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Author Topic: What are the consequences of weather modification?  (Read 7621 times)

Offline BenV

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Weather modification, geoeingineering, call it what you will - there have been experiments into controlling the weather - but what were their outcomes?  How do modern theoretical ideas and models compare with the established experiments?


 

Offline imatfaal

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What are the consequences of weather modification?
« Reply #1 on: 24/05/2011 15:39:25 »
From my reading there are many and diverse ideas that are in earliest stages of research - I guess the most well known is Carbon Dioxide sequestration - also known as trying to bury a gas.  Sounds counterintuitive but porous rocks can hold alot of the gases we need to get rid of and out of the atmosphere.  A few months ago Nature ran a piece (I will dig out a reference) that claimed that things were proceeding a little too quickly in the USA - small startups wanted to be the first names on the list of providers and were not taking into account all the geological risks that such a process entails.  One easily identified problem (that Nature highlighted) is that if it is done badly or hurriedly and in five/ten years we get excessive leakage then we may cause an even bigger problem.

Here is a link to a different nice Nature Geoscience Paperthat I found on the web that gives a break-down of the current ideas and calls for more in depth research to evaluate risks/rewards.
 

Offline peppercorn

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What are the consequences of weather modification?
« Reply #2 on: 24/05/2011 16:04:50 »
Recently read the book 'super-freakonomics' which was  great fun, if with questionable logic - at least on Climate-engineering.

It did, however cover this 'weather-engineering' idea:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=can-tropical-cyclones-be-stopped

- Using 'Salter's (as of the duck) Sink' to 'drop' warm surface sea-water to lower depths in an effort to reduce hurricane activity.
 

Offline Peter Ridley under another name

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What are the consequences of weather modification?
« Reply #3 on: 24/05/2011 18:16:23 »
I looked at that link that imatfaal gave and it says about Ocean fertilization. Continuous fertilization, over decades, of ocean waters that have a perennial excess of plant nutrients, in order to boost phytoplankton productivity and consequently increase the sequestration of atmospheric CO2 into deep water10. Similar potential approaches include nitrogen fertilization of coastal waters (proposed in the late 1990s) or purposeful mixing of deep nutrient-rich waters into the surface ocean (proposed in 2007) in the low-latitude ocean. Iron fertilization has been discussed since the early 1990s.

I found that Philip Boyd has wrote a lot about the sea and making plants grow with iron. One of them was an article in 2000 called A mesoscale phytoplankton bloom in the polar Southern Ocean stimulated by iron fertilization http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v407/n6805/full/407695a0.html about getting plants to grow in the sea by using putting iron into it and I remember reading something about this being used to change weather or climate. I cant read most of his articles because they have to be paid for but he seems worried about what might happen. He said in one “It is premature to sell carbon offsets from ocean iron fertilization unless research provides the scientific foundation to evaluate risks and benefits” http://www.sciencemag.org/content/319/5860/162.

I found another one from 2008 about Natural Iron Fertilization in the Southern Ocean, and Implications for the Biological Carbon Pump in http://www.aslo.org/orlando2008/files/osm2008_session_circular.pdf and it says Enhanced deep carbon export as a result of Fe-fertilization remains equivocal so that is worrying.

Is that way been tried but what if too much grows and takes out too much carbon dioxide. Will we get another ice age. It looks very dangerous to me because getting colder could be worse than getting warmer. I like it to be warm not cold. Professor Steven Schneider was worried about this 30 years ago like Ive already said.
 

Offline imatfaal

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What are the consequences of weather modification?
« Reply #4 on: 24/05/2011 18:47:42 »
Philip Boyd's nature paper - in very simplistic terms - does conclude that there is a local increase in the phytoplankton in a small southern ocean test, but did not investigate whether/how/if this additional carbon is fixed and long-term sequestered in the deep ocean through organic particulate export.  This was basically testing the first part of J H Martin's The Iron Hypothesis for the Southern Ocean polar conditions (previous tests were pacific and temperate)- the second part (the longterm sequestration remains to be tested to satsifaction).

