06 June 2007

Geoengineering for Climate Control

Humans dislike things they cannot control. The weather and climate are two things that humans cannot control, but would like to be able to. Similar to central air and heating in homes and automobiles--set the thermostat and let the machinery control the climate to suit your comfort and convenience. Such climate control falls under the category of "geoengineering."

Geoengineers consider such control within the realm of possibility.
The experiments, described in the June 4 early online edition of The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, look at what might happen if we attempt to slow climate change by “geoengineering” a solar filter instead of reducing carbon dioxide emissions. The researchers used a computer model to simulate a decrease in solar radiation across the entire planet, but assumed that that the current trend of increasing global carbon dioxide emissions would continue for the rest of this century.

....Although the term “geoengineering” describes any measure intended to modify the Earth at the planetary scale, the current study focuses on changes that reduce the amount of solar radiation that reaches the planet’s surface. Several methods to accomplish this have been suggested, from filling the upper atmosphere with light-reflecting sulfate particles to installing mirrors in orbit around the planet.

Several scientists have expressed concern that such schemes might not work well enough, or might fail prematurely and result in catastrophic heating of the Earth. More intelligent scientists might ask whether reducing solar radiation might actually work too well--resulting in a far more deadly and dangerous out-of-control global cooling.

At least the people at the Lifeboat Foundation Climate Shield Project are looking at all sides of the problem, preparing for all eventualities. You may need to reduce insolation or you may need to increase it, depending upon the circumstances. Even so, humans should always approach such levels of mega-control cautiously.

This convenient online Geoengineering paper describes a "Climate Change Manhattan Project." Those who wish more background on the topic might wish to look through that paper, which deals with the rationale for such intervention, along with possible problems.

According to NASA, the sun's activity points to a possible transition in magnetic activity beginning within ten years or so. If solar climatologists are correct, and this change is pointing toward a cooler climate for earth in the 2020's, it would probably be counter-productive to further reduce insolation with geoengineered projects.

There is nothing wrong with studying and preparing for projects of geo-engineering which may be needed sometime in the future. Climate is unstable. Climate has always been unstable. If humans require stability from the climate, they will need to become far more powerful in relation to nature than they are currently.

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Blogger Yankee Doodle said...

It's scary to think that the same system that brought us all this pollution, and now concerns about climate modification, but which can't seem to determine exactly what is happening and why, is now wanting to tinker with the environment on a global scale.


Thursday, 07 June, 2007  

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