British team set to field test gigantic balloon and water hose geo-engineering experiment

Sep 02, 2011 by Bob Yirka weblog
British team set to field test gigantic balloon and water hose geo-engineering experiment

(PhysOrg.com) -- In what to some might seem almost ludicrous, (think Dr. Stranglove,) a British team of geo-engineers are set to launch a giant balloon a half mile into the sky pulling with it a water hose that will then spray water pumped from the ground, into the air. But this is only the beginning; the idea is to see if such a system is feasible. The real goal is to see if it might be possible to send such a giant balloon much higher, say twice as high as airplanes fly, so as to release aerosols into the atmosphere to mimic the impact volcanoes have when they erupt. That is to cause a planetary cooling effect, to offset the warming effect of all the carbon emissions still being pumped full time into air. And that’s not all, the project dubbed Stratospheric Particle Injection for Climate Engineering (SPICE), is being backed by the British government, via the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

Most would agree that we do have a problem on our hands, the Earth is slowly growing warmer, threatening water and food supplies, if not eventually our very existence. Many question however, the wisdom of pumping aerosols into the to reflect some of the sun’s heat back into space, rather than simply figuring out a way to stop adding more .

The initial test of the plan is slated to be carried out next month in an undisclosed location. There the team will send up a smaller version of the eventual behemoth, somewhere around two thirds of a mile (about a kilometer) high. In this test, nothing but water will be squirted into the air, though some suggest they might also try something called low-level cloud whitening, which is where sea salt would be pumped up and then dispersed into the air to increase the reflectivity of clouds.

If successful, the team would then set to work in constructing the actual product, a balloon that some say would have to be as big as Wembley stadium and would weigh as much as several double-decker busses (this is a British project after all). Then, the balloon would be sent aloft to a height of twelve miles or so (20 kilometers) carrying with it something akin to a very long garden hose. Once up, a mixture of sulphates and/or would be pumped up the hose and then into the air, which would then, theoretically start reflecting heat back out into space; saving us all in the process.

If the mechanics of the project do eventually work as planned, there will likely be much debate about actually carrying out its mission, as some will undoubtedly be very much against carrying out a mission where no one really knows what might happen.

Explore further: Geologist seeks clues about the most rapid and dramatic climate change in Earth's history

More information: via Guardian

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User comments : 75

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Going
1.6 / 5 (12) Sep 02, 2011
Palliative rather than remedial , but I glad someones doing it.
ealex
3.9 / 5 (21) Sep 02, 2011
Anything it takes to not give up our fat-ass plunderer lifestyle.

With the insufficient amount we know now about the actual workings of Earth's atmosphere and climate processes, this is bound to end up in some sort of sci-fi scenario fuck-up where we either manage to achieve an opposite effect and boil ourselves to death or cause another ice-age ahead of time (or on time as some might argue).
rawa1
1.7 / 5 (7) Sep 02, 2011
It's disputable, if it could work in the way, scientists are expecting. For example, the increased density of stratospheric noctilucent clouds is linked to global warming. We shouldn't forget, the water vapor is the most important greenhouse gas. For infrared portion of light the clouds aren't very reflective at all, because their droplets are smaller than the wavelength of infrared light. It could increase the heat absorption in atmosphere instead. In addition, the chlorine formed from photolysed salt from marine water could destroy the ozone layer.
antialias_physorg
4.1 / 5 (20) Sep 02, 2011
Palliative rather than remedial

Yes. I'm predicting thousands of these ships - using ships' diesel engines which are the most polluting kind of engines on the planet - spraying water into the stratosphere.

Oh the irony.

