Posts Tagged ‘Geoengineering’

Geoengineering: Unsafe & Ineffective Folly

January 6, 2016

The climate crisis is accelerating (as anticipated): weird fluctuations of temperatures all over. It was colder than at the North Pole in many areas, 6,000 kilometers to the south. Some scientists contribute to the crisis by claiming that the Earth could be fixed by “geoengineering”. The idea is to make the atmosphere reflective above its lowest, and warmest layers. The prospect of salvational geoengineering  gives a dangerous sense of hope, and enable cowards to change the conversation. The one and only conversation ought to be: how to reduce Greenhouse gases emissions before self-feeding natural processes take over, and the warming becomes not just non-linear, but self-amplifying.

Above freezing, at the North Pole, in the last few days of 2015: enormous warm masses of air or water moving powerfully is how ice gets destroyed.

Above freezing, at the North Pole, in the last few days of 2015: enormous warm masses of air or water moving powerfully is how ice gets destroyed.

Gregory Benford, astrophysicist and sci fi author is one of the advocates of the man-made volcano idea. See Climate controls, Reason Magazine, November 1997. In brief, one would spray a lot of micron-sized dust into the atmosphere above the Arctic Sea during the summer. Benford suggested diatomaceous earth as an option, because it’s chemically inert: just silica.

Then, thinking again, Benford suggested poisonous gases: SO2 and H2S. What could go wrong? Apprentice sorcerers would sprinkle those poisons to diminish sunlight in summer (they say). Simulations by the naive, for the naive, show it may mitigate sea ice retreat.

In reality, Polar hurricanes can shatter huge amounts of ice, while stuffing the Arctic for weeks with warm air, resulting in record sea ice loss. The spectacular shrinkage of the sea ice in August 2012 was caused by an extremely violent warm, hurricane like storm which physically broke thick ice with enormous waves.

There is evidence that ice melting is not just due to a warm sunshine, but to the secondary paroxysms of massive dynamic and potential (pressure) events. Sprinkling a hurricane with SO2 won’t do a thing, one may as well throw sugar at a tempest to pacify it.

When the Larsen B iceshelf in the Antarctica peninsula collapsed, something similar happened: four days of force one hurricane winds and a record high temperature of nearly 15 degrees centigrade (60 F).

Benford was quoted approvingly even recently on his general train of ideas: “Many fear if we lose the sea ice in summer ocean currents may alter; nobody really knows”. May alter? Well, that’s obsolete: currents are changing and they are warmer.

The naive idea that we have possible, feasible, potential geoengineering means to fight the melting of the polar ice. Delusion, illusion, obfuscation, prevarication, not to say fornication (with big oil).

Trying to put up a veil over polar areas (through various debris or SO2 suspended) will not work. But don’t volcanoes work? The enormous eruptions of Pinatubo, and the one, much worse of Indonesia’s Tambora in 1815, cooled the atmosphere dramatically (Tambora’s atmospheric veil caused freezing the following summer in Europe, and partial failure of crops).

The main problem is that the melting of the Arctic and even worse, the melting of the Antarctic, is going to happen from BELOW. Sneaky. It is oceanic water, densest at four degrees centigrades (nearly 40 degrees F) which is seeping below, and causing the melting.

An article just published in Science (December 2015) explains that one particular, giant glacier has retreated by tens of kilometers, after being exposed to oceanic currents which are just ONE degree centigrade higher than the old normal, along the north-east tip of Greenland. Those currents are the return currents from the Gulf Stream extension which hit Spitzberg.

To quote from the abstract: “After 8 years of decay of its ice shelf, Zachariæ Isstrøm, a major glacier of northeast Greenland that holds a 0.5-meter sea-level rise equivalent, entered a phase of accelerated retreat in fall 2012. The acceleration rate of its ice velocity tripled, melting of its residual ice shelf and thinning of its grounded portion doubled, and calving is now occurring at its grounding line. Warmer air and ocean temperatures have caused the glacier to detach from a stabilizing sill and retreat rapidly along a downward-sloping, marine-based bed. Its equal-ice-volume neighbor, Nioghalvfjerdsfjorden, is also melting rapidly but retreating slowly along an upward-sloping bed. The destabilization of this marine-based sector will increase sea-level rise from the Greenland Ice Sheet for decades to come.”

