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Weather modification/geoengineering ….. I.e., playing God with the Earth and skies Dr. Eric T. Karlstrom Department of Anthropology and Geography CSUS.

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Presentation on theme: "Weather modification/geoengineering ….. I.e., playing God with the Earth and skies Dr. Eric T. Karlstrom Department of Anthropology and Geography CSUS."— Presentation transcript:

1 Weather modification/geoengineering ….. I.e., playing God with the Earth and skies Dr. Eric T. Karlstrom Department of Anthropology and Geography CSUS

2 Geoengineering: “the deliberate large-scale manipulation of the planetary environment to counteract anthropogenic climate change.”

3 Basic methods: 1) sun-blocking or “solar radiation management” (STM) aimed at reducing incoming solar energy 2) remove carbon dioxide from atmosphere

4 Physicist Lowell Wood (aka “Dr. Evil”), a protégé of Dr. Edward Teller (aka “Dr. Strangelove”), who spent four decades at Lawrence Livermore Lab and now with Hoover Institution: “(Bureaucratic) mitigation is not happening and is not going to happen. (We can achieve) “instant climatic gratification” by “an intelligent elimination of undesired heat from the biosphere by technical ways and means.” He proposes to “fix” the earth’s climate by: 1) Building up Arctic sea ice to increase earth’s albedo and “suck heat from the midlatitude heat bath.” How? A) Use large artillery pieces to shoot as much as a million tons of highly reflective sulfate aerosols or specially engineered nanno-particles into the Arctic stratosphere to deflect the sun’s rays. This would require a constant military bombardment of the stratosphere B) Use a fleet of B-747 “crop-dusters” to deliver particles by flying continuously around the Arctic Circle, or C) Use a 25-km-long sky hose tethered to a military blimp to pump reflective material into the upper atmosphere.

5 More “cool” ideas Astronomer J. Roger Angel: Place a huge fleet of mirrors in orbit to divert incoming solar radiation at cost of “only” several trillion dollars. Meteorologist John Latham and engineer Stephen Salter: make marine clouds thicker and more reflective by whipping ocean water into a froth with giant pumps and eggbeaters. Astrophysicist Gregory Benford: let’s “cut through the red tape and demonstrate what could be done” by finding private sponsors to inject diatomaceous earth- chalklike substance in filtration and cat litter- into the Arctic stratosphere.

6 Unintended consequences? Unknowable, but what the hay….. Some more “cool” ideas: Yuri Izrael, Moscow’s Institute for Global Climate and Ecological Studies, wrote to Russian president Putin and advocated burning massive amounts of sulfur in the stratosphere to lower earth’s temperature “a degree or two.” Atmospheric chemist Paul J. Cruzten wants to cool the earth by injecting reflective aerosols or other substances into the tropical stratosphere using balloons or artillery. He estimates we’d need 5 million metric tons/year and the annual cost would be over $125 billion. (This would be an attempt to create an artificial Mt. Pinatubo eruption of 1991.) Crutzen’s “interesting alternative?” Release soot particles to create minor nuclear winter conditions.

7 Engineering climate has attracted attention of: Scientists Scientific Societies Venture capitalists (Bill Gates has funded projects to increase whiteness of clouds and increase earth’s albedo). Conservative think tanks American Enterprise Institute George C. Marshall Institute Competitive Enterprise Institute Hoover Institute Heartland Institute

8 Paradoxically, while these conservative think tans (rightly) debunk the theory of man-caused global warming, they still support geoengineering. Why?

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10 Ongoing weather modification projects

11 About 80 unregulated weather modification projects now in western U.S.

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13 Rainmaking in the desert

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17 Figure 1 A schematic of the processes that influence the life cycle of stratospheric aerosols (adapted with permission from SPARC 2006).SPARC 2006

18 Figure 2 A very rough budget (approx. 1 digit of accuracy) for most of the major atmospheric sulphur species during volcanically quiescent situations, following Rasch et al. (2000), SPARC (2006) and Montzka et al. (2007). Numbers inside boxes indicate species burden in units of Tg S, and approximate lifetime against the strongest source or sink. Numbers beside arrows indicate net source or sinks (transformation, transport, emissions, and deposition processes) in Tg S yr −1.Rasch et al. (2000)SPARC (2006)Montzka et al. (2007)

19 Figure 4 (a–c) Examples of distribution of the geoengineering aerosol for June, July and August from a 20-year simulation for a 2 Tg S yr −1 emission. The white contour in (a) shows the region where temperatures fall below K, and indicates approximately where ozone depletion may be important (see §2d(i)).§2d(i)

20 Figure 5 (a,b) The surface temperature difference from present day during June, July and August with the 2×CO 2 simulation and the geoengineering simulation using 2 Tg S yr −1 emission (which is not sufficient to entirely balance the greenhouse warming).

21 Figure 8 Column ozone for (a,c) baseline run and (b,d) geoengineering run for two meteorologically similar Antarctic winters in mid-October 2025 (a,b) and the coldest simulated Arctic winters (c,d) in the beginning of April (DU, Dobson units).


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