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Sore Throat

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UN Agrees to Moratorium on Geoengineering Experiments PostTue Nov 02, 2010 11:10 pm  Reply with quote

193 countries on Planet Earth approved this agreement. The United States of America is not obligated to comply since they have not signed the UN Biodiversity Convention. How do you spell "Pariah"?

UN Agrees to Moratorium on Geoengineering Experiments

UN Agrees to Moratorium on Geoengineering Experiments
Delegates to a landmark United Nations meeting on biodiversity have agreed to a moratorium on geoengineering experiments to deliberately alter the earth to decrease the level of greenhouse gas emissions.
The agreement means that governments of the 193 countries that are signatories to the UN Biodiversity Convention must ensure that no geoengineering projects take place until risks to the environment as well as social, cultural and economic impacts have been properly assessed. The prohibition, however, does not apply to the United States, which has yet to ratify the convention. In a recent appearance on Democracy Now!, the Indian scientist and activist Vandana Shiva warned about the dangers of geoengineering.

Vandana Shiva: "These shortcuts that are attempted from places of power—and I would add, places of ignorance—of the ecological web of life, are then creating the war solution, because geoengineering becomes war on a planetary scale, with ignorance and blind spots, instead of taking the real path, which is helping communities adapt and become resilient."
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Sore Throat

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PostWed Nov 03, 2010 8:26 pm  Reply with quote

Quite an impressive display overhead today. What power you must feel. Such dominance. You really think you can change the planet? For the good of whom? Just following "orders"? Seems that we had a pretty important trial about that one. You can run, but you can't hide forever.

At U.N. Convention, Groups Push for Geoengineering Moratorium

Amid calls for more research, a United Nations convention on biodiversity considers a proposal to ban geoengineering solutions to global warming

By Lauren Morello and Climatewire

Delegates from 193 nations are meeting in Nagoya, Japan, this week. On their agenda is a proposal for a moratorium on field experiments in potential geoengineering solutions for global warming.

It is a continuation of a controversial debate among the group, usually focused on discussions of ensuring the survival of endangered species and the loss of key habitats. They are parties to the U.N. Convention on Biodiversity.

A draft agenda for the meeting, dated Oct. 1, includes a proposal that "no climate-related geoengineering activities take place until there is an adequate scientific basis on which to justify such activities and appropriate consideration of the associated risks."

It's not clear that the broadly worded prohibition will meet with approval from delegates, but it isn't the first time the Convention on Biodiversity waded into the emerging field.

Two years ago in Bonn, Germany, nations that participate in the convention backed a ban on one geoengineering technique -- seeding the ocean with tiny particles of iron to encourage the growth of algae that consume carbon dioxide.

Environmental groups were able to use the ban to persuade the German government to temporarily halt one large-scale field test of ocean iron fertilization -- known as LOHAFEX -- in the Southern Ocean near Antarctica.

The Canada-based ETC Group is among those pushing for the new ban over concerns that field tests or implementation of geoengineered climate fixes will disproportionately harm developing nations and dilute support for an international effort to cut the world's greenhouse gas output, said program manager Diana Bronson.

A Plan B for the planet?

"In 2008, this really was seen by everybody as a nutcase sci-fi thing and now, regrettably, people are starting to take it a lot more seriously," she said.

Major scientific organizations -- including the American Meteorological Society, the American Geophysical Union and the U.K. Royal Society -- have issued cautious calls for more research, though warning that geoengineering approaches shouldn't supplant efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Many experts who support geoengineering research say it should be considered a planetary "Plan B," an option to exercise if cutting greenhouse gas emissions can't stave off severe climate change effects.
Policymakers are starting to take notice, judging by a number of reports on geoengineering that are nearing completion.

The House Science and Technology Committee is "hopeful" it will release a report co-authored with the science committee in the U.K. House of Commons by the end of the month, said a spokeswoman for Chairman Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.).

"Geoengineering is controversial and something I hope will never take place, but it's irresponsible to at least not start looking into areas of potential research," Gordon said at a congressional hearing he convened earlier this year. "Any implementation would be decades out, but you have to start somewhere."

The Government Accountability Office is also preparing a geoengineering report, as is a task force created by the bipartisan National Commission on Energy Policy. That group aims to release its report early next year, said NCEP's research manager, Sasha Mackler.

The commission will weigh in with recommendations for a federal geoengineering research program and principles for governing the emerging technology at a time when geoengineering's profile is rising rapidly.

"There is now a sort of a policy vacuum in the climate space because of what we've seen happen over the course of this Congress," Mackler said, referring to Democrats' failed effort to pass a climate bill. "There's an appetite for fresh ideas. Geoengineering is very unknown in policy circles, really, and that's almost a dangerous position to be in for an issue like this ... it can be picked up and politicized very easily."
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Sore Throat

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One Sunset Trail - Massive Mainstream Exposure PostThu Nov 11, 2010 9:49 pm  Reply with quote

I heard not ONE reporter ask whether this "aircraft contrail" might represent intentional geoengineering?

Mystery Officially Solved By Government

by Ron Hogan

It only took them two days to come to a decision, but the government has officially closed the book on the mysterious missile-like contrails that appeared off the coast of Los Angeles nearly two days ago. Despite the fact that they don’t know what the plane was that caused the condensation trails, the government has joined civilian authorities in agreeing that the missile contrails were simply those of a jet viewed at a weird angle. The Pentagon contacted various sources, checked the radar records, and did some phoning around before deciding that the contrail was simply a jet.

“All of those factors together leave us pretty confident that this was a contrail caused by an aircraft,” says Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Col. Dave Lapan.

Meanwhile, contrail expert Mick West filled in all the details that the Pentagon can’t seem to find out themselves. “”It’s coming more or less straight towards you and it’s in level flight,” says West, who runs a website dedicated to contrails. “It’s not climbing. It’s not descending. It’s probably around 35,000 feet. The same CONTRAIL that looks like a rocket – from the side it, just looks like a CONTRAIL passing by. I’ve got a fairly good idea that it was U.S. Airways flight 808 from Hawaii,” he says. “Honolulu to Phoenix.”
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Sore Throat

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U.S. Geo-Engineering Budget Exceeds Billions PostTue Feb 22, 2011 6:58 pm  Reply with quote

U.S. Geo-Engineering Budget Exceeds Billions

The Conspiracy Facts of Aerosol Geoengineering aka Chemtrails: A Multi-Billion Dollar a Year Global Business

The Intel Hub Radio
By Shepard Ambellas & Avalon

Lengthy article...multiple references:
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Sore Throat

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The Economist - PostWed Feb 23, 2011 10:34 pm  Reply with quote

Research into the possibility of engineering a better climate is progressing at an impressive rate—and meeting strong opposition

AS A way of saying you’ve arrived, being the subject of some carefully contrived paragraphs in the proceedings of a United Nations conference is not as dramatic as playing Wembley or holding a million-man march. But for geoengineering, those paragraphs from the recent conference of the parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Nagoya, Japan, marked a definite coming of age.