I have had a quick read through all the other papers you mentioned and Boyd seems to be making the same - very relevant and well-illustrated points:
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The consequences of global climate change are profound, and the scientific community has an obligation to assess the ramifications of policy options for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing CO2 sinks in reservoirs other than the atmosphere
It's basically a call to arms for the scientific community to research, theorize, and develop longterm, sustainable, and safe methods of carbon sequestration
 
Edit for reference
quote is from
Buesseller et al SCIENCE VOL 319 11 JANUARY 2008 161
« Last Edit: 24/05/2011 18:49:29 by imatfaal »
 

Offline Peter Ridley under another name

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What are the consequences of weather modification?
« Reply #5 on: 24/05/2011 22:12:37 »
Iv read some bits of those words as well but nobody except Professor Schneider says anything about being worried about messing with the nature. What would happen if plants grow too much and take out all of the carbon dioxide. Will other plants on land die because there is no food for them and will we get too cold because theres no greenhouse. That might be one consequence of messing about too much and do we know how much or how to stop it. Anyway what do you mean by carbon getting fixed and longtermed sequesterd through the organic particlate export. I don’t understand what you mean. Don’t forget how some people worried about that CERN experiment making a black hole to suck us all into. Are we messing too much when we don’t know whats going to happen next. Some people say that another ice age is starting and will we make it worse or should we leave things alone and just pray.

Some people said that more people die from cold than from hot, like flu and numonia. Is that worse or better than being hot. My kids are asking me all the time if they are going to die and I don’t know what to say how.
 

Offline CliffordK

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What are the consequences of weather modification?
« Reply #6 on: 24/05/2011 22:40:43 »
There are some models that indicate that CO2 levels of about 180 ppm as Earth has had during the glacial periods are very dangerous to plant life.

There are also models that over time, perhaps over the next few million years, Earth's carbon dioxide levels could drop to levels that would be incapable of supporting life.

To a large extent, the oceans moderate the CO2 levels if given time to respond, unfortunately we've been overwhelming their ability to do so.

An ice age cometh?  I don't know.  Probably not imminently.  There is some confusion between the terms "Little Ice Age" which would be moderate cooling, and "Ice Age" which would be catastrophic cooling.  However, the pressures that drove past ice ages are likely to return sometime in the next 5000 to 10000 years.  Perhaps increased atmospheric CO2 will help prevent the return of glacial conditions.

I think there are many reasons why we should not seek irreversible carbon dioxide sequestration (although, perhaps the best alternative is to leave some of the coal and oil in the ground for future generations).

Are your children in critical danger from CO2?  Unlikely.

Grandchildren?  Great Grandchildren?  Great Great Grandchildren?  Perhaps, although they may choose to emigrate to Canada or Russia.  Significant amounts of new land might become opened up to human habitation and farming.

The greatest risk is likely increased population growth.  Can the Earth support another human population doubling?  Quadrupling?  What would be left of "nature" with two population doublings?  Couple that with the inevitable industrialization of some of the more marginal societies and earth will be in bad shape.
 

Offline Peter Ridley under another name

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What are the consequences of weather modification?
« Reply #7 on: 25/05/2011 09:31:05 »
So we now have about 360 of carbon in the air and if it goes down to 180 it will kill plants so we’ll have no food and all die yes. If we try to take carbon out of the air and put it into the sea we could kill us off like that so we shouldn’t do it. How do we know what to do then. We might make things worse by poking our noses in to nature. I know well all die eventually as it has happened before to the dinosors but that could be anything. We cant tell. How have we stopped the seas controlling carbon. Is that for burning too much but how do we know that weve done that. About an ice age there was one called the little one not long ago wasn’t there. Did we do that and how did we. Maybe cutting down all of the trees we used to have and burning them makes it colder because ive seen that in the garden under the trees theres no frost when there is on the lawn so they must keep things warm. Do we know really how things work so are we best not stopping it and let it get warmer. That’s why Im worried because we dont know whats going on. They say it can happen all of a sudden and we cant stop it and it will all tip over so whats the point. Im worried about too many people but that’s different and not about geoengineering is it so might be a conspiracy and get this locked like the other one. That’s another question. I went to Canada for a few years and it was very cold in the winter and very hot in the summer so I like here best but I dont want to go to Russia. Greenland used to have people didn’t it so we could go there and grow trees.

Its all very worrying because the government said on telly last year about a bedtime story that we would all drown in the sea and so would the dog http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100013199/governments-6-million-bedtime-story-climate-change-ad-biggest-waste-of-taxpayers-money/ and this year some people from 1010 said that they were going to blow up anybody who didn’t stop using coal
but that’s not nice is it. That Labor man Ed Milliband started that lot didn’t he
when he was in the governemnt so he mustnt be nice either and that was in 2009 and we still havnt stopped carbon so Im glad hes not in charge now.
There was a man called Professor Alley who waves his hands around a lot who said he knew what was the biggest climate control knob http://www.agu.org/meetings/fm09/lectures/lecture_videos/A23A.shtml and it is carbon so he must know something about it but he doesn’t seem to think geoengineering is any good because we cant do it on a computer http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100823/full/news.2010.426.html.