We should keep our hands off geoengineering until we have demonstrated that we are masters of it on ANOTHER planet. Trying it out here where we have no plan B is dicey (to put it euphemistically)
TheGhostofOtto1923
4.1 / 5 (26) Sep 02, 2011
They should call it Stratospheric Particle Injection Tether (SPIT) but I bet somebody's already thought of that.
lengould100
4 / 5 (12) Sep 02, 2011
In addition to the fact that I find it highly improbable that any "hose" known could self-support itself plus the fluid inside it to a height of 12 km. Perhaps if the LTA supporting gas were divided into say 12 separate bags tethered to the hose at 1 KM intervals... ? Also the pump pressure would be tremendous. 100 kpa per 10 meters rise means that the pump pressure to get fluid up 12 km would be in the range of 120,000 kpa . (1,500 psi?) What airliftable "hose" will withstand that? What about pupming energy? Will the added reflectivity even compensate for the GHG's used to fuel the pumps?
lengould100
3.9 / 5 (7) Sep 02, 2011
It seems much more viable (to me) to send the material up the "hose" as superheated vapour at low pressure. Not exactly sure of the equations involved... Does relative density of the material within the hose vs. the external atmosphere even matter when the bottom of the hose is closed and surrounding air is not allowed to replace the gas inside the hose?
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.3 / 5 (9) Sep 02, 2011
In addition to the fact that I find it highly improbable that any "hose" known could self-support itself plus the fluid inside it to a height of 12 km. Perhaps if the LTA supporting gas were divided into say 12 separate bags tethered to the hose at 1 KM intervals... ? Also the pump pressure would be tremendous. 100 kpa per 10 meters rise means that the pump pressure to get fluid up 12 km would be in the range of 120,000 kpa . (1,500 psi?) What airliftable "hose" will withstand that? What about pupming energy? Will the added reflectivity even compensate for the GHG's used to fuel the pumps?
jeez Len do you think the engineers who did the feasibility study would have at least been able to figure this out?
lengould100
3.4 / 5 (10) Sep 02, 2011
I think I made an error on the pressure calculation above, should have been 15,000 psi. So GhostofOtto1923. Which do YOU think they did: 1) Went out to the market and sourced and priced a large-diameter hose capable of sustaining 15,000 psi over a 12 km vertical suspension from a single point? 2) Spitballed a cute idea without any feasability analysis?

I'm guessing 2) For reference, I'm familiar with the "flex" hoses used to supply 3,000 psi fluid in hydraulic circuits. A 1 cm ID hose has two layers of woven steel wire braid embedded into a very thick neoprene carcase, weighs a LOT, and fails regularly. Try to get it very much larger and you'll be told to switch to steel pipe with flex couplings.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.9 / 5 (10) Sep 02, 2011
So GhostofOtto1923. Which do YOU think they did:
Otto thinks they configured the study based on the possibility of fabricating a hose using existing and projected technologies that would function as intended.

Len maybe thinks they spitballed a cute idea without any feasability analysis and then convinced the govt to fund it for the Glory of it all I suppose? Sorry I'm just having a little fun.

We should show Brit engineers the proper respect. They designed the HMS Hood after all.
CapitalismPrevails
2.3 / 5 (9) Sep 02, 2011
"Most would agree that we do have a problem on our hands, the Earth is slowly growing warmer, threatening water and food supplies, if not eventually our very existence."

http://webcache.g...research Rasmussen poll most people believe scientists lie&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

Why not see if these balloons could make cost effective electricity to society by tapping into wind channels 1000 feet in the air?
antialias_physorg
2.5 / 5 (6) Sep 02, 2011
They designed the HMS Hood after all.

Yeah. And you know how that one turned out...
CapitalismPrevails
1 / 5 (6) Sep 02, 2011
PaulRC
5 / 5 (3) Sep 02, 2011
ya, i'm reminded of a story a professor told us in physics class, one of the physics experiments in a deep mine looking for neutrinos i think, needed so much fluid, they were looking to pipe it in. they were going to just use one pipe, until someone told them to calculate the pressure at the bottom of a standing column of the fluid several miles high. they wound up doing it the same way skyscrapers do it. holding tanks every couple of floors. i agree that is sounds like no one actually did this calculation before announcing the idea, lol.
lengould100
3 / 5 (9) Sep 02, 2011
Just another quickie calc. At 10 km, 1 cu meter of lifting gas can support about 1/3 kg. A 3 cm 6000 psi hydraulic hose empty weighs 2.67 lb/ft, about 3 kg / meter. (Gates, http://www.gatesp...=607596) Take that to 10x for one capable of delivering a distance of 10 km straight up, with the attendant friction pressure losses and static head. To support a run of that hose to 10,000 m would require a zero mass gas bag containing ABOUT 1,000,000 cu meters of hydrogen or helium.

For reference, the Hindenburg airship, largest of its type, enclosed 7,062,000 cu ft. of liftgas, about 233,000 cu meters.

That's a 1 cm ID hose.
lengould100
2.8 / 5 (5) Sep 02, 2011
Correction. That's a 3 cm ID hose
gordonalexander
5 / 5 (2) Sep 02, 2011
They designed the HMS Hood after all.

Yeah. And you know how that one turned out...