Geoengineering is shorthand for the idea of fixing the problem of man-made climate change once the greenhouse gases that cause it have already been emitted into the atmosphere, rather than trying to stop those emissions happening in the first place. Ideas for such fixes include smogging up the air to reflect more sunlight back into space, sucking in excess carbon dioxide using plants or chemistry, and locking up the glaciers of the world’s ice caps so that they cannot fall into the ocean and cause sea levels to rise.

Many people think such ideas immoral, or a distraction from the business of haranguing people to produce less carbon dioxide, or both—and certain to provoke unintended consequences, to boot. It was the strength of that opposition which drove the subject onto the agenda at Nagoya. But that strength is also a reflection of the fact that many scientists now take the idea of geoengineering seriously. Over the past few years research in the field has boomed. What is sometimes called Plan B seems to be taking shape on the laboratory bench—and seeking to escape outside.

Stratospheric thinking

The most widely discussed way of cooling the Earth is to imitate a volcano. Volcanoes inject sulphur dioxide into the stratosphere, where it eventually forms small particles of sulphate that reflect sunlight back into space. Volcanoes, though, do this on a one-off basis. Geoengineers would need to leave the cloud up for a long time, which could get tricky. If you put sulphur dioxide into air that already has a haze of particles in it, the gas will glom onto those particles, making them bigger, rather than forming new small particles of its own. Since what is needed for cooling is a lot of small particles rather than a few big ones, this approach would face problems.

David Keith, of the University of Calgary, and his colleagues recently came up with a way of keeping the particles small: use sulphuric acid rather than sulphur dioxide. Released as a vapour at high altitude it should produce a screen of properly sized particles, even in a sky that is already hazed. And the fleet of aircraft needed to keep that screen in being turns out to be surprisingly small. A study that Dr Keith commissioned from Aurora Flight Sciences, a Virginia-based company that makes high-altitude drones, concludes that it could be done by an operation smaller than an airline like Jet Blue, operating from a few bases around the world.

That airline would, however, do best with a fleet of newly designed aircraft. The most straightforward option, according to the report, would be to develop a vehicle capable of flying at altitudes of 20-25km (about 65,000-80,000 feet), distributing ten tonnes of acid a flight. Such craft might look like slightly portly U-2 spy planes, or possibly like the White Knight mother ship developed to launch Virgin Galactic’s tourist spaceships. About 80 such planes would allow the delivery to the stratosphere of a million tonnes of acid every year at a cost of one or two billion dollars over an operational life of 20 years.

A more intriguing idea suggested in the study would be to use a sort of hybrid plane-blimp along the lines of Lockheed’s experimental P-791 (pictured above), which generates lift through both buoyancy and aerodynamics. Lift is a problem in the rarefied air of the stratosphere, and it seems such a design can help. The study dismisses another blimpish idea, though: that of pumping sulphurous chemicals up a long pipe held aloft by a large tethered balloon. It also rejects the use of rockets and guns, both of which have also been proposed as ways of getting sulphur into the stratosphere (see chart).

On the face of it Aurora’s study is extraordinary. Given that a few million tonnes of sulphur a year might be enough to cool the Earth by a degree or two, the report seems to confirm what Scott Barrett, a political scientist at Columbia University, has called the “incredible economics” of geoengineering. The thought that a couple of billion dollars a year spent on sulphur could offset warming as effectively as hundreds of billions of dollars of investment in low-carbon energy suggests there is a real bargain to be had here. Maybe. But opponents of the idea are inclined to insert the word “Faustian” first.

The smog of war

One reason for rejecting sulphate hazing out of hand might be the damage it could do to the ozone layer. Ozone-destroying reactions happen faster on surfaces, such as those provided by sulphate particles, than they do in the open air. It is therefore likely that the addition of sulphate to the stratosphere would result in a loss of ozone, and thus in more ultraviolet radiation getting through. Indeed, the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991 led to just such a loss, even as it cooled the climate.

Current research suggests, though, that any risk to the ozone layer is probably not sufficient reason to abandon the idea. The Montreal protocol, which banned various ozone-depleting chemicals, has left the ozone layer’s long-term prospects looking quite bonny. Sulphate-based geoengineering would certainly slow down its recovery, but would not send it into reverse. The climatic gains might thus be worth the ultraviolet losses.

Might. But that, too, is an area that would bear investigation. For another risk lies in the subtle distinction between “global warming” and “climate change”. Double the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the average global temperature will go up. Add the right amount of stratospheric sulphur and the temperature will come back down to where it began. There will, in other words, be no net global warming. But though the average temperature is unchanged, the climate is not. Modelling suggests that a world where additional greenhouse warming has been cancelled out this way will still be warmer at the poles and cooler at the tropics. Moreover—and more worryingly—it will have less rainfall.

Every computer model of a stratospheric haze shows some decrease in rainfall, though the details vary.
The more carbon dioxide that gets put into the atmosphere and the more sunshine that is removed from the sky, the greater the drying becomes. And that drying is worse in some places than in others. One recent study, for example, suggested that engineered cooling of this sort would lead to a much bigger loss of rainfall in China than in India. That might have political ramifications—even though both countries come closer to their original climates with the other’s optimal level of geoengineering than with no geoengineering at all.

Understanding the mechanism and implication of these effects is another crucial research step, and a difficult one to take at the moment because it is hard to assess the results from one paper on geoengineering in the light of another. That is because they all start from different assumptions, something that Alan Robock of Rutgers University hopes to overcome. Dr Robock, who carries out geoengineering research while taking an avowedly hostile approach to any suggestion of deploying the technology, has teamed up with climate modellers at other institutions to produce a set of options that could be run on a range of computer models.

This grand intercomparison, which may involve ten or more modelling teams, should allow researchers to get a better grip on what is really happening, and to see which of their results might be dependent on the vagaries of a particular piece of software. Considering that, a few years ago, it was rare to get the computer time needed to do even a single geoengineering simulation with a state-of-the-art climate model, this investment of time and effort marks a big step forward.