So the real problem is not to throw a veil above the Arctic, when the sun shines. The real problem is how to cool the Gulf Stream, (a portion of) the world’s master current. (Note to would-be geoengineers: putting a big refrigerator between Florida and the Bahamas, will not work, for a number of reasons.)

Measurements and a back of the envelope computation shows that the anomalous heat content so far stored in the upper 750 meters of the world ocean is about twenty times that stored in the atmosphere… And the ocean is playing catch up (the temperature of this layer is up only half that of the atmosphere; deeper parts are also warming up).

We are coming close to a tipping point on three giant basins in Antarctica (the WAIS, Aurora, and Wilke basins): oceanic water is boring through the sills there. After the sill, the basin slope down (under the weight of the ice), deeper than the Grand Canyon. The melting of each of these basins will rise sea level by seven meters.

Conclusion: only the outlawing, ASAP, of the burning of fossil fuels will mitigate the catastrophe. Anything else, like Elementary School engineering suggestions, is a distraction from the task at hand: decarbonification.

Engineering can work: modern nuclear energy, ever improving solar photovoltaic energy, and various storages, from dams, to molten salt tanks, to, of course hydrogen.

A hydrogen electric car equipped with existing fuel cells, an 40 kilograms of compressed hydrogen, safely stored in tanks resisting to 700 Bars, thus, to any collision), could cross the entire USA, without refueling.

This is exactly why the Obama administration yanked the research and deployment of those cars: otherwise pure electric vehicles and their abysmal small little range, would not have had a chance… Politics is a much twisted thing, but its Arianne thread is money… Such as the big money subtle corruption brings.

Solar PhotoVoltaics could split water, and make hydrogen to store energy, of course.

Patrice Ayme’

Truth, Celebritism, Fusion Geoengineering 23/10/12

October 23, 2012



The First Thing About Truth; Digital Truth Is Relative, Quantum Truth, Absolute:

There are theories of truth all over. But the first thing about truth, ought to be, that it is described in a discourse. Yet all and any digital discourse and digital context is incomplete, thus a lie. Why incomplete? Because it’s a finite set of symbols.

Berbers Are Not Arabs, Their Civilization Is Much Older

Can we describe an ocean with five rocks? Of course not.

Can there be truth described by something more general than a digital discourse? The truth of love? The truth of a picture? Yes. Do they boil down to just one principle?

You see, ultimately, the Quantum computes all over, according to the picture. The picture of what is available (to matter wave penetration). That’s precisely why we can’t describe the Quantum right now, well enough. We communicate our thoughts digitally, finitely. Way out? First forget about a monolithic discourse, and about coherence. Quantum says coherence is partial, and when expressed, localized, it decoheres.


Celebrity Leadership: Omnipresent, Vulgar.

We are in a world led by… celebrities. The politicians are celebrities, the Nobels are celebrities, the writers, the musicians…

CEOs in the USA are much taller than in Europe (even when comparing to countries where the average size of the Europeans is actually greater). This means the appearance of greatness (as measured in inches) is a more dominant criterion in the USA. That fact extends to most American politicians.

An important part of the leadership of the USA is determined by what beautiful trophies they make, just like prized fish. They are all lined up like dead fish on a plutocrat’s deck.

So how does a celebrity think? A celebrity is crowd founded. A celebrity will tend to think according to what will make him or her thrive, as a celebrity. That means according with what is looking favorably upon by the masses. In other words, “the common people, multitude, crowd, throng”. In Latin: the vulgus.

That means that celebrity thinking is intrinsically vulgar.


