Climate Advocates Ponder Experiments in the Atmosphere

volcanic eruptionI hold a few views that aren’t popular with the mainstream media. And one of them is that global climate is about 15 years away from entering a cooler period. The current solar cycle 24 is shaping up to be the weakest in a century, and the following cycle is projected to be even weaker than that. So, what concerns me is that, 15 years from now, the earth could enter a period of colder climate. Global agricultural yields would fall, and the poorest inhabitants could face famine and starvation.

Obviously this contradicts the perceived wisdom of a coming, global warming apocalypse. But the prevailing theory of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) simply discounts the notion that variations in solar activity can drive changes in climate. So, I’m doubly the heretic here. Not only do I reject the carbon dioxide disaster hypothesis, but I see things heading the other way.

I’m not alone in this view, however. But despite such concerns, some in the climate community are now starting to ponder a new experiment. They’re asking whether man can potentially re-engineer the atmosphere a bit—to actually cool it down— before a catastrophic warming disaster befalls us.

The Senate appropriations committee recently passed a spending bill for the Department of Energy that includes provisions detailing the research of “albedo modification.” (Albedo is the term used to describe the amount of incoming sunlight that is reflected back into space.) The appropriation would direct funds to study the possibility of seeding the atmosphere with aerosol particles, thus increasing albedo and cooling the planet. Such a “modification” would build on a February 2015 report from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), ‘Climate Intervention: Reflecting Sunlight to Cool Earth,’ that explored the basics of such a concept.

Aerosol dispersal in the atmosphere can undoubtedly have an effect on climate. The 1991 eruption of the Mount Pinatubo volcano dispersed vast quantities of sulfur dioxide, which converted to aerosols and reduced incoming sunlight. This led to subsequent cooling of roughly half a degree celsius in the northern hemisphere for several months.

The idea is workable. But as NAS observed, it shouldn’t be implemented without further study, since the risks and benefits are as yet uncertain.

In my humble opinion, such an experiment would be a bad idea in actual practice.  And here’s why. If we review the past few thousands of years of global climate swings (including the “Roman Warm Period,” the “Dark Ages,” the “Medieval Warm Period,” the “Little Ice Age,” and the “Modern Warm Period”), what we see are very clear swings of global temperature that correspond with long-term ups and downs of solar output.

A great example: 1816 was “The Year Without a Summer.” During a cold period of already low solar activity, (known as the “Dalton Minimum”) a volcanic eruption in the Pacific led to even greater cooling. The result? Snowfall in New England in June, frozen summer ground in upstate New York, and widespread crop failures.

We’ve seen about one degree Celsius of warming since recordkeeping began in the 1880s, with the 1930s still the warmest decade to date. But the pendulum is starting to swing the other way, and we now face the possibility of a colder climate. Russian and Chinese scientists are well ahead of their western counterparts in this area, and are already urging a stockpiling of food to ensure that the world’s most impoverished people can withstand such a downturn.

Seeding the atmosphere to enhance cooling could produce a double whammy of colder temperatures on top of an already cooling trajectory, potentially putting lives at risk. Ironically, the main concern of climate advocates is that man has already impacted the global climate in a negative way. If that’s the case, then further tinkering should be considered equally unacceptable.

Studying such a concept could prove interesting for climate researchers. But putting it into practice poses real risks.

Steven Capozzola has spent the past 15 years working on issues related to manufacturing, global trade, and energy policy.

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Comments (15)

  • Avatar

    David Lewis

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    The idea of albedo modification was proposed over ten years. It was rejected then and would be today for the same reason though the warming alarmists will not admit it. This provides an alternate way to cool the earth other than forcing carbon dioxide emissions reductions. The motivations for these reductions are not to cool the planet, but the hidden political agendas supported by such reduction.

    This article mentions that based on past patterns we are likely to enter a cooling period starting around 2030. I have often expressed concern about a new mini-ice age on this site and instead of spending 1.5 trillion a year to fight warming; we should be spending at least some of that money to prepare to feed our population in a colder world.

    The article mentions Russian and Chinese scientists are already urging a stockpiling of food. This is inadequate considering that the last mini-ice age lasted 70 years. We need to develop the ability to grow enough food in a colder world.

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    GR82DRV

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    Although the credo “First, do no harm.” is [u]not[/u] in the Hippocratic Oath, as commonly misunderstood, its importance is widely recognized in the medical community.

    Operating with far less rigor and evidence than the medical standard, the climate science community would be wise to heed the warning, “do no harm”.

    We don’t put politicians in charge of choosing our medical treatments (intentionally) so why would we allow them to meddle with our climate?

  • Avatar

    GR82DRV

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    Although the credo “First, do no harm.” is [u]not[/u] in the Hippocratic Oath, as commonly misunderstood, its importance is widely recognized in the medical community.

    Operating with far less rigor and evidence than the medical standard, the climate science community would be wise to heed the warning, “do no harm”.

    We don’t put politicians in charge of choosing our medical treatments (intentionally) so why would we allow them to meddle with our climate?

  • Avatar

    pmc47025

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    Assuming global temperature models are reasonably accurate, why can’t the Department of Energy simply simulate pouring all sorts of aerosols into the atmosphere and look at the modeled results? Then when the bogus CAGW negative effects ( https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2015/07/01/global-warming-may-cause-sex-changes-in-lizards/ ) outweigh the real positive effects ( http://phys.org/news/2016-04-co2-fertilization-greening-earth.html ) we will have a quick solution.