I thought that carbon was mixed all up in the air all over but Ive just had an email from a friend in Australia who asked her governments scientists in CSIRO about it and theuy said different. This is what they told her “We regret to advise that because the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere isn’t uniform - it varies spatially and temporally throughout the whole depth of the atmosphere – it is difficult to provide an estimate of carbon absorption for any region of the world”. SO how do they know how much is up there or not. I don’t think they know very much at all and to try to mess about is dangerous so should be left alone don’t you think.

This is a smashing site because you can add things and change things easly so even I can do it once my daughter showed me.
« Last Edit: 25/05/2011 09:52:27 by Yelder »
 

Offline CliffordK

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What are the consequences of weather modification?
« Reply #8 on: 25/05/2011 10:26:07 »
About half of our CO2 emissions are absorbed each year by the planet including a lot in the oceans.  However, our emissions essentially overwhelm the ability of the oceans to absorb the CO2

CO2 in its aqueous form also forms carbonic acid:

H2O + CO2 --> H2CO3 (carbonic acid).

This acidification of the oceans has been commented on as a potential hazard for shellfish.

The basic CO2 equilibrium in the oceans is based on partial pressures.  The higher the temperature, the higher the partial pressure and the oceans release CO2.  The lower the temperature, the lower the partial pressure and the oceans absorb CO2.  Adding CO2 to the atmosphere increases the pressure of the gas in the atmosphere and drives more of it back into the oceans.  However, the exchange is only done at the sea surface, and it takes time for it to be distributed through all depths.

The oceans are also a sink for other carbon forms including methane clathrates which are essentially a solid precipitate of methane at the bottoms of the oceans.  Perhaps dead organic material could also fall to the bottom of the ocean and become entombed. 

Greenland is somewhat unique in that it is essentially horse-shoe shaped opening northward.  Much of it is actually fairly low elevation, but due to a thick ice cap, it has the effect of being high elevation.  This horse-shoe shape is likely what caused it to retain its glaciers when Canada lost most of its glaciers at the end of the last ice age.  The ice cap certainly won't melt overnight.

Likewise, much of West Antarctica is very low elevation with a thick ice cap, although Antarctic temperatures tend to be below freezing year-around, and Antarctica currently seems to be experiencing less warming than the arctic.

There are estimates of some global glacial loss contributing to increasing ocean levels, although the majority of the current sea level rise is due to thermal expansion of the ocean.

Current sea level rise rates vary by location, but average about 2mm per year, or about 2cm per decade.  Land subsidence and other issues are causing it to rise much higher in some areas including major river deltas.
 

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Offline Peter Ridley under another name

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What are the consequences of weather modification?
« Reply #9 on: 25/05/2011 11:03:07 »
Shrunk

But what does any of that have to do with What are the consequences of weather modification? When we are talking about geoengineering. DO you want the question locked again.
 

Offline imatfaal

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« Reply #10 on: 25/05/2011 12:18:09 »
Iv read some bits of those words as well but nobody except Professor Schneider says anything about being worried about messing with the nature. What would happen if plants grow too much and take out all of the carbon dioxide. Will other plants on land die because there is no food for them and will we get too cold because theres no greenhouse. That might be one consequence of messing about too much and do we know how much or how to stop it. Anyway what do you mean by carbon getting fixed and longtermed sequesterd through the organic particlate export. I don’t understand what you mean. Don’t forget how some people worried about that CERN experiment making a black hole to suck us all into. Are we messing too much when we don’t know whats going to happen next. Some people say that another ice age is starting and will we make it worse or should we leave things alone and just pray.

Some people said that more people die from cold than from hot, like flu and numonia. Is that worse or better than being hot. My kids are asking me all the time if they are going to die and I don’t know what to say how.


Yelder
Which Stephen Schneider article are you referring to, although he was naturally cautious and sceptical as befits any worthy scientist and I haven't even scratched the surface of his huge volume of work, he was a passionate advocate of action.

The blackhole thang at Cern was media nonsense; we were not at the power to create one, and if by fluke we had then in would have evaporated into radiation quicker than we could measure.  Surely the new ice age was an early 70s phenomenon - that has been almost entirely ruled out now; is there really any consensus that this is possibility?   
 

