The Benefits

Scientists are looking to extreme measures to combat climate change as the issue becomes more prevalent. Geoengineering has always been a hot button topic for liberals and conservatives alike. Some are against the idea because they feel that tampering with nature could have extreme consequences down the line. On the other hand, proponents believe it could save our planet and reverse the effects of dangerous greenhouse gasses. “A new University of Washington study looks at the idea of marine cloud brightening, which a UW group is investigating as a promising strategy to offset global warming. The strategy would spray saltwater into the air to make marine clouds reflect more incoming solar rays.” According to their study spraying saltwater would increase the capacity of that cloud to reflect sunlight. This would offset the amount of energy being absorbed by the earths face thus combating the rising temperature from greenhouse gases.

The Dangers

This Geoengineering remains experimental as most of these studies are only short term and long term effects are unpredictable. It is popular opinion that changing the natural weather patterns of something as simple as clouds can be the source of larger problems overtime. Geoengineering has been targeted as one of the potential causes of the rising number of hurricanes this past hurricane season. The aforementioned cloud seeding is weather modifying technology that has been used by governmental bodies all over the world.

According to scientists in the Desert research institute in Nevada ” The ice crystals of cirrus clouds generally form spontaneously in moist, cold air. But seed particles, if present in the right concentration, could grab all the water vapour to produce a small number of large ice crystals, preventing the formation of lots of unseeded little ones. This would have two consequences. First, the resulting clouds would be more transparent – just as big blobs of water in oil create a more transparent mixture as salad dressing separates out, compared with the milky, opaque emulsion you get when you shake it into lots of tiny droplets. Thinner clouds absorb less radiation from the warm ground, allowing more to escape into space. Second, clouds made from larger ice particles have shorter lives, because the big crystals sink down through the atmosphere under gravity.”  When modifying weather, the room for error is low and that is why the risk factor is so significant.

 

geoengineering cities ?

Image result for energy efficient homes

Planners are now emphasizing Geoengineering from a bottom up perspective. Rather than seeding clouds, the enforcement of codes to reduce the carbon emissions of homes seems more effective in the long run. However this requires advanced modes of technology and a change in behavior via community efforts. Geoengineering has its dark side in weather modification but can also be extremely beneficial when viewed from a planners perspective. For example if civil engineers devised a plan to advocate for the consumption of fewer resources in every city while remaining just as efficient. This would greatly reduce our carbon footprint as a society. The promotion of public transportation and building of sidewalks reducing the number of cars on the road today. We are looking for short term solutions to long term problems with cloud modification. Every community must play an essential part in reducing energy consumption and carbon generation for results to be seen.

 

References:

1.) http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20130304-the-trouble-with-cloud-seeding

2.) https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/07/170725154206.htm

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