Whatever the models reveal about the pattern, impacts and nature of the loss of rainfall, it is hard to imagine that it will not be bad news of some sort. This is one of the reasons why most in the geoengineering field reject the notion that the “incredible economics” offer a real bargain. Hazy cooling and greenhouse warming cannot be traded one for the other; simply adding more and more sulphate to counterbalance more and more carbon dioxide would be dessicatory and dangerous. Cooling might take the edge off the peak of a planetary fever, or perhaps buy time as emissions cuts begin to have the desired effects. But hazing is a complementary medicine, not an alternative one.

Screening sunlight from the sky with sulphates is not, though, the only suggestion around. Various entrepreneurial researchers are looking at ways of extracting carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and stashing it out of harm’s way.

Suck it and see

Nature already provides one method: photosynthesis. Using political and financial tools to encourage the growth of forests, and chemical ones to encourage the growth of photosynthetic plankton, are both possibilities—though both, especially the chemical approach, have their sceptics. Planet hackers of an industrial bent, however, propose proper bent-metal engineering: so-called “direct air capture” technology that would chemically scrub carbon dioxide out of the air, then release it from those scrubbers in a concentrated form that could be sequestered underground. Various companies, including one started by Dr Keith, are trying to produce demonstrators for such technologies. One way is to use arrays of fans to pass air in large volumes through cleverly contrived surfaces along which an absorbing fluid flows.

An alternative approach is to use the ocean as your absorber. Among those investigating this possibility is Tim Kruger, fellow and currently sole employee of the newly founded Oxford Geoengineering Programme at the eponymous university. Mr Kruger proposes dumping quicklime—calcium oxide—into the sea. That change in ocean chemistry would encourage carbon dioxide dissolved in the water to turn into ions of carbonate and bicarbonate, freeing chemical “space” into which carbon dioxide from the atmosphere could flow.

The chemically literate will spot a potential snag. Calcium oxide is made by heating up limestone (calcium carbonate). This drives off carbon dioxide. Generating the heat is also likely to involve the release of that gas. All this carbon dioxide will have to be squirrelled away in the same way carbon dioxide scrubbed from the air (or a power station’s chimney) would. But that might not be too hard. The gas will already be concentrated and pure if the kilns work the right way.

The idea of liming is a comparatively old one, first mooted by Haroon Kheshgi, a researcher at ExxonMobil, in the mid-1990s. Dr Kruger’s work, meanwhile, was recently supported by a grant from another oil company, Shell, through what it calls its GameChanger programme. Cynics may smile at the oil companies’ involvement, and at the intellectual property and plans for profit that companies trying to pull carbon out of the atmosphere all rely on. But money is needed. Shell’s money, for instance, paid for a panel of researchers to look into Mr Kruger’s plans. They concluded that if put to use they might lock up carbon dioxide for $40 a tonne—which seems almost embarrassingly cheap, and which, as a preliminary figure, Mr Kruger is keen not to hype. Dr Keith thinks his air capture might, with luck, manage $100 a tonne. People further from the technology, but with less of a direct interest in its success, think prices will be higher.

Nor is Mr Kruger’s esprit untypical. Other fields of research are being drawn, blinking, into the light by geoengineering’s new-found popularity. “Cloud whitening” provides a nice example. Until 2006 work on the idea of cooling the planet with the help of a fine mist of sea salt sprayed into low layers of maritime cloud, to make them whiter, was the province of two semi-retired British academics. A mere four years later John Latham, the cloud physicist who thought up the idea, and Stephen Salter, a marine engineer who designed systems that might embody it, have been joined by 23 other authors from seven different institutions on a paper outlining current work on the matter. This paper looks not only at the cooling effects such a scheme might have on the climate and the practicalities of creating such a spray from boats at sea, but also at the possibilities of a field trial and what might be learned from such a trial about the way clouds work—a problem that climate scientists, limited to observations and models without the help of direct intervention, have yet to answer.

Whitening some clouds has a certain aesthetic appeal; it is certainly hard to see as an environmental threat in itself. Perhaps the most benign-sounding idea of all, though—and one that brings a Herculean sense of effort that messing around with the air and oceans cannot match—is Slawek Tulaczyk’s nascent proposal to lock the world’s ice caps in place.

Dr Tulaczyk, a specialist in glacial flow who works at the University of California, Santa Cruz, observes that one of the most catastrophic consequences of climate change could be a rise in sea level. The risk is not so much that the ice caps of Greenland and Antarctica will melt, but that enough meltwater will get under them to lubricate their journey from the land into the sea. At a meeting held at his university last month he outlined ideas he has been developing which might slow that process down, either by pumping the meltwater out, or by refreezing it in situ using liquid nitrogen. What makes this scheme merely ambitious, rather than totally crazy, is that you might need do it in only a few places. A large fraction of the ice coming off Greenland, for example, flows down just three glaciers. Work out how to slow or stop those glaciers and you may have dealt with a big problem.

The Devil and the details

Polluting the stratosphere. Liming the oceans. Locking Greenland’s glaciers to its icy mountains. It is easy to see why sceptics balk at geoengineering. And if viewed as a substitute for curbing greenhouse-gas emissions, a cover for business-as-usual into the indefinite future, then it might indeed prove a Faustian bargain. But that is probably the wrong way of looking at it. Better to use it as a means of smoothing the path to a low-carbon world. Most of the researchers working in the area of stratospheric hazing, for example, think that its best use might be reducing the peak temperatures the Earth would otherwise face at a time in the future when greenhouse-gas emissions have started falling but atmospheric levels are still going up.

To see whether any form of geoengineering could work, though, small-scale experiments need to be carried out. Fertilising the ocean with iron has already been tried—admittedly without much success, but also without perceptible harm being done. Such experiments are, however, regulated by an international body, the London Convention on maritime dumping, which the CBD approves of. But what of other experiments? The CBD’s decision at Nagoya allows small-scale experimentation. But small by what standard? That of a laboratory or that of a planet? And small by whose? That of an enthusiast or that of an opponent?

Take hazing experiments. Such experiments could start fairly soon, were money available. One could easily imagine releasing sulphuric acid from a high-altitude aircraft and studying the chemistry going on in its wake using another aircraft. NASA, America’s aerospace agency, is already equipped with a modified U-2 that would do the job well.

Experiments of this sort would not be harmless. But they would do a lot less harm to the stratosphere than Concorde or the space shuttle, devices that were accepted by most people. The harm done by stopping geoengineering experiments is that the good which might come from them will never be known.