Celebritism Is A Form Of Fascism:

And it shows! Ultimately, celebretism appeals to the fascist instinct. The crowd follows the leader, and surrenders its mind to the mind of the leader. In a prehistoric troop, that means 50 people thinking according to the one.

In other words, 1/50 of normal human intelligence is in charge: war can be engaged.

Nowadays, that can mean 1,300,000,000 people thinking according to the one.

In other words, 1/1,300,000,000 normal human intelligence is in charge: the most grotesque war can be engaged (see Hitler and his Germans who engaged a war, just because they were sure to lose it!)

This adoration of celebrities is enforced by metaprinciples pervading culture and society. For example the Brits are vassals of some plutocrats they venerate, the so called “Royals”. In particular, they do not have allodial  control of real estate property (they don’t know what it means, so they feel OK). In particular, when obvious abuse occur, such as Tony Blair making 50 million in a year (an obvious payback by plutocrats), they just shrug. Or Tony Blair doing exactly what godfather Murdoch told him to do about Iraq (they had complicated personal relationship) is also resolved by shrugging.

It shows up in a personal way. A famous celebrity at the BBC was abusing children (at least 20 and counting). But he met heads of states, the Pope, was knighted, revered… A 14 year girl meets him, in BBC set-up. Within seconds he sexually abuses her. Now a mature adult, she  said she could not do a thing, because he was a celebrity, and she was nothing.

Celebrities such as Carter, Clinton, Summers, Buffet, have abused entire nations. And then there are those families or institutions which are famous, when they should be infamous. The Royals, the Bushes, Esso, IBM, Thyssen… They hide in plain sight, naked in their gross obscenity of immense riches acquired with filth galore. But, if one is in the West, one can say this only about Putin (and the KGB, which used to be the NKVD, and is now the FSB, Just as Standard OIl of New Jersey, after being one of many Hitler’s best friends, became Esso,and now Exxon…).

The problem is celebritism itself, a form of intellectual fascism, enable by the fact that thinking by oneself requires lots of energy. And that the passions that allow to resist Crowd Founding are taught, systematically, as those shall be resisted. Starting with anger. And pride. And resisting herding and goose stepping.  

Just as people become celebrities, some ideas become celebrities too.

In many European countries, people will tell you, one ids more free, childless. But it’s a bit like claiming one is more free as a mussel. True in a sense, but…


In Defense Of Procreation:

Some people who have no children say they want to stay free, keep on pleasing themselves with such passions as travelling (more of a European thing: Americans tend to not take vacations before retirement).

And yet, is there a better pleasure than enjoying parenting a good child? Is there a more mind opening travel?

What childless people who have no studied the situation exhaustively do not know is that having a child makes one travels in hormonal dimensions one did not have before. It’s not just about seeing a new landscape, just like a thousand landscape before. It’s not just about landing on a new planet.

It’s about experiencing a new universe, unimagined before.

When life extension becomes a reality, having children will more rare, and thus become much more of a luxury.


No Civilization, But Civilization:

Some have talked about the clash of civilizations. But, in the grander scheme of things, there is only one civilization.

In particular, attempts at cutting the Indo-European area in two pieces are not wrong but ignorant. The distinction between “Orient” and “Occident” was something Rome invented, and Rome used, and Rome rejected. Those who think very independent of the west to use are just aping the Romans, unbeknownst to themselves…

I represented the Tifinagh alphabet in the beginning. It’s basically twice older than Arabic (which was also derived from the Phoenician alphabet). North African genes were analyzed. They were found to be mostly the same as those found in (the rest of)… Europe.

We count in 60 minutes hours, because base 60 was useful for the tremendous astronomical computations in Mesopotamia to determine the seasons, planting, and the floods of the great rivers. that at least a millennium before Rome.

There is an astounding prolongation of systems of thought throughout the ages. actually, for about 10,000 years, civilization has proven to be a continual construction, an initial condition onto itself (in the differential equation sense).