A WWI battlecruiser slugged it out with a WWII battleship and lost - hardly an indictment of the the former's designers skill.
gimpypoet
2 / 5 (12) Sep 02, 2011
first prove global warminrg isn't stilla theory, then show proof that current situation is not part of a longrer natural cycle, then address solutions thatt are feasable. aren't we going to run out of oil in same time frameas tipping point?
lengould100
2.6 / 5 (5) Sep 02, 2011
Another problem. The mass of fluid in the 10 km of 3 cm hose will be (for water) 706 grams per meter, or 706 kg per km, or 7,060 kg for the run. It must be supported by the gasbag. If a pump or valve at the bottom fails and the hose goes empty, the lift bag is going to be pulling on the bottom station with 7 tons force.
lengould100
1.8 / 5 (5) Sep 02, 2011
gimpypoet : When oil runs out, pure economics dictates we'll build a bunch of coal-to-liquids plants and run them on coal from in-ground gassification processes, a coal resource which is essentially unlimited.
Sanescience
1.8 / 5 (5) Sep 02, 2011
Make the hose from an ultra light weight insulating material, prime it with hot air as the balloon and hose rises and keeps it heated so that there is no condensation to weigh it down and then introduce super heated water vapor which will rise as much on it's own accord as by pressure from the bottom.
antialias_physorg
4.1 / 5 (9) Sep 02, 2011
Make the hose from an ultra light weight insulating material...


Irony alert.

Make it form ultralight, ultrastrong, ultraisolating material so it can withstand ultrapressure and not cool the ultrahot steam you're going to pipe through it to condensating temperatures while en route to a 10km far off destination with (way) sub zero degrees on the outside.

What is this? The sunday morning cartoons?
rjsc2000
4 / 5 (3) Sep 02, 2011
they should use that to harvest more wind energy. Like some big propellers catching the wind , generating electricity on a frame similar to a glider....

Messing with the weather? You think you can beat a planet as old as earth???
PaulRC
2 / 5 (1) Sep 02, 2011
so, you floated the hose up with hot air, now your ready to pump, so you open the hose (it had to be closed to hold in the hot air), and the lifting effect vanishes.
still, creating the aerosol on the ground, and pumping it as a vapor with a compressor would be more practical, than as a liquid and vaporizing at altitude.
don't know the effect of heating the vapor would have, but steam is visible at ground level, should look like a cloud as it comes out at least. suspect it will condense rapidly, and not remain a cloud though. i got 'rained' on as a boiler attendant on one job i held. steam condenses faster than you might expect, especially in the cold. and it is cold up high.
should be trivial to look at power plants (which use steam) and see if permanent clouds form over head (they don't) from the steam released from the stacks.
even if the balloon gets the hose up there, don't think the clouds will last very long.
we'll see i guess. science in action.
PaulRC
5 / 5 (1) Sep 02, 2011
more likely it would condense in the hose on the way up, causing the pressure to build up, until the 'garden hose' bursts.
El_Nose
5 / 5 (2) Sep 02, 2011
This is an update on a proposal we first heard about three years ago -- i think that write up stated that only about 16 of these ships would be needed globally to be better than breaken with carbon emmisions.
gwrede
2.1 / 5 (7) Sep 02, 2011
Maybe it's simply enough if the investors don't see that it's impossible. Yet another example where if you seem honest and persist the issue, eventually you get the funding.

If it is murky to PhysOrg readers why this is a dead idea, then there's no way a banker could oppose it.
El_Nose
4.2 / 5 (5) Sep 02, 2011
This is an update on a proposal we first heard about three years ago -- i think that write up stated that only about 16 of these ships would be needed globally to be better than breaken with carbon emmisions.

But on the side of humor -- only the British would save the world by creating cloudy overcast days for everyone on the planet
Cave_Man
1.8 / 5 (10) Sep 02, 2011
The data is already in, it's not going to work. Besides all the reasons len stated we have already been injecting large amounts of h2o vapour into the air using jet aircraft for decades and the studies show that those jet con trails have caused more global warming that all CO2 emissions since planes started flying.

So why the fuck do they think they can do the exact same thing and get a different result? Seems to me even if you put that vapor at 2X the height of an airliner ~75k ft then you will just alter the atmospheric Eco-system in unknown ways that may precipitate dangerous changes. All that water vapor may just split to o and h but it might also capture other elements and get heavier and form a venturi funnel down to earth causing a tornado the size of a hurricane that reaches into the upper stratosphere which would effectively end most multi-cellular life on earth.