Offline Peter Ridley under another name

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What are the consequences of weather modification?
« Reply #11 on: 25/05/2011 16:27:29 »
Dr. Schneider is on a Utube from a 1978 telly program in search of the coming ice age on http://motls.blogspot.com/2009/10/in-search-of-coming-ice-age.html. Hes worried about doing things to stop going into an ice age and not being sure of what will happen. The bit is in Part 3 at about 6 minutes where Dr. Schneider says can we do these things yes but will they make things better I’m not sure we can’t predict with any certainty what’s happening to our own climatic future how can we come along and intervene then in that ignorance  you could melt the icecaps what would that do to the coastal cities the cure could be worse than the disease would that better or worse than the risk of an ice age. Theres a bit by another person then after 7 minutes he says it’s the interaction between people and climate that worries me the most, because with everyone jammed into countries, locked into national boundaries, a change in climate means a redistribution of where the rain is, where the growing seasons are my worst fear is that the climate could induce a change in some country that could be devastating to their local survivability and that would lead them to desperate acts that can drag everybody else down.

Theres another video only a year after where hes again talking about not being very sure what is happening to climates if they will get better or worse or what to do about it
He didn’t seem to know what action to take but was worried like me. You say the CERN black hole thing was just media but so do they say that about us and carbon and getting too hot to live and drowning and just politics to get out money so who do I believe and some people say that we are going into another ice age as well because of the sun or comic rays from space whatever they are. So should we be doing anything to try to change it if we don’t know why its changing or what will happen even the scientists like Professor Schneider and do the naked scientists know any better but I don’t think so.

You said about black holes only being media but the BBC reported about Dr. Asdrian Kent from Cambridge’s paper about a killer strangelet catastrophe scenirio http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/7468966.stm and hes a scientist.
 

Offline imatfaal

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What are the consequences of weather modification?
« Reply #12 on: 25/05/2011 17:29:45 »
Since 1978 we have learnt an immeasurable amount about the climate, the atmosphere, and geo-engineering.  In point, Stephen Schneider himself realised that his predictions of the cooling effects of aerosol contaminants were massively over-stated and withdrew from his previous predictions.  By the 1980 he was a passionate and vocal advocate from the scientific community for action to reverse the increasing levels of CO2 within the atmosphere.  He most certainly was not calling for inaction because of a feared ice-age; like the great scientist he was he continued looking at the evidence and was brave enough to change his opinion. 

Killer stranglets rely on about 5 hypothetical yet unproven and unlikely steps and are unimaginable unlikely - Adrian Kent's paper is available on arxiv.  they are not mini-blackholes
 

Offline yor_on

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What are the consequences of weather modification?
« Reply #13 on: 04/06/2011 15:45:04 »
The best weather engineering we can do is to question our belief in always 'growing economies', instead of unlimited 'growth' we need to find a balance and reduce those 'carbon footprints' we leave. On the other hand it won't matter, what we already started is on its way and nature will correct our mistakes in her own way. I've been thinking of what we need to survive a worst case scenario, and one thing is that I expect us to need, is a average lifetime of forty years. That should be enough to put another generation on their feet. So, as long as Nature gives us that we will cope. But this planet won't be what you knew in a hundred years, we have a major extinction on our hands, not only because the warming but because we are what we are. Prey that became predators, we have all the significance of prey in that we breed so fast and all the significance of predators in that we have no scruples when it comes to kill, if there is some short time gain involved in it that is. But don't expect any later generations to thank us.
 

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Offline Peter Ridley under another name

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What are the consequences of weather modification?
« Reply #14 on: 05/06/2011 21:29:51 »
Shrunk
Yor_on you come across as nothing but a scare-monger.
 

Offline Peter Ridley under another name

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What are the consequences of weather modification?
« Reply #15 on: 06/06/2011 09:34:51 »
Yor_on, maybe you’ll find “Climate Engineering” at http://www.chooseclimate.org/cleng/part1.html of help in understanding what the question is about.