Yet even some enthusiastic researchers worry about undue haste. Dr Keith, long an advocate of more research, says he unexpectedly finds himself thinking that things are moving, if anything, faster than he would want. “Taking a few years to have some of the debate happen is healthier than rushing ahead with an experiment. There are lots of experiments you might do which would tell you lots and would themselves have trivial environmental impact: but they have non-trivial implications.” Geoengineering’s growth spurt will need to be matched by some grown-up questioning. Who benefits? Who decides? Who faces the risk?
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Sore Throat

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Geoengineering and the ocean PostFri Mar 18, 2011 10:54 pm  Reply with quote

Geoengineering and the ocean

by Josh Rosenau

The Wonkroom's Brad Johnson takes on USA Today's Dan Vergano over geoengineering. Geoengineering is the idea that we could combat global warming by pumping sulfur dioxide into the upper atmosphere, thus blocking some solar radiation and keeping things cooler.

Vergano is a sharp science writer and his take is hardly boosterish, but Johnson dings him for having:

failed to accurately interpret the scientific literature. The only risks he has depicted — ones that involve the potential deaths of millions if not billions of people — are the “known” ones, the ones easily modeled by imperfect simulations of experiments never conducted before by humanity. The risks of geoengineering, particularly the ones that emulate the effects of a nuclear winter to dim the amount of sun reaching the earth, are practically unbounded. Depicting the known risks, as Vergano did, as the only risks of geoengineering, is astoundingly optimistic.

One risk I think Vergano underplays, though he does mention it, is ocean acidification. Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere doesn't just trap solar energy, heating the planet, it also gets absorbed into the oceans. And in solution, that carbon dioxide turns into carbonic acid. This is a reverse of the dynamic you see when you open a soda bottle; in that case carbonic acid comes out of solution as carbon dioxide, yielding the bubbles. The remaining carbonic acid gives the soda its bite on the tongue.

In the ocean, that acidity has catastrophic effects. Even modest shifts in acidity are enough to damage or kill coral reefs, the spawning grounds and shelter for significant amounts of ocean biodiversity. The acidity also helps dissolve the calcium carbonate that forms a coral reef, literally eating away at those vital structures. The changing ocean chemistry also harms unicellular life, plants, and animals, disrupting mating and damaging sensitive tissues.

No geoengineering solution prevents ocean acidification. As Vergano says, "simply cutting temperatures won't stop the rise in ocean acidification arising from increased carbon dioxide levels in the air, which may affect marine life underlying the ocean food web." The only way to protect our oceans is to cut down on carbon dioxide emissions. To my mind, that single sentence of Vergano's is enough to relegate this idea to the back shelf, as an emergency measure to prevent catastrophic feedbacks, but not something that has a useful place in public policy discussions at this point.

Vergano gives other reasons, too:

Simply putting a worldwide price on carbon emissions from smokestacks and letting the marketplace lead to lower carbon emissions would likely be cheaper and more sensible than geoengineering, says [Scott] Barrett, the economist [from Columbia University]. "But let's face it. We're talking about (geoengineering) because we don't have a price on carbon."
As Johnson notes:

The only reason that serious climate scientists (other than Dr. Strangelovian extremists) are discussing geoengineering is that they fear the possibility of humanity’s extinction — or merely the utter collapse of human civilization — from unchecked fossil fuel pollution is significant enough to consider doomsday survival scenarios. “We should avoid geoengineering if possible,” Dr. Ken Caldeira, one of the climate scientists who has explored geoengineering scenarios, “but we need it in our toolbox in case of catastrophe.”

Simply put, there are plausible scenarios in which global temperatures could begin rising so fast that they could be impossible to stop. This could be because frozen methane begins leaking into the atmosphere, thus promoting more warming, or because ice melts and stops reflecting light back into space (allowing dark rocks to absorb more heat). Given how slowly society is moving towards carbon emission reductions, the only way to avert these catastrophic feedbacks might be a carefully planned and targeted phase of geoengineering, in concert with aggressive emissions reductions.

But by injecting geoengineering into the public discourse before we've set ourselves on that emissions-reducing course, journalists and scientists risk introducing confusion about what geoengineering can possibly do. At most, it's a stopgap to cover the inevitable lags between emissions reductions and a decline in atmospheric carbon dioxide. On its own, it won't stop global warming. Without emissions reductions, we'd be, as Vergano puts it elegantly "addicted to sky-borne sulfates to keep the cooling on track." And that, too, would have harmful effects on the global climate and on life on earth, some predictable, and others that we can't yet imagine.
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Sore Throat

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Geoengineering: Scientists Debate Risks Of Sun-Blocking And PostMon Apr 04, 2011 5:10 pm  Reply with quote

Geoengineering: Scientists Debate Risks Of Sun-Blocking And Other Climate Tweaks To Fight Warming


CHICHELEY, England -- To the quiet green solitude of an English country estate they retreated, to think the unthinkable.

Scientists of earth, sea and sky, scholars of law, politics and philosophy: In three intense days cloistered behind Chicheley Hall's old brick walls, four dozen thinkers pondered the planet's fate as it grows warmer, weighed the idea of reflecting the sun to cool the atmosphere and debated the question of who would make the decision to interfere with nature to try to save the planet.

The unknown risks of "geoengineering" – in this case, tweaking Earth's climate by dimming the skies – left many uneasy.

"If we could experiment with the atmosphere and literally play God, it's very tempting to a scientist," said Kenyan earth scientist Richard Odingo. "But I worry."

Arrayed against that worry is the worry that global warming – in 20 years? 50 years? – may abruptly upend the world we know, by melting much of Greenland into the sea, by shifting India's life-giving monsoon, by killing off marine life.

If climate engineering research isn't done now, climatologists say, the world will face grim choices in an emergency. "If we don't understand the implications and we reach a crisis point and deploy geoengineering with only a modicum of information, we really will be playing Russian roulette," said Steven Hamburg, a U.S. Environmental Defense Fund scientist.

The question's urgency has grown as nations have failed, in years of talks, to agree on a binding long-term deal to rein in their carbon dioxide and other greenhouse-gas emissions blamed for global warming. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the U.N.-sponsored science network, foresees temperatures rising as much as 6.4 degrees Celsius (11.5 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100, swelling the seas and disrupting the climate patterns that nurtured human civilization.

Science committees of the British Parliament and the U.S. Congress urged their governments last year to look at immediately undertaking climate engineering research – to have a "Plan B" ready, as the British panel put it, in case the diplomatic logjam persists.

