Tag Archives: climate science

Experiment Would Test Cloud Geoengineering as Way to Slow Warming

Even though it sounds like science fiction, researchers are taking a second look at a controversial idea that uses futuristic ships to shoot salt water high into the sky over the oceans, creating clouds that reflect sunlight and thus counter global warming.

University of Washington atmospheric physicist Rob Wood describes a possible way to run an experiment to test the concept on a small scale in a comprehensive paper published this month in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society.

The point of the paper — which includes updates on the latest study into what kind of ship would be best to spray the salt water into the sky, how large the water droplets should be and the potential climatological impacts — is to encourage more scientists to consider the idea of marine cloud brightening and even poke holes in it. In the paper, he and a colleague detail an experiment to test the concept. (more…)

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West Antarctic Ice Sheet ‘Could Be More Stable than Thought’

Whether global warming may cause the giant West Antarctic Ice Sheet to melt and raise sea-levels by several metres is one of the most contested debates in climate science. 

A new study involving a scientist at the University of Exeter has reported valuable new evidence on the issue which suggests the ice sheet may be more stable than thought.  (more…)

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Taking Measure of the Greenhouse