Monday, October 08, 2007

Another Geo-Engineering Scheme

Jim Lovelock (he of the Gaia hypothesis) and Chris Rapley have proposed a means of geo-engineering our way out of the AGW mess:

The oceans, which cover more than 70% of the Earth’s surface, are a promising place to seek a regulating influence. One approach would be to use free-floating or tethered vertical pipes to increase the mixing of nutrient-rich waters below the thermocline with the relatively barren waters at the ocean surface. (We acknowledge advice from Armand Neukermans on engineering aspects of the pipes.) Water pumped up pipes — say, 100 to 200 metres long, 10 metres in diameter and with a one-way flap valve at the lower end for pumping by wave movement — would fertilize algae in the surface waters and encourage them to bloom. This would pump down carbon dioxide and produce dimethyl sulphide, the precursor of nuclei that form sunlight-reflecting clouds.

From an engineering perspective this is probably not feasible, but even if it was, the effect would be the exact opposite of that hoped for: more CO2 would be released into the atmosphere than would be absorbed by the algae blooms. The simpler of the two explanations of why this should be so is:

“The concept is flawed,” says Scott Doney, a marine chemist at WHOI. He says it neglects the fact that deeper waters with high nutrients also generally contain a lot of dissolved inorganic carbon, including dissolved CO2. Bringing these waters to the lower pressures of the surface would result in the CO2 bubbling out into the air. So contrary to the desired effect, the scheme could result in a net ‘outgassing’ of CO2...

Ah well, maybe we can live in polar cities, and in any case, nobody has shot down my Carbopult(TM) idea.

4 comments:

dan said...

Hi Big City Liberal,

thanks for the POLAR CITY mention on yr blog. you are the first blgger
in the world, the universe, to mention this new term POLAR CITIES,
ever ever. thanks....

later, one day, soon, can you devote an entire blog post to my idea
of polar cities, pro or con, or pro and con.....and i will soon have a
drawing to show what they will look like. Interested? YES NO

Polar City Liberal

Anonymous said...

google this for entire:

The last green taboo: engineering the planet

By JOHANN HARI

GUEST COLUMNIST

"Geo-engineering" sounds like a bland and technical term but it is
actually a Messianic movement to save the world from global warming,
through dust and iron and thousands of tiny mirrors in space. It is
also the last green taboo.

Environmentalists instinctively do not want to discuss it. The wider
public instinctively thinks it is mad. But now, the taboo has been
breached. James Lovelock, one of the founding fathers of modern
environmentalism, proposed a way to slash global warming without
cutting back on a single fossil fuel.

"Geo-engineers" believe man should consciously change the planet's
environment, using technology, to counter the effects of global
warming.

Anonymous said...

google for entire:

The Folly, Egoism And Dangers Of Climate Geo-Engineering

By Glen Barry

02 October, 2007
Earth Meanders

Is humanity so resistant to change that we will tamper with the
biosphere's workings to construct a "Frankensphere"; rather than
reducing population, consumption and emissions?

It is being widely suggested that humanity can "geo-engineer" a global
solution to climate change; that is, modify the Earth's biosphere at a
planetary scale. Many methods are suggested. Most include either
reflecting additional solar radiation away from the Earth, or using
the ocean to store more carbon.

Anonymous said...

google for entire at Observer, UK:

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/focus/story/0,,2185343,00.html

Can science really save the world?


Endless treaties to cut carbon emissions and halt global warming have failed to turn the tide of pollution. Now scientists want to intervene on a planetary scale, changing the very nature of our seas and skies. Ahead of a major report on 'geo-engineering' we reveal the six big ideas that could change the face of the Earth

Robin McKie and Juliette Jowit
Sunday October 7, 2007
The Observer


They are the ultimate technological fixes: schemes that will span our planet and involve scientists in reshaping our world to save it from global warming. Yet only a few years ago, such projects - giant space mirrors, flotillas of artificial cloud makers and ocean fertilisation programmes - were dismissed as the stuff of science fiction.
Today many engineers and researchers - fearful of the rate at which our planet is warming - say geo-engineering projects are now mankind's only hope of saving itself from the impact of climate change. A major report and a new exhibition at the Science Museum starting next week will resurrect the debate.