“The 2020, year-end U.S. truck vehicles-in-use data shows that almost about 75 percent of all commercial vehicles are powered by diesel engines, and among the largest trucks (Class 8) diesel vehicles-in-use accounted for 97 percent of the overall population.”
—source: https://www.utilitysmarts.com/automobile/diesel/how-many-diesel-vehicles-in-the-us/ , my bold emphasis added.

There were 3.97 million Class 8 trucks (including tractors and straight trucks) in operation in the US in 2020.
— source: https://www.trucking.org/economics-and-industry-data

So, there are well over 12 million diesel ICE vehicles spread across the US right now (I am excluding diesel engines in locomotives or in stationary power generators).

As anyone who has ever driven on roadways in the US knows, are large percentage of these generate—you got it—black carbon (soot) particles.

You can pick you own multiplier to adjust the US numbers in order to estimate the total number of diesel vehicles currently in use around the world.

And even if the the University of Cambridge and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) 3D modelers are correct in their assertion that rocket-originated soot particles are “500 times more efficient at retaining heat” because they are soot particles injected directly into the upper atmosphere, there is just no credibility that this effect on “climate” would be worse than the 20-100 million diesel vehicles currently operating on Earth’s surface.

Peer-reviewed, is it? Probably just by other 3D modelers based on the evidence.

Michael S. Kelly
June 26, 2022 10:06 pm

I’ve seen this B.S. before, from a “scientist” working at Aerospace Corporation. He assumed that Virgin Galactic would fly 1,000 times a year in New Mexico, then made up (wildly too high) numbers on the amount of propellant in each flight, used a computer model to predict how much “black carbon” (used to be called carbon black) the hybrid rocket would emit, then looked at a picture of SpaceShip One on the Internet to “estimate” the optical density of the exhaust, put all of these numbers into a classified plume optics code whose workings he admittedly didn’t understand, took the optics data and put it in a climate model (whose workings…aren’t), and came up with a “climate impact.” These he used to justify a plea for more money for more studies.

His hybrid rocket exhaust code was incorrect on its face. My early experience (and a lot of it) was in rocket propulsion, and it is easy to demonstrate that no hybrid rocket emitting as much unburned carbon as his code predicted could ever work. On top of that, though, the 13 Saturn V rockets that flew between 1967 and 1973 put out as much soot as more than 57 Falcon 9 rockets, and way more than the 1,000 a year SpaceShip 2 flights he had assumed, even with his bogus soot predictions. The only piece of actual “data” used in his entire study was the eyeballed optical density of the SpaceShip One exhaust.

But just look up “tire fire” on the internet, and you can find out how many tens of millions of pounds of carbon black have been put into the atmosphere – and what it looks like.

Where’s the global warming from all of that?

ozspeaksup
June 27, 2022 2:06 am

rated a 5 because it made me laugh a lot!!
well wont that just make the richdudes days?
and they will do?
ZERO about it of course

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