Kidding of course but still, are these people serious?
Martian
4 / 5 (4) Sep 02, 2011
Why "mimic" volcanos to study their effect?

Why not just study a volcano?
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.7 / 5 (12) Sep 02, 2011
They designed the HMS Hood after all.

Yeah. And you know how that one turned out...
-As well as the Titanic. Antialias you did recognize my sarcasm there didnt you?? You having cognitive problems lately? Eyesight growing a little dim is it?
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.6 / 5 (14) Sep 02, 2011
Maybe it's simply enough if the investors don't see that it's impossible. Yet another example where if you seem honest and persist the issue, eventually you get the funding.

If it is murky to PhysOrg readers why this is a dead idea, then there's no way a banker could oppose it.
Uh because you geniuses can obviously discredit in a few minutes what SCIENTISTS and ENGINEERS spend MONTHS of work figuring out.

You guys must be really, really OLD or just inordinately stupid. At least one or 2 of you to be sure. Only senility or its equivalent can generate this sort of embarrassing audacity. Ahahahaha. You depress me.
gimpypoet
2.5 / 5 (11) Sep 02, 2011
gimpypoet : When oil runs out, pure economics dictates we'll build a bunch of coal-to-liquids plants and run them on coal from in-ground gassification processes, a coal resource which is essentially unlimited.

these processes are already underway, and still are fossil fuel based , even down to the plastics involved. IF we as humans have already disrupted the natural order, why try to reverse this process with another disruption? with a long enough lever , i can move the earth. this tells me we can have an effect on climate, but if no humans were here to put out the forest fires, would this push earth into a spiral? wouldn't he tar pits and the oil seeps also have burned? the earth will correct5 itself, and we don't know how to stop it. we can predict the outcomes, but can't predict what or when or how. iv'e always heard you can't stop mother nature. we must work with her or she will seek revenge.
Jeddy_Mctedder
2.7 / 5 (14) Sep 02, 2011
BURNING MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF OIL AND CARBON TO POWER A PUMP DESIGNED TO PROVIDE A MECHANISM AGAINST C02. TALK ABOUT NEGATIVE FEEDBACK LOOPS. ABSURD!
coryatjohn
3 / 5 (2) Sep 02, 2011
In addition to the fact that I find it highly improbable that any "hose" known could self-support itself plus the fluid inside it to a height of 12 km. Perhaps if the LTA supporting gas were divided into say 12 separate bags tethered to the hose at 1 KM intervals... ? Also the pump pressure would be tremendous. 100 kpa per 10 meters rise means that the pump pressure to get fluid up 12 km would be in the range of 120,000 kpa . (1,500 psi?) What airliftable "hose" will withstand that? What about pupming energy? Will the added reflectivity even compensate for the GHG's used to fuel the pumps?
jeez Len do you think the engineers who did the feasibility study would have at least been able to figure this out?

Remember: This is a British project!
Urgelt
3.7 / 5 (6) Sep 02, 2011
It sounds very much as though the British Government has been taken for a ride by a loopy scammer sales pitch.

The experiment will not reveal *anything* about the engineering challenges associated with a full-scale deployment. The pressures, masses, and low-altitude climate effects, if any, will not help to finalize engineering or anticipate consequences for a much larger, high-altitude injection project.

The idiocy meter is pegged on "extreme."
1n10spirit
3.3 / 5 (3) Sep 02, 2011
Hmmm, I'm no physicist but, would not the pressure differential at a high enough altitude cause a straw effect on its own? An example that many might be familiar with some if you grew up around pools or other bodies of water is trying to breath through a garden hose at the bottom of the pool. I know that had I not blocked the hose with my tongue, my lungs would have quickly collapsed!!! If there is some logic to this, them the only issues are building a hose with enough tensile strength to support its own weight and creating a dirigible with the buoyancy to lift itself and the hose.
M_N
1 / 5 (1) Sep 02, 2011
The problems with fluid pressure and tensile strength can be solved by distributing both the lifting gas and pumping at intervals along the hose. For example, having a pumping station every 500m means that each pump "only" has to provide 700psi pressure.
Nik_2213
not rated yet Sep 02, 2011
Uh, you can handle 200 bar ~ 3000 psi with thin walled S/Steel tubing --Or plastic 'PEEK'tubing-- and finger-tight (!! ;-) fittings. The trick is to use small diameter tubing. 1/16 th'inch OD is routine in HPLC instruments. Google found...
http://mtc-usa.co...info.asp
http://www.lc-ms....ings.htm
Latter mentions UHPLC running at ~10,000 psi. Okay, you'd have to run a hank of lines in parallel, and trade through-put vs relay pumps, although latter may have their own aerostats...
sstritt
4.2 / 5 (5) Sep 02, 2011
They should call it Stratospheric Particle Injection Tether (SPIT) but I bet somebody's already thought of that.

