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December 06, 2007



Of course the pitifully small ratio of urban/rural land area might create a bit of a headache.

Should we put our Americorp workers or graduate/undergrad students to the task of spraypainting white vast expanses of grassland. The resultant loss of photosynthesis would likely halt the release of millions of tons of CO2 per year which would help to increase the rate of reflection(until decay begins anyway).

Similarly I imagine farmers might be convinced, with large government subsidies of course, to add large amounts of titanium dioxide, calcium carbonate, or other similar compounds to their lands to "lighten" the dark color of plowed fields. The resultant lack of crop growth again would prevent millions of tons of CO2 release, further increasing reflectivity.

There is similarly a correlation between topography and reflection. The more "rough" a surface the more opportunities a bouncing photon has to hit an absorbant surface.

Were the earth as flat as the Gravity Probe B gyroscopes (http://tinyurl.com/2rzlb6
), varying no more than 12 feet from sea level, the reflectivity of the earth would increase significantly. I say we start with the Himalyas and work down to the coasts.

We would see an increase in farmable land, another positive result of this plan.

Perhaps a slick of light oil on the surface of the oceans would help as well. Oil tends to decrease rippling of water and might increase the reflectivity of the ocean slightly. Also, it's iridecent sheen would help in reflecting more light while only killing a large percentage, not all, of the phytoplankton and riparian vegetation which produce so much troubling CO2 anyway. Again an unexpected but welcome positive feedback loop helping to increase reflectivity of the planet.

So, c'mon over to my place. I've got plenty of room for your SUV under my reflective yard shade. Sorry, you'll have to just park on the dirt, the trees and grass won't grow under the darn thing.

I'll buy a barrel of crude (a bargain at $87 today) and we can roast marshmallows over the bubbling vat of flames just to celebrate our wonderful idea. I'll leave all the lights on in the house and yard so we can see through the acrid smoke.

What a great idea! We've just saved the planet from a hot, humid and highly undesirable fate. Best of all, we can sit in the shade while we bask in our own self importance.

Posted to my blog as well (jenshegg.blogspot.com).

Lighten Up , Jens. Start with a white hat and polishing the rocks in your back yard. No need to paint the lawn- just switch from grass ( R ~ .16) to saltwort ( R~ .30).
And please paint the roof white to make up for your photovoltaics ( R~.02)


Thanks for drawing my attention to the missing link- it is now op on Adamant

You have picked the wrong point of departure - the Earth's area is not at issue, because the CO2 forcing to which warming is attributed is measured as a fraction of the average solar flux of 342watts per square meter.

As the total man made greenhouse forcing is about 2.24 watts M2, it equals the solar energy falling on ~ 3 million Km2. Increasing the reflectivity of 6 million Km2 by 50% may therefore approximately offset radiative forcing and climatic change from geerhouse gases .

If you consider the daily rate of change of greenhouse forcing- about 3 microwatts/M2, you can see that keeping pace with current climate forcing rates involves very small areas on a per capita basis.

10:47 PM

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