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May 11, 2007



Alternatively, they could turn off all those acid-mist precipitators that we installed at copper smelters back in the '70s. Start burning high sulfer again (to Wyoming's chagrin).


I mean high sulfer coal.


I mean 'sulfur'.

Charlie H.

I've been wanting to be outside checking on global warming but lately it has been too darn cold.


Thank you for the comment that Engineering is the answer to global warming. The predictive models should also predict/suggest practical solutions or they are not very sound science.



You responded to a blog post I did about this subject. To quote you:

"Natural history is evidently not your sport, but geochemical cycles are a part of it . and you would do well you ought to aquaint yourself at least with the orders of magnitude involved. in terms of time and space and mass, before venturing to dismiss Crutzen’s proposal as folly.Common wisdom is seldom predicated on pure ignorance."

I have no doubt that the solution provided by Dr. Crutzen is a plausible one. And I will be the first to admit I know only a small part of natural history.

But just because our best solution is to "polute" our atmosphere doesn't mean it's the right one. I was simply making commentary of the fact, that it seems that we are correcting problems with another problem. You can correct me on that and I invite you to. I am not trying to call anyone a fool, but short term fixes to a long term problem seem foolish. And maybe it's too late to fix the long term problem and short term fixes is all we have left.

I would love to have you guest post on the subject of global warming, as I cover sustainability on my blog frequently. Though many of my readers are most likely not scientists and so it would need to be in fairly easy to understand terms.


A couple of questions along with a comment.

This line of reasoning presumes that CO2 is the cause of the recent warming. If it is not, or if it is only a small component of the warming, then something else is at work. How would this plan affect or be affected by that 'other' cause or causes? Any meaningful degree of uncertainty would make a lack of reversibility of these actions quite dangerous.

It seems from what you wrote that this action is self-terminating in that the effect is temporary (which is good). How certain is that, specifically with the materials in mind for use?

Lastly, although they are applied higher in the atmosphere, presumably the sulfur aerosols do sink eventually (hence the temporary nature of the effect). Do they then reach the ground as acid rain? If not, what becomes of them?

You may wish to avail yourself of the further readings noted at the end of the article. The visit to your nearest science library will also enable you to locate and review an undergraduate text on the atmospheric sciences - which should take care of the rest of your query as well . Many find the infrared absorption spectrum of CO2 alone so interesting as to compel them to rethink matters.


My concern with geo-engineering away global warming is that, in our exuberance for the doom and gloom hyped by enviromental harbingers like Al Gore, that we might overdo it a bit. What if global warming turns out to be "not so bad," but we turn around and signficantly cool the atmosphere by iron-seeding the ocean for planktom blooms and carefully saran-wrapping our atmosphere in sulfur?

Accidentally too cold might be worse than accidentally too warm.

Charles Weber

Increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide is undoubtedly increasing climate warmth. However I suspect that an even greater affect on warmth is the baring of soil by increase in annual crop acreage, roads, buildings, grazing, and desertification. You may see an article that discusses this in more detail in http://charles_w.tripod.com/climate.html .
Sincerely, Charles Weber

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