How bout "Stratospheric Hydration Injection Tether"?
Nik_2213
5 / 5 (3) Sep 02, 2011
Thinking outside the box, perhaps it would be simpler and cheaper to electrolyse fresh water at the bottom, pump the gaseous H2 & O2 up slim pipes, and *burn* the mix at top. Instant water-ice aerosol, no ?? I suppose the base-ship would derive its power from wave energy to be carbon neutral...
PaulRC
not rated yet Sep 02, 2011
clever nik, the physics would work, not sure about cloud forming or weather alteration though.
Sean_W
2.6 / 5 (5) Sep 02, 2011
Just have multiple airships go up and down carrying water if your're interested in using aerosols to freeze us all so that the Hockey team can save face. No hoses hanging from the sky, no super pumps and no halting the entire project if one ship needs repairs. Though I prefer the idea of using the low temperatures at altitude to freeze out fresh water from salt, drop the ice near deserts reclamation projects and drop the brine over the ocean at a height where it will disperse as it falls. Seems less pointless than trying to turn the planet into Hoth from Star Wars.
xznofile
5 / 5 (8) Sep 03, 2011
I'm definitely all for large unproven projects with unpredictable outcomes.
GuruShabu
2.5 / 5 (11) Sep 03, 2011
It is unbelievable that this sort of articles are saying things that are NOT TRUE!
The planet is not warming at all.
In fact it has been cooling since 1998.
But I understand Goebbels'motto: If you repeat anything for long enough it become truth!
Nazi propaganda, nothing else.
Au-Pu
3 / 5 (6) Sep 03, 2011
gimpypoet, we are still in the warming phase of an Interglacial period. When we reach our tipping point and the Earth starts its cooling process towards the next Ice Age is something we do not know.
What we should be asking is are we speeding up the warming process and can we reverse whatever impact we may have had.
I suspect that it will be yes to the first part of that question and no to the second part.
This British proposal appears to be as risky as Australia's decision years ago to import cane toads to get rid of a sugar cane beetle. With no natural enemies the cane toad has now become a national environmental disaster.
This British proposal may produce consequences that we will not be able to reverse.
It is my view that they need to give a lot more consideration to the risk of adverse outcomes especially those that we will be unable to reverse.
I am concerned that it might be fraught with disastrous outcomes , therefore the British should hasten slowly, very slowly.
GuruShabu
2.3 / 5 (9) Sep 03, 2011
It is a waste of resources, money ans time to fiddle with things we have not a clue about.
All predictions and forecasts done presently are based on mathematical models that are far from real.
Just to give you an astonishing example.
What is THE Most influential contributor for the weather overall?
The sea.
And in the sea what is the most influential phenomenon?
El Niño.
Do you know that ALL models used presently don't take into account El Niño!!!!
Is that enough or we need a preacher here?
Also the worst about this Global Warming nonsense is that it diverts important resources and the attention fo the media from problems that are knocking our door and deserve a lot of resources and attention. For instance, we are over fishing and on the verge to damage the ocean's ecosystem, we have huge health problems to tackle. 100,000,000 people a year gets malaria! 1.3 billion people don't have potable water. Thousands of children dye for mal nutrition and we are here concerned about a balloon.
YawningDog
5 / 5 (1) Sep 03, 2011
Nik 2213 wins the prize for best idea. Two thin wall tubes, one for oxygen, one for hydrogen. Burn at altitude. Fuel could run large cell phone relay thereby paying for itself.

I read this whole list of comments with all its negativity and now Nik's idea seems so easy and so obvious.... One person truly thinking out of the box.
Doug_Huffman
3 / 5 (6) Sep 03, 2011
Avogadro's Number of oxygen or hydrogen molecules masses the same whatever the physical state be it liquid and incompressible or gaseous and compressible. Burning gases to vapor will make a small and slowly growing cloud, like using a tiny tube.