One can argue that aside from the central, Middle World civilization, there were three other centers: China, Black Africa, and the Americas. The only one that was truly independent of the rest was the American civilization, and it was devastated.


Demand What?

Economists love to talk about “demand“, as if it were a well defined concept.

However, what are we supposed to demand? More Korean cars? More Korean TVs? More smart phones made in China? If we talk about demanding more health care, or more education, the process is more complicated. And can we demand less investment and stimulus in financial derivatives, and less hopeless spending in Afghanistan?

In a world where choice is, in an important geophysical and biological sense shrinking, demand has to be made more demanding. 

We have to demand an inhabitable planet, with the creature comforts it used to have, even very recently.


Gloo Gloo And Geoengineering Will Not Work Without Thermonuclear Reactors:

As the planet is shocked into a high CO2 world, strange things are happening. For example Antarctic sea ice has been spreading, which is counter-intuitive (since Arctic ice is shrinking so fast, it’s imaginable there will be none within five summers!)

Antarctica sea ice has spread due to higher winds caused by warming. That (part of) Antarctica is cooling is not true in my opinion. Snowfall is augmenting, as it is in the Himalaya, but that is to be expected from warming.

Antarctica is already melting, and, ultimately, sea level will rise 70 meters, drowning the capitals of finance supreme, a sort of justice.

Because of non linear effects it all could go very fast. And no geoengineering short of thermonuclear reactors (to freeze the CO2), or a nuclear winter (soon to be fetched), will change anything… If one keeps on refusing putting giant taxes on burning fossils…

What I am saying is that other suggested “geo-engineering” will not work.

And think about it: geo-engineering on Mars looks insurmountable, with present technology. So why should it be easier on Earth?

The analogy is smarter than it looks: the total mass of the medium to be changed on Mars is a tenuous atmosphere. The equivalent system on earth is made of the Earth’s atmosphere, plus its oceans. This is roughly 60 earth atmosphere. However the atmosphere of Mars is 25 teratonnes. The atmosphere of Earth is 5,148 teratonnes, 200 times more. So, multiplying this by 60, or, at least fifty (if one restricts to the volume affected by Earth’s greatest sea currents), one sees that influencing the terrestrial atmosphere-thalassosphere requires an effort 10,000 greater on Earth than Mars.  

So there is no way out, but mitigation. That is, conservation.

Why thermonuclear reactors? Because controlled thermonuclear fusion will provide us with giant amounts of energy, very cheaply (once it’s fully mastered, which will take a while, even after the first generations of civilian thermonuclear reactors come on line, as they will use primitive, not super clean fusion. Whatever we do with geoengineering, it will require giant amounts of energy.

For Mars, it will help to crash comets (they are full of solid water) onto the planet. A few comets crashed into the icecaps (my idea) would release much water, and much CO2. More bang for the buck. Those soft (H2O + CO2 ice is elastic) collisions would warm and humidify the planet quickly, through non linear amplification (95% 0f Mars’ air is CO2 so the planet enjoys a strong greenhouse, which is much greater when it’s inclined 40 degrees on the elliptic, as happens sometimes).

Deviating comets in large numbers will require significant energy. That’s an energy that we absolutely do not have now: for the impacts to work best, they will have to come over the icecaps at shallow angle and low speed. that can be done, only after deviating the comets considerably. We are talking nuclear tugs here.

  For Earth, what I am thinking of is that condensating the CO2 out of the air will require giant refrigeration (or massive industrial weathering of special rocks), but, meanwhile, we could separate the heating of atmosphere and oceans from the melting of the icecaps by protecting them. That would allow to separate the heating problem from much of the rising seas problem.  Whatever we do in the way of geoengineering, even covering ice with reflecting substances, all over Greenland and Antarctica, will require huge energy. And that energy will have to be cheap for the thing to be feasible.

And that, my friends, is enough of the truth to see that we need much more advanced technology, if we demand survival for the young ones we happen to know, and the positive values we hold dear…  


Patrice Ayme