Sometimes called the lost decade, the first years of the 21st century also inspired creative solutions to global warming. "Out of this world" might best describe spraying fine particles into orbit to shade our planet. I call this general concept Aerospace Reflective Mitigation. Regardless of your particular views on climate change, please consider these "down to earth" reasons for developing ARM with urgency and care, while pursuing robust CO2 reduction andremoval efforts.
A fading yet lingering notion is that we are not witnessing man-made effects, but rather natural forces at work. But if this is no different than ancient temperature swings on our planet, how can we deny that another natural catastrophe looms just ahead? Let's first reflect on a few examples of well documented natural events.
Global cooling has been attributed to global shading (AKA dimming), such as caused by volcanoes and asteroids spewing mountains of shading aerosol particulates into the atmosphere. Conversely, Greenland ice core samples from over ten thousand years ago indicate that Earth's temperature rose 22°F in just fifty years! These things can just happen without our meddling.
Whether we're warmed by monster solar storms, a supernova, or some other natural event, shouldn't we prepare a cautious yet serious ARM response to such infrequent killers? Even if you currently disagree with the premise of man-made climate change, please feel welcome into a family with differing views, but a common bond of ARM research. When it's needed, we don't want a rush job that creates more unintended consequences.
Many believe that excess CO2 and methane gases act as additional layers of clear insulation, much like a swimming pool cover that retains heat. This changes our weather and ocean patterns, which in turn kill the vegetation and aquatic life that consume CO2 naturally. This gaseous pool cover stubbornly remains aloft for decades, eventually warming the planet enough to release super-insulating methane gases from Arctic Ocean floors. This super-sized pool cover then becomes our death shroud.
We must appreciate the potential side effect of removing toxic particulate pollution from our car exhausts and smoke stacks to reduce those health hazards. This also reduces global shading and as more light shines through, instant warming occurs. Have decades of better emission standards already accelerated this adverse effect? Are we now worsening our situation by contributing more of the insulating gases, at a higher ratio, into otherwise clearing skies?
Altitude matters. Black carbon (soot) from jet airplane exhaust can shade and cool us below, until it makes its way back down to low altitude, where it joins outputs from other polluters (fossil fuel electric plants, factories, coal and forest fires, etc.). Some estimate that over 15% of all global warming is from this lower soot and about as much is from methane. Nearly half may be attributed to excess CO2.
Now consider the days immediately following 9/11. Landfills didn't leak methane at a higher rate and coal fueled power plants didn't emit more soot or CO2 than usual. If anything, the slight reduction of commerce and traffic should have provided a window for cooling, and yet the opposite occurred. When most American jet traffic abruptly halted, the skies instantly cleared and the temperature rose 2°F! In addition to emitting exhaust particultes, jets also create vortices.Altitude matters.
The unintended consequence of cleaner energy may be overwhelming our marginal efforts to consume excess CO2. While healthier oceans and greener landscapes are a necessity, they may not be enough, soon enough, to offset this oversight. As solar, wind, and other new technologies replace airborne particulate polluters, we must mitigate the added heat retention from a clearer atmosphere still laden with extra CO2. And those of us who reject the concept of man-made global warming should prepare for inevitable natural changes, anyway.
We must therefore elevate ARM research from a fantastical status to an applied science. How about a geosynchronous test strip, sprayed far above a U.S. bombing range, to measure efficacy, duration, drift, dissipation, and residual pollution risks? And doesn't the pool cover known as greenhouse gas sound deceptively healthy? In that too high a concentration of any gas is lethal, why not call it what it is? Death gas.
1) ARM should be carefully developed for an instant response to catastrophic cosmic events which will occur again.
2) ARM is needed to offset global warming as currently projected.
3) ARM may also be needed to offset CRB (Carbon Reduction Backlash), an accelerated reduction of shading particulate pollution while clear, insulating death gases hang over us for decades.
Suggested Research Projects
1) Which CO2 removal methods (CDR) show enough promise for immediate implementation? How do we reverse deforestation and ocean pollution? Is natural mineral conversion (i.e. limestone) a viable option?
2) Do floating plastic debris and soot increase ocean surface temperatures, evaporation, and weather energization? Do fine soot particles in snow accelerate ice melt?
3) What percentage of soot from smoke stacks or fires is carried high aloft to produce some temporary cooling effect like jet exhaust?
4) What ratio of high altitude soot to low soot creates no significant net temperature change at the surface (i.e. 1 part high : Xparts low)? What altitude range seems to be the transition point for soot cooling vs. warming?
5) Why is soot such a bad pollutant? Which reflective particles are among the best candidates for ARM research, creating no toxic pollution effects, adverse weather changes, satellite interference, or collision risks?
6) How has the increase of natural gas extraction also increased the release of warming methane gas?
7) Can spraying soda lime or other particulates into the atmosphere provide both temporary reflecting/shading AND CO2 binding, eventually returning to earth as a limestone type of dust? Will commercial airlines be mandated to dispense ultra fine shading particulates on all routes over 27,000 feet?