The Precautionary Principle is the first principle not considered here.
balsa
3.7 / 5 (3) Sep 03, 2011
Nik 2213 wins the prize for best idea. Two thin wall tubes, one for oxygen, one for hydrogen. Burn at altitude. Fuel could run large cell phone relay thereby paying for itself.

I read this whole list of comments with all its negativity and now Nik's idea seems so easy and so obvious.... One person truly thinking out of the box.


Hmm..I agree with you on the creative forward thinking part. I don't think that this or other methods can have any effect what so ever since they are flawed on the basic understanding of how the universe actually works. Thus the whole absurdity of carbon based heating is revealed as idiotic as burning witchs to solve problems with hoof and mouth.
Graeme
not rated yet Sep 03, 2011
Instead of pumping from the bottom, the hose can be bent into a sidewayes shape like the U bend under a sink, then water is put in the U and then the hose bent so that the U moves up the length to the top, no superhigh pressure needed, but some climbing robot
|
/-\ |
| | |
| | |
| \-/
|
|
Code_Warrior
3 / 5 (2) Sep 03, 2011
Newsbrief:
Small meteor punches hole in giant balloon... 20km hose comes crashing to earth... Nobody injured... Project engineers embarrassed... British govt quietly pulls funding...
Isaacsname
not rated yet Sep 03, 2011
Ha !! ..and you thought I was crazy...you never know though, it could turn out to be a modern day Fulton's folly.

I could think of one very easy way, haven't seen it suggested yet and am surprised. I want to see what other suggestions you guys have.
Doug_Huffman
1 / 5 (2) Sep 03, 2011
Lift a tank of water to (low pressure) altitude, the superheated water will provide the pressure head to atomize the contents as it cools to saturation. No exotic hosepipes, no exotic pumps.
po6ert
not rated yet Sep 03, 2011
is ignorance catching? fulton's folly was the first practical steam boat ie paying a return over cost. duh if you are being insulting you need to choose a better example
Guy_Underbridge
1 / 5 (1) Sep 03, 2011
Just built a ship with about 11 miles freeboard, then just use the 1 mile hose and balloon.
DrSki
3.7 / 5 (3) Sep 03, 2011
Would have been nice if the author didn't start off with a platitude based on a poll. Remember - it wasn't too long ago that "most" people thought an ICE-AGE was coming. Quite some time before that "most" people believed the earth to be the center of the solar system. "Most" people don't always get it right. That's why we try to stick to the science and the math.
bewertow
4 / 5 (1) Sep 03, 2011
Geo-engineering is such a ridiculously terrible idea I can't believe that some scientists are actually pursuing it! Can't you see how dangerous it is to mess with the climate?!
jsa09
1 / 5 (2) Sep 04, 2011
I am pretty annoyed that any government or even any organization is willing to invest in this kind of project. People should not deliberately fool around with the weather. Be alright if this would only affect the weather over the country financing the project but that is not likely. Instead they could be messing up the weather half way around the planet.
Isaacsname
not rated yet Sep 04, 2011
is ignorance catching? fulton's folly was the first practical steam boat ie paying a return over cost. duh if you are being insulting you need to choose a better example


...what better example to demonstrate skepticism turned on it's ear ? Duh ? ...Really ? Reading comprehension much ?
Guy_Underbridge
not rated yet Sep 04, 2011
...it wasn't too long ago that "most" people thought an ICE-AGE was coming.
So DO the math. Ice-ages are a recurring part of the planets weather cycle. The interesting questions are 'when' and 'what happens in the meantime'.
Vendicar_Decarian
3 / 5 (2) Sep 04, 2011
This has "MASSIVE FAIL" stamped all over it.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (2) Sep 04, 2011
Geo-engineering is such a ridiculously terrible idea I can't believe that some scientists are actually pursuing it! Can't you see how dangerous it is to mess with the climate?!
We already mess with the climate. These guys are trying to find out if something like this is a terrible idea or not. That's one of the reasons why they're starting small.

You sound like you're afraid they're going to set the atmosphere on fire or something, like the H bomb was supposed to do.
Nik_2213
not rated yet Sep 04, 2011
Two birds with one stone: Position base-ship over anaerobic 'dead zone', electrolyse water, pump low-viscosity Hydrogen gas up pipe to multiple-ballonette balloon and burn for cloud seeding, pump Oxygen gas down to repair depleted water layer...
CSYGUY
5 / 5 (1) Sep 04, 2011
In diving we often pump water by injecting a bubble into the pipe and let it lift the water to the surface. Perhaps something like this could work to take the pressure off of the pipe.