Britain's national science academy, the Royal Society, subsequently organized the Chicheley Hall conference with Hamburg's EDF and the association of developing-world science academies. From six continents, they invited a blue-ribbon cross-section of atmospheric physicists, oceanographers, geochemists, environmentalists, international lawyers, psychologists, policy experts and others, to discuss how the world should oversee such unprecedented – and unsettling – research.

An Associated Press reporter was invited to sit in on their discussions, generally off the record, as they met in large and small groups in plush wood-paneled rooms, in conference halls, or outdoors among the manicured trees and formal gardens of this 300-year-old Royal Society property 40 miles (64 kilometers) northwest of London, a secluded spot where Britain's Special Operations Executive trained for secret missions in World War II.

Provoking and parrying each other over questions never before raised in human history, the conferees were sensitive to how the outside world might react.

"There's the `slippery slope' view that as soon as you start to do this research, you say it's OK to think about things you shouldn't be thinking about," said Steve Rayner, co-director of Oxford University's geoengineering program. Many geoengineering techniques they have thought about look either impractical or ineffective.

Painting rooftops white to reflect the sun's heat is a feeble gesture. Blanketing deserts with a reflective material is logistically challenging and a likely environmental threat. Launching giant mirrors into space orbit is exorbitantly expensive.

On the other hand, fertilizing the ocean with iron to grow CO2-eating plankton has shown some workability, and Massachusetts' prestigious Woods Hole research center is planning the biggest such experiment. Marine clouds are another route: Scientists at the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado are designing a test of brightening ocean clouds with sea-salt particles to reflect the sun.

Those techniques are necessarily limited in scale, however, and unable to alter planet-wide warming. Only one idea has emerged with that potential.

"By most accounts, the leading contender is stratospheric aerosol particles," said climatologist John Shepherd of Britain's Southampton University.

The particles would be sun-reflecting sulfates spewed into the lower stratosphere from aircraft, balloons or other devices – much like the sulfur dioxide emitted by the eruption of the Philippines' Mount Pinatubo in 1991, estimated to have cooled the world by 0.5 degrees C (0.9 degrees F) for a year or so.

Engineers from the University of Bristol, England, plan to test the feasibility of feeding sulfates into the atmosphere via a kilometers-long (miles-long) hose attached to a tethered balloon.

Shepherd and others stressed that any sun-blocking "SRM" technique – for solar radiation management – would have to be accompanied by sharp reductions in carbon dioxide emissions on the ground and some form of carbon dioxide removal, preferably via a chemical-mechanical process not yet perfected, to suck the gas out of the air and neutralize it.

Otherwise, they point out, the stratospheric sulfate layer would have to be built up indefinitely, to counter the growing greenhouse effect of accumulating carbon dioxide. And if that SRM operation shut down for any reason, temperatures on Earth would shoot upward.

The technique has other downsides: The sulfates would likely damage the ozone layer shielding Earth from damaging ultraviolet rays; they don't stop atmospheric carbon dioxide from acidifying the oceans; and sudden cooling of the Earth would itself alter climate patterns in unknown ways.

"These scenarios create winners and losers," said Shepherd, lead author of a pivotal 2009 Royal Society study of geoengineering. "Who is going to decide?"

Many here worried that someone, some group, some government would decide on its own to conduct large-scale atmospheric experiments, raising global concerns – and resentment if it's the U.S. that acts, since it has done the least among industrial nations to cut greenhouse emissions. They fear some in America might push for going straight to "Plan B," rather than doing the hard work of emissions reductions.

In addition, "one of the challenges is identifying intentions, one of which could be offensive military use," said Indian development specialist Arunabha Ghosh.

Experts point out, for example, that cloud experimentation or localized solar "dimming" could – intentionally or unintentionally – cause droughts or floods in neighboring areas, arousing suspicions and international disputes.

"In some plausible but unfortunate future you could have shooting wars between your country and mine over proposals on what to do on climate change,' said the University of Michigan's Ted Parson, an environmental policy expert.

The conferees worried, too, that a "geoengineering industrial complex" might emerge, pushing to profit from deployment of its technology. And Australian economist-ethicist Clive Hamilton saw other go-it-alone threats – "cowboys" and "scientific heroes."

"I'm queasy about some billionaire with a messiah complex having a major role in geoengineering research," Hamilton said.

All discussions led to the central theme of how to oversee research.

Many environmentalists categorically oppose intentional fiddling with Earth's atmosphere, or at least insist that such important decisions rest in the hands of the U.N., since every nation on Earth has a stake in the skies above.

But at the meeting in March, Chicheley Hall experts largely assumed that a coalition of scientifically capable nations, led by the U.S. and Britain, would arise to organize "sunshade" or other engineering research, perhaps inviting China, India, Brazil and others to join in a G20-style "club" of major powers.

Then, the conferees said, an independent panel of experts would have to be formed to review the risks of proposed experiments, and give go-aheads – for research, not deployment, which would be a step awaiting fateful debates down the road.

Like Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin, John Shepherd is a fellow of the venerable Royal Society, but one facing a world those scientific pioneers could not have imagined.

"I am not enthusiastic about these ideas," Shepherd told his Chicheley Hall colleagues. But like many here he felt the world has no choice but to investigate. "You would have a risk-risk calculation to make."

Some are also making a political calculation.

If research shows the stratospheric pollutants would reverse global warming, unhappy people "would realize the alternative to reducing emissions is blocking out the sun," Hamilton observed. "We might never see blue sky again."

If, on the other hand, the results are negative, or the risks too high, and global warming's impact becomes increasingly obvious, people will see "you have no Plan B," said EDF's Hamburg – no alternative to slashing use of fossil fuels.

Either way, popular support should grow for cutting emissions.

At least that's the hope. But hope wasn't the order of the day in Chicheley Hall as Shepherd wrapped up his briefing and a troubled Odingo silenced the room.

"We have a lot of thinking to do," the Kenyan told the others. "I don't know how many of us can sleep well tonight."
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Chemtrails, geoengineering exposed on mainstream news PostWed Jun 15, 2011 12:50 am  Reply with quote

Chemtrails, geoengineering exposed on mainstream news

Deborah Dupre
Human Rights Examiner

After years of mainstream news silence on the topic of chemtrails, NBC-affiliated KMIR News has become the latest media source to report on the phenomenon called chemtrails-geoengineering this week, a major step according to activists that have dedicated years working for this.

