Scientists: Injecting sea salt in clouds could solve global warmingon August 21, 2012 @ 10:48 am (Updated: 1:20 pm - 8/21/12 )
Atmospheric physicist Rob Wood, along with 24 other scientists, wrote about a possible experiment to test a concept on a small scale in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society.
In simple terms, the group wants to inject sea-salt into clouds. If it worked, it would brighten marine clouds, which in turn, would cool the Earth.
"The idea is if you can put small particles of sea salt into clouds, you can make those clouds brighter. So potentially, it's been suggested as a means for reducing the global temperature," explained Wood.
The test would start by deploying sprayers on a ship or barge to ensure that they can inject enough particles of the targeted size to the appropriate elevation, according to the paper. An airplane equipped with sensors would study the physical and chemical characteristics of the particles and how they disperse.
If there is enough interest, Wood thinks that the project has the ability to be operational in the next five years, but it's key that independent scientists do the work.
"None of us, involved in this think that doing this geoengineering itself is necessarily a good idea, but we feel that it's something we should explore."
The fear is that regardless of the unstudied effects, a private company might continue with the work even if the cons outweigh the pros.
"We stress that there would be no justification for deployment of [marine cloud brightening] unless it was clearly established that no significant adverse consequences would result," wrote the authors of the paper. "There would also need to be an international agreement firmly in favor of such action."
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