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Modifying clouds to fight global warming

Modifying clouds to fight global warming

Modifying clouds to fight global warming
Rhett A. Butler,
August 15, 2005

An article in The Sunday Times reports that a scientist is working a cloud manufacturing technique to counter global warming.

Professor Stephen Salter, professor emeritus of Engineering Design at Edinburgh University, has proposed that “highly reflective clouds could be used to bounce more of the sun’s rays back into space — counteracting rising temperatures caused by a build-up of greenhouse gasses in the Earth’s atmosphere,” according to the article by Paul Lamarra in the August 14, 2005 edition of The Sunday Times.

Salter’s technique, which will be published in Atmospheric Research, would involve “using a fine mist of sea spray to increase the density, and whiteness, of low-lying stratocumulus.” Salter believes that a 4% increase in the reflectivity of 1/3 of such clouds could counteract global warming.

Salter’s plan would use hundreds of unmanned radio-controlled boats positioned off the west coast of Africa and Peru. The article explains,

Manipulation of clouds is not a new idea. Cloud seeding, the attempt to “change the amount or type of precipitation that falls out of clouds … by dispersing substances into the air which allow water droplets or ice crystals to form more easily” (Wikipedia), has been used for several decades by scientists in the United States and Russia in an effort to affect precipitation. Typically, silver iodide or dry ice, is used to increase precipitation in areas experiencing drought and to reduce the amount of fog or precipitation at sensitive times or locations.

You can read the full text of the article at,,2090-1734536,00.html

This news item used information and quotes from The Sunday Times.

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