On Los Angeles activist, co-creator of "What In The World Are They Spraying?" a film about chemtrails, Michael J. Murphy, has stated, "In case you missed KMIR Channel 6 story on chemtrails... please understand that Christina (the writer/reporter) went out on a limb to do this story."

Murphy furthered:

"Yes, there is more that she needs to do and I believe she is dedicated to the truth, as hard as it is to imagine. If we contact the station and let them know we are interested and appreciate the coverage of this issue, then they will let her continue and do a couple follow-up stories. If not, they may not give her another assignment on this subject."

Murphy is asking the public to "contact KMIR asap and thank them for the story."

"We need to do this while it is running."

KMIR Web site and contact information is at

Think the government would not do such a thing? This week, it was reported in the article, 'US Army dumped chemicals in Imjin River in 1960s,' that "a new allegation has surfaced over the U.S. Army's involvement in the disposal of toxic chemicals, including Agent Orange, into Korean waterways during its massive defoliation campaign in the 1960s. Korea Times, South Korea." (See;

Continue reading on Chemtrails, geoengineering exposed on mainstream news - National Human Rights |

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Aerosols affect climate more than satellite estimates predic PostTue Aug 02, 2011 5:33 am  Reply with quote

Aerosols affect climate more than satellite estimates predict

ANN ARBOR, Mich.---Aerosol particles, including soot and sulfur dioxide from burning fossil fuels, essentially mask the effects of greenhouse gases and are at the heart of the biggest uncertainty in climate change prediction. New research from the University of Michigan shows that satellite-based projections of aerosols' effect on Earth's climate significantly underestimate their impacts.

The findings will be published online the week of Aug. 1 in the early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Aerosols are at the core of "cloud drops"---water particles suspended in air that coalesce to form precipitation. Increasing the number of aerosol particles causes an increase in the number of cloud drops, which results in brighter clouds that reflect more light and have a greater cooling effect on the planet.

As to the extent of their cooling effect, scientists offer different scenarios that would raise the global average surface temperature during the next century between under 2 to over 3 degrees Celsius. That may not sound like a broad range, but it straddles the 2-degree tipping point beyond which scientists say the planet can expect more catastrophic climate change effects.

The satellite data that these findings poke holes in has been used to argue that all these models overestimate how hot the planet will get.

"The satellite estimates are way too small," said Joyce Penner, the Ralph J. Cicerone Distinguished University Professor of Atmospheric Science. "There are things about the global model that should fit the satellite data but don't, so I won't argue that the models necessarily are correct. But we've explained why satellite estimates and the models are so different."

Penner and her colleagues found faults in the techniques that satellite estimates use to find the difference between cloud drop concentrations today and before the Industrial Revolution.

"We found that using satellite data to try to infer how much radiation is reflected today compared to the amount reflected in the pollution-free pre-industrial atmosphere is very inaccurate," Penner said. "If one uses the relationship between aerosol optical depth---essentially a measure of the thickness of the aerosols---and droplet number from satellites, then one can get the wrong answer by a factor of three to six."

These findings are a step toward generating better models, and Penner said that will be the next phase of this research.

"If the large uncertainty in this forcing remains, then we will never reduce the range of projected changes in climate below the current range," she said. "Our findings have shown that we need to be smarter. We simply cannot rely on data from satellites to tell us the effects of aerosols. I think we need to devise a strategy to use the models in conjunction with the satellite data to get the best answers."

The paper is called "Satellite-methods underestimate indirect climate forcing by aerosols." The research is funded by NASA.

PNAS Early Edition:

Joyce Penner:

The University of Michigan College of Engineering is ranked among the top engineering schools in the country. At $180 million annually, its engineering research budget is one of largest of any public university. Michigan Engineering is home to 11 academic departments, numerous research centers and expansive entrepreneurial programs. The College plays a leading role in the Michigan Memorial Phoenix Energy Institute and hosts the world-class Lurie Nanofabrication Facility. Michigan Engineering's premier scholarship, international scale and multidisciplinary scope combine to create The Michigan Difference. Find out more at

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Climate 'fix' could deplete ozone PostSun Oct 02, 2011 11:08 pm  Reply with quote

Climate 'fix' could deplete ozone

By Helen Briggs
Science reporter, BBC News

Research has cast new doubt on the wisdom of using Sun-blocking sulphate particles to cool the planet.

Sulphate injections are one of several "geo-engineering" solutions to climate change being discussed by scientists.

But data published in Science journal suggests the strategy would lead to drastic thinning of the ozone layer.

This would delay the recovery of the Antarctic ozone hole by decades, and cause significant ozone loss over the Arctic, say US researchers.

The idea of pumping sulphur into the upper atmosphere ito counteract global warming comes from nature.

Major volcanic eruptions emit vast quantities of sulphur particles that can cool the planet significantly.

This was observed following the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo.

But one potential drawback is that sulphates provide a surface on which chlorine gases in polar clouds can become activated, causing chemical reactions that lead to the destruction of ozone molecules.

Ozone loss

Dr Simone Tilmes of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCar) in Boulder, Colorado, and colleagues used a combination of measurements and computer simulations to estimate future ozone loss if sulphate injections were carried out.

Quantities capable of mitigating climate change would destroy as much as three-quarters of the ozone layer over the Arctic, if carried out in the next few decades, they said.

This would also delay the expected recovery of the ozone layer over the Antarctic by about 30 to 70 years, they concluded.

Ozone depletion was enhanced in the Antarctic in the Mt Pinatubo aftermath.

Dr Tilmes said more research was needed before society attempted global geo-engineering solutions in the future.

However, she said the study should not rule out the approach altogether.

She told BBC News: "Politicians have to decide what is most important - if you have climate change you might have catastrophic conditions - they might decide to do this anyway.

"If you have to make decisions you need to know what is good about it and what is bad about it. With this scheme the bad side is definitely the ozone depletion, but you can cool the climate."
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The Millions Funding Geoengineering PostWed Feb 08, 2012 1:21 am  Reply with quote

The Millions Funding Geoengineering
Bill Gates among wealthy funding large-scale geoengineering

- Common Dreams staff

As scientists search for a plan to deal with climate change, some have pushed for a controversial approach known as geoengineering, a technological fix for climate change that involves efforts such as reflecting solar energy back into space or fertilizing the oceans.

Bill Gates is among other wealthy individuals financially backing scientists to lobby governments to push geoengineering, raising concerns that this small group may have a large impact on further decisions on geoengineering.