I have just received an E-mail from a friend about an article http://www.thegwpf.org/the-climate-record/3053-william-happer-the-dubious-science-of-the-climate-crusaders.html  by a physicist William Happer, Cyrus Fogg Brackett Professor of Physics at Princeton University http://www.princeton.edu/physics/people/faculty/william-happer/ that you might help you. He says
Quote
I want to discuss a contemporary moral epidemic: the notion that increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, notably carbon dioxide, will have disastrous consequences for mankind and for the planet. The “climate crusade” is one characterized by true believers, opportunists, cynics, money-hungry governments, manipulators of various types—even children’s crusades—all based on contested science and dubious claims. .. Various geo-engineering schemes are being discussed for scrubbing CO2 from the air and cleansing the atmosphere of the “pollutant.” There is no lower limit for human beings, but there is for human life. We would be perfectly healthy in a world with little or no atmospheric CO2—except that we would have nothing to eat and a few other minor inconveniences, because most plants stop growing if the levels drop much below 150 ppm. If we want to continue to be fed and clothed by the products of green plants, we can have too little CO2.

The minimum acceptable value for plants is not that much below the 270 ppm preindustrial value. It is possible that this is not enough, that we are better off with our current level, and would be better off with more still. There is evidence that California orange groves are about 30 percent more productive today than they were 150 years ago because of the increase of atmospheric CO2.

Although human beings and many other animals would do well with no CO2 at all in the air, there is an upper limit that we can tolerate. Inhaling air with a concentration of a few percent, similar to the concentration of the air we exhale, hinders the diffusional exchange of CO2 between the blood and gas in the lung. Both the United States Navy (for submariners) and nasa (for astronauts) have performed extensive studies of human tolerance to CO2. As a result of these studies, the Navy recommends an upper limit of about 8000 ppm for cruises of ninety days, and nasa recommends an upper limit of 5000 ppm for missions of one thousand days, both assuming a total pressure of one atmosphere. Higher levels are acceptable for missions of only a few days.

We conclude that atmospheric CO2 levels should be above 150 ppm to avoid harming green plants and below about 5000 ppm to avoid harming people. That is a very wide range, and our atmosphere is much closer to the lower end than to the upper end. The current rate of burning fossil fuels adds about 2 ppm per year to the atmosphere, so that getting from the current level to 1000 ppm would take about 300 years—and 1000 ppm is still less than what most plants would prefer, and much less than either the nasa or the Navy limit for human beings
« Last Edit: 06/06/2011 12:27:12 by Yelder »
 

Offline yor_on

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What are the consequences of weather modification?
« Reply #16 on: 06/06/2011 14:00:18 »
Yelder :)

I've been accused of having  'political agendas' too :)

Awh.
 

Offline yor_on

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« Reply #17 on: 06/06/2011 14:02:50 »
And sure. There are other brilliant thinkers that state that we don't need a diversified earth at all, as long as we have our domes :)

I'm so impressed :)
 

Offline Peter Ridley under another name

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« Reply #18 on: 06/06/2011 14:52:30 »
Yor_on you might be interested in having a look at the “IMF report on the UK economy: live” (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/8558924/IMF-report-on-the-UK-economy-live.html) but you might be disappointed. 
Quote
Lipsky: growth in advanced economies will be 2pc this year. Why aren't we getting stronger recovery in advanced economies? One reason: economic downturns accompanied by financial crises tend to leave longer tails. At the same time, global growth we anticipate will be around 4.5pc, this is strong relative to medium and long term trends.

It's the distribution that is different... Emerging markets 6.5pc vs 2pc in advanced economies. The way to achieve better growth in advanced economies is to boost demand in emerging markets and continue with structural reforms.

No hint there about the IMF experts agreeing with your
Quote
The best weather engineering we can do is to question our belief in always 'growing economies', instead of unlimited 'growth' we need to find a balance and reduce those 'carbon footprints' we leave
It seems that those experts do believe in always growing economies and unlimited growth  and aren’t worried like you are about our carbon footprints or a major extinction on our hands. There was no mention of either at the conference, not even by the journalists from the Guardian or The Times, or in “The IMF's statement on the UK economy: in full” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/8559487/The-IMFs-statement-on-the-UK-economy-in-full.html.

Perhaps this Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey masterpiece inspires those experts http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rkRIbUT6u7Q.
 

Offline yor_on

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« Reply #19 on: 06/06/2011 15:19:59 »
Nah, they won't :)

It's just my own point of view. There are all kinds of things defining us as unique persons. That 'statistics' can extrapolate from individuals 'en masse' do not state that this extrapolation was your 'will' too. But I'm sure that there are more than me realizing that we live on a planet of finite resources. From there I'll leave it to you to draw your own conclusions.

We're all individuals, but depending on upbringing we all also have certain 'values' that we've been immersed in. They differ, not only between countries, but also inside them. Myself I like to think that I am a individual, and that I can draw my own conclusions :)
 

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« Reply #19 on: 06/06/2011 15:19:59 »

 

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