Jeddy_Mctedder
1.6 / 5 (7) Sep 04, 2011
why don't they just drill 2000 feet below yellowstone and set off a 50megton nuke and see what happens to the atmosphere when some of that magma chamber farts out of the earth.
Doc_aymz
5 / 5 (1) Sep 05, 2011
We already have convenient platforms at 40,000 ft that project aerosols that clouds form on.

You could just as easily reserve say 5 ton of weight on each transatlantic flight for such a weather modification system. It would still be far far cheaper than prating about with a balloon and hose pipes - plus if id doesn't show any effect you can abandon the experiment for zero further cost.
Doc_aymz
3.7 / 5 (3) Sep 05, 2011
Isn't global warming a self-solving problem anyway? i.e. no more oil left = no more CO2 produced. Even when you have converted all the oil to CO2 you still only changed 2% of the total after taking into account what will get absorbed over that period.

If we have less than 50 years of oil left, then probably not much to worry about.
Magnette
not rated yet Sep 05, 2011
"This British proposal may produce consequences that we will not be able to reverse.
It is my view that they need to give a lot more consideration to the risk of adverse outcomes especially those that we will be unable to reverse.
I am concerned that it might be fraught with disastrous outcomes , therefore the British should hasten slowly, very slowly." - Au-Pu

Excellent, that'd be business as usual for the last 500 years then.

One thing that us Brits are quite well known for is thinking outside of the box style engineering. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't but you can't fault us for trying and there's always the possibility of learning something even if it wasn't that that was originally being looked for.
antialias_physorg
3.7 / 5 (3) Sep 05, 2011
This British proposal may produce consequences that we will not be able to reverse.


OK, so that öeaves tow scenarios:

a) We'll produce an effect we won't be able to reverse (which is bad if we don't get EXACTLY the result aimed for) In that case we'll need to apply a fix to the fix, etc.
Seeing as we have no knowledge of geoengineering to draw on saying that we get it 100% right first time out of the gate is pretty...erm...optimistic (and defies all experience with engineering for the past few thousand years)

b) The effect is only temporary and self rectifying. This would mean we'll have to keep such a scheme going indefinitely (and ever more intesely, since then people will have no more incentive to avoid CO2 or switch over to alternative forms of energy)

Neither a) nor b) seem appealing.
Egnite
not rated yet Sep 05, 2011
...nothing but water will be squirted into the air, though some suggest they might also try something called low-level cloud whitening, which is where sea salt would be pumped up and then dispersed into the air to increase the reflectivity of clouds.


I'm relieved they would only start with water but the idea of spraying salt into the clouds is a little worrying. Do they not realise the effect that could have on plants and river systems once it rains back down? Also, wouldn't creating clouds above bodies of water reduce the natural cycle of water evaporating?

Nice idea if they can get the water up there easily enough but I'd agree with others that it should be experimented with on a test planet or biodome first.
Vendicar_Decarian
not rated yet Sep 05, 2011
This is British technology. From the people who gave the world such technological advances as bangers and mash and coronation street.
Magnette
not rated yet Sep 05, 2011
This is British technology. From the people who gave the world such technological advances as bangers and mash and coronation street.

....and the Supermarine Spitfire, Fish & Chips, more landspeed records than the U.S will probably ever manage, the Enigma machine, Rolls Royce, the Empire, guns laws, The Cotswolds, chicken curry, and a whole lot of style and class :-)
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (4) Sep 05, 2011
why don't they just drill 2000 feet below yellowstone and set off a 50megton nuke and see what happens to the atmosphere when some of that magma chamber farts out of the earth.
Only if the wind is blowing directly toward canada at the time.

Or - maybe this will work. Mag 6.6 next to Toba:
http://earthquake...5pdr.php
Isaacsname
not rated yet Sep 06, 2011
Why not use high altitude Ranque-Hilsch vortex tubes to harvest, seperate and condense water vapor from the jet streams instead of pumping it up from the ocean ?

Use wind power:

http://en.wikiped..._turbine

Maybe Archimedian screw style sails to provide power, take advantage of high altitude wind currents.

Could use electrostatic seperation too.

Maybe harebrained ideas, but it seems generating it from high altitude would make more sense than expending energy to pump water 1 mile up, as opposed to generating it in situ and letting it fall :)