The Guardian reports:

Concern is now growing that the small but influential group of scientists, and their backers, may have a disproportionate effect on major decisions about geoengineering research and policy.

"We will need to protect ourselves from vested interests [and] be sure that choices are not influenced by parties who might make significant amounts of money through a choice to modify climate, especially using proprietary intellectual property," said Jane Long, director at large for the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the US, in a paper delivered to a recent geoengineering conference on ethics.

"The stakes are very high and scientists are not the best people to deal with the social, ethical or political issues that geoengineering raises," said Doug Parr, chief scientist at Greenpeace. "The idea that a self-selected group should have so much influence is bizarre."

Pressure to find a quick technological fix to climate change is growing as politicians fail to reach an agreement to significantly reduce emissions. In 2009-2010, the US government received requests for over $2bn(£1.2bn) of grants for geoengineering research, but spent around $100m.

As well as Gates, other wealthy individuals including Sir Richard Branson, tar sands magnate Murray Edwards and the co-founder of Skype, Niklas Zennström, have funded a series of official reports into future use of the technology. Branson, who has frequently called for geoengineering to combat climate change, helped fund the Royal Society's inquiry into solar radiation management last year through his Carbon War Room charity. It is not known how much he contributed.

Professors David Keith, of Harvard University, and Ken Caldeira of Stanford, are the world's two leading advocates of major research into geoengineering the upper atmosphere to provide earth with a reflective shield. They have so far received over $4.6m from Gates to run the Fund for Innovative Climate and Energy Research (Ficer). Nearly half Ficer's money, which comes directly from Gates's personal funds, has so far been used for their own research, but the rest is disbursed by them to fund the work of other advocates of large-scale interventions.

According to statements of financial interests, Keith receives an undisclosed sum from Bill Gates each year, and is the president and majority owner of the geoengineering company Carbon Engineering, in which both Gates and Edwards have major stakes – believed to be together worth over $10m.

Another Edwards company, Canadian Natural Resources, has plans to spend $25bn to turn the bitumen-bearing sand found in northern Alberta into barrels of crude oil. Caldeira says he receives $375,000 a year from Gates, holds a carbon capture patent and works for Intellectual Ventures, a private geoegineering research company part-owned by Gates and run by Nathan Myhrvold, former head of technology at Microsoft.

According to the latest Ficer accounts, the two scientists have so far given $300,000 of Gates money to part-fund three prominent reviews and assessments of geoengineering – the UK Royal Society report on Solar Radiation Management, the US Taskforce on Geoengineering and a 2009 report by Novin a science thinktank based in Santa Barbara, California. Keith and Caldeira either sat on the panels that produced the reports or contributed evidence. All three reports strongly recommended more research into solar radiation management.

The fund also gave $600,000 to Phil Rasch, chief climate scientist for the Pacific Northwest national laboratory, one of 10 research institutions funded by the US energy department.

Rasch gave evidence at the first Royal Society report on geoengineering 2009 and was a panel member on the 2011 report. He has testified to the US Congress about the need for government funding of large-scale geoengineering and, according to a financial statement he gave the Royal Society, also works for Intellectual Ventures. In addition, Caldeira and Keith gave a further $240,000 to geoengineering advocates to travel and attend workshops and meetings and $100,000 to Jay Apt, a prominent advocate of geoengineering as a last resort, and professor of engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. Apt worked with Keith and Aurora Flight Sciences, a US company that develops drone aircraft technology for the US military, to study the costs of sending 1m tonnes of sulphate particles into the upper atmosphere a year.

Analysis of the eight major national and international inquiries into geoengineering over the past three years shows that Keith and Caldeira, Rasch and Prof Granger Morgan the head of department of engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University where Keith works, have sat on seven panels, including one set up by the UN. Three other strong advocates of solar radiation geoengineering, including Rasch, have sat on national inquiries part-funded by Ficer.

"There are clear conflicts of interest between many of the people involved in the debate," said Diana Bronson, a researcher with Montreal-based geoengineering watchdog ETC.

"What is really worrying is that the same small group working on high-risk technologies that will geoengineer the planet is also trying to engineer the discussion around international rules and regulations. We cannot put the fox in charge of the chicken coop."

"The eco-clique are lobbying for a huge injection of public funds into geoengineering research. They dominate virtually every inquiry into geoengineering. They are present in almost all of the expert deliberations. They have been the leading advisers to parliamentary and congressional inquiries and their views will, in all likelihood, dominate the deliberations of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as it grapples for the first time with the scientific and ethical tangle that is climate engineering," said Clive Hamilton, professor of Public Ethics at the Australian National University, in a Guardian blog.

* * *

In a 2010 debate on geoengineering on Democracy Now!, scientist and environmentalist Vandana Shiva cautioned against this method to deal with climate change: is the idea of being able to engineer our lives on this very fragile and complex and interrelated and interconnected planet that’s created the mess we are in. It’s an engineering paradigm that created the fossil fuel age, that gave us climate change. And Einstein warned us and said you can’t solve problems with the same mindset that created them. Geoengineering is trying to solve the problems with the same old mindset of controlling nature. And the phrase that was used, of cheating — let’s cheat — you can’t cheat nature. That’s something people should recognize by now. There is no cheating possible. Eventually, the laws of Gaia determine the final outcome.
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Dane Wigington on Geoengineering PostThu Mar 14, 2013 7:51 pm  Reply with quote  

Note: This video has been pulled from the Internet before. Apparently there are those who would rather that you didn't view this. Not a surprise. Definitely worth watching.

Censored: Dane Wigington Geoengineering Interview Pulled from YouTube
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New research determines how cirrus clouds form PostFri May 10, 2013 3:31 pm  Reply with quote  

What a surprise...MIT and NOAA scientists find that METALLIC AEROSOLS provide condensation nuclei for the formation of cirrus clouds. Must read the source article to see if ANY EFFORT IS MADE TO IDENTIFY THE SOURCE OF THESE METALLIC AEROSOLS...or is this just another group of "Esteemed Scientists" feeding at the trough.

New research determines how cirrus clouds form

Science Recorder | Ellen Miller

Cirrus clouds, characterized by their thin, wispy strands, influence global climate due to their ability to both absorb incoming radiation as well as trap heat. Scientists have focused on studying these light vapor masses in recent years as a way to examine and help predict future climate patterns.

In a study funded by NASA and the National Science Foundation, an interdisciplinary team from MIT, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), among others, sampled cirrus clouds from research aircraft, collecting particles over nine years and analyzing them. The study, published in Science magazine this week, found that the majority of cloud particles freeze (nucleate) around two types of seeds: mineral dust and metallic aerosols.

“We think we’re really looking at the seed, the nucleus of these ice crystals,” Dan Cziczo, an associate professor of atmospheric chemistry at MIT, explained to “These results are going to allow us to better understand the climatic implications of these clouds in the future.”

The team accomplished four flight missions over the nine years between 2002-2011 in North and Central America, where cirrus clouds typically form. Before takeoff, the team examined weather forecasts to determine the best area for hunting a cloud. “More often than not, the forecast is solid, and it’s up to the pilot to hit a cloud,” Cziczo says. “If they find a good spot, they can call back on a satellite phone and tell us if they’re inside a cloud, and how thick it is.” From there, the plane takes in ice particles which thaw and were then examined by the team. A particle collector and a mass spectrometer were mounted to the nose of the plane for this purpose.

What the team discovered was that over 60 percent of the particles consisted of mineral dust blown into the atmosphere, pointing to a significant human impact.

While many lab experiments have found evidence of biological particles and black carbon (the latter emitted from automobiles), the current study found little evidence of these in the clouds. Research team participant Karl Froyd, of NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory, expressed that this information is just as significant as what was found, for the purposes of creating accurate climate change models.

“There’s been a lot of research efforts spent on looking at how these particle types freeze under various conditions,” Froyd explained. “Our message is that you can ignore those, and can instead look at mineral dust as the dominant driving force for the formation of this type of cloud.”

Read more:
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Clarifying the Dominant Sources and Mechanisms of Cirrus Clo PostFri May 10, 2013 3:39 pm  Reply with quote  

Is there one of these "Esteemed Scientists" who are willing to comment on the source of the metallic aerosols found in the formation of cirrus clouds?

Just one?

Clarifying the Dominant Sources and Mechanisms of Cirrus Cloud Formation

Daniel J. Cziczo1,*,
Karl D. Froyd2,3,
Corinna Hoose4,
Eric J. Jensen5,
Minghui Diao6,
Mark A. Zondlo6,
Jessica B. Smith7,
Cynthia H. Twohy8,
Daniel M. Murphy2

+ Author Affiliations

1Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.

2NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory, Chemical Sciences Division, Boulder, CO 80305, USA.

3Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Science, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, USA.

4Institute for Meteorology and Climate Research – Atmospheric Aerosol Research, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, 76021 Karlsruhe, Germany.

5NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA 94035, USA.

6Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA.

7School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.

8College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA.

*Corresponding author. E-mail:


Formation of cirrus clouds depends upon the availability of ice nuclei to begin condensation of atmospheric water vapor. While it is known that only a small fraction of atmospheric aerosols are efficient ice nuclei, the critical ingredients that make those aerosols so effective has not been established. We have determined in situ the composition of the residual particles within cirrus crystals after the ice was sublimated. Our results demonstrate that mineral dust and metallic particles are the dominant source of residual particles, while sulfate/organic particles are underrepresented and elemental carbon and biological material are essentially absent. Further, composition analysis combined with relative humidity measurements suggest heterogeneous freezing was the dominant formation mechanism of these clouds.
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Climate slowdown means extreme rates of warming 'not as like PostFri May 24, 2013 10:40 pm  Reply with quote  

Could it be that the billions of dollars spent on a clandestine operation to disperse metallic aerosols in the upper atmosphere over the past decade has actually had a measurable impact on global climate change? Shouldn't all the "ESTEEMED" atmospheric scientists who are actually collecting real field data be able to weigh in on this? And IF there is a black operation that is temporarily retarding climate change induced by increased greenhouses gases, wouldn't keeping this secret be highly immoral in that it would lessen the urgency to attack the root cause of the problem? Inquiring minds want to know.

Climate slowdown means extreme rates of warming 'not as likely'

By Matt McGrath

Scientists say the recent downturn in the rate of global warming will lead to lower temperature rises in the short-term.

Since 1998, there has been an unexplained "standstill" in the heating of the Earth's atmosphere.

Writing in Nature Geoscience, the researchers say this will reduce predicted warming in the coming decades.

But long-term, the expected temperature rises will not alter significantly.

The slowdown in the expected rate of global warming has been studied for several years now. Earlier this year, the UK Met Office lowered their five-year temperature forecast.

But this new paper gives the clearest picture yet of how any slowdown is likely to affect temperatures in both the short-term and long-term.

An international team of researchers looked at how the last decade would impact long-term, equilibrium climate sensitivity and the shorter term climate response.

Transient nature

Climate sensitivity looks to see what would happen if we doubled concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere and let the Earth's oceans and ice sheets respond to it over several thousand years.

Transient climate response is much shorter term calculation again based on a doubling of CO2.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported in 2007 that the short-term temperature rise would most likely be 1-3C (1.8-5.4F).

But in this new analysis, by only including the temperatures from the last decade, the projected range would be 0.9-2.0C.

"The hottest of the models in the medium-term, they are actually looking less likely or inconsistent with the data from the last decade alone," said Dr Alexander Otto from the University of Oxford.

"The most extreme projections are looking less likely than before."

The authors calculate that over the coming decades global average temperatures will warm about 20% more slowly than expected.

But when it comes to the longer term picture, the authors say their work is consistent with previous estimates. The IPCC said that climate sensitivity was in the range of 2.0-4.5C.

Ocean storage

This latest research, including the decade of stalled temperature rises, produces a range of 0.9-5.0C.

"It is a bigger range of uncertainty," said Dr Otto.

"But it still includes the old range. We would all like climate sensitivity to be lower but it isn't."

The researchers say the difference between the lower short-term estimate and the more consistent long-term picture can be explained by the fact that the heat from the last decade has been absorbed into and is being stored by the world's oceans.

Not everyone agrees with this perspective.

Prof Steven Sherwood, from the University of New South Wales, says the conclusion about the oceans needs to be taken with a grain of salt for now.

"There is other research out there pointing out that this storage may be part of a natural cycle that will eventually reverse, either due to El Nino or the so-called Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, and therefore may not imply what the authors are suggesting," he said.

The authors say there are ongoing uncertainties surrounding the role of aerosols in the atmosphere and around the issue of clouds.

"We would expect a single decade to jump around a bit but the overall trend is independent of it, and people should be exactly as concerned as before about what climate change is doing," said Dr Otto.

Is there any succour in these findings for climate sceptics who say the slowdown over the past 14 years means the global warming is not real?

"None. No comfort whatsoever," he said.
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