  • Avatar

    pmc47025

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    Assuming global temperature models are reasonably accurate, why can’t the Department of Energy simply simulate pouring all sorts of aerosols into the atmosphere and look at the modeled results? Then when the bogus CAGW negative effects ( https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2015/07/01/global-warming-may-cause-sex-changes-in-lizards/ ) outweigh the real positive effects ( http://phys.org/news/2016-04-co2-fertilization-greening-earth.html ) we will have a quick solution.

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    Judy Cross

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    Where have you all been? I first noticed the stripes in the sky in March of 2001. Call it what you will, chemtrails, ariel obscuration, geoengineering, it has been going on for a very long time.
    See WHAT IN THE WORLD ARE THEY SPRAYING

    WHY IN THE WORLD ARE THEY SPRAYING.

  • Avatar

    Judy Cross

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    Where have you all been? I first noticed the stripes in the sky in March of 2001. Call it what you will, chemtrails, ariel obscuration, geoengineering, it has been going on for a very long time.
    See WHAT IN THE WORLD ARE THEY SPRAYING

    WHY IN THE WORLD ARE THEY SPRAYING.

  • Avatar

    GR82DRV

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    [quote name=”Judy Cross”]Where have you all been? I first noticed the stripes in the sky in March of 2001. Call it what you will, chemtrails, ariel obscuration, geoengineering, it has been going on for a very long time.
    See WHAT IN THE WORLD ARE THEY SPRAYING

    WHY IN THE WORLD ARE THEY SPRAYING.

    Without commenting on the whatever the facts may be on geoengineering, I [b]can[/b] answer the question of whether our government feels entitled to this kind of intervention without consulting the people, the answer is emphatically, [b]YES[/b].

    The hubris of our political masters is unlimited.

  • Avatar

    GR82DRV

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    [quote name=”Judy Cross”]Where have you all been? I first noticed the stripes in the sky in March of 2001. Call it what you will, chemtrails, ariel obscuration, geoengineering, it has been going on for a very long time.
    See WHAT IN THE WORLD ARE THEY SPRAYING

    WHY IN THE WORLD ARE THEY SPRAYING.

    Without commenting on the whatever the facts may be on geoengineering, I [b]can[/b] answer the question of whether our government feels entitled to this kind of intervention without consulting the people, the answer is emphatically, [b]YES[/b].

    The hubris of our political masters is unlimited.

  • Avatar

    amirlach

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    [quote]The idea of albedo modification was proposed over ten years.[/quote]
    During the 70’s Global Cooling Scam, “scientists were talking about spreading black soot on the high arctic to stave off the”global cooling” the overwhelming consensus of cLIEmate UNscientists were blaming on Western Industrial society.

  • Avatar

    amirlach

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    [quote]The idea of albedo modification was proposed over ten years.[/quote]
    During the 70’s Global Cooling Scam, “scientists were talking about spreading black soot on the high arctic to stave off the”global cooling” the overwhelming consensus of cLIEmate UNscientists were blaming on Western Industrial society.

  • Avatar

    David Lewis

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    GR82DRV is right that we can’t trust our government concerning taking action without our knowledge or consent. However, a little logic can tell us that they are not involved in geoengineering to cool the planet. Remember that the current administration is motivated by hidden agendas. Forcing a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions serves those agendas. In an attempt to justify their actions NOAA and NASA have been ruthlessly altering historical temperature data. They certainly are not going to do anything to cool the earth and weaken their case for reduction CO2 emissions.

    In 1958 I noticed stripes in the sky that from aircraft would last all day. Not dissipating quickly is supposed to be a sign of a chemtrail vs a contrails (made up of water vapor from aircraft engines).

    If there are chemtrails, they have been around a very long time. That is a subject for another web site.

  • Avatar

    GESchroder

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    [i]”15 years from now, the earth could enter a period of colder climate. Global agricultural yields would fall, and the poorest inhabitants could face famine and starvation”[/i] Wait a minute! Global warmers have been preaching for 20+ years that global warming will cause global agricultural yields to fall and the poorest will face famine and starvation. The opposite should have the opposite effect.

  • Avatar

    David Lewis

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    [quote name=”GESchroder”][i]”15 years from now, the earth could enter a period of colder climate. Global agricultural yields would fall, and the poorest inhabitants could face famine and starvation”[/i] Wait a minute! Global warmers have been preaching for 20+ years that global warming will cause global agricultural yields to fall and the poorest will face famine and starvation. The opposite should have the opposite effect.[/quote]

    This is a good question that deserves an answer. The alarmist articles that I have read seem to predict food shortages based on an increase in extreme heat and droughts. These haven’t been increasing but that doesn’t stop the alarmists from claiming that they are already happening and predicting that they will.

    A decline in food production in colder weather is based on history in that during the mini-ice age this was exactly what happened. The opposite is true with historical warming where food was abundant during the Roman and medieval warming periods.

    This is consistent with theory. All life, including plants, are nothing more than a collection of chemical reactions. Chemical reactions normally occur faster at warmer temperatures. Therefore it makes sense that crops would grow faster in warmer weather, and slower in colder weather.

  • Avatar

    GR82DRV

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    [quote name=”David Lewis”]
    This is consistent with theory. All life, including plants, are nothing more than a collection of chemical reactions. Chemical reactions normally occur faster at warmer temperatures. Therefore it makes sense that crops would grow faster in warmer weather, and slower in colder weather.[/quote]
    Good points. Another major assumption peddled by alarmists is that any changes to weather patterns or climate are irreversible and cataclysmic. Evidence would suggest that like most all macro-systems, the earth’s climate is actually quite resilient, with built-in mechanisms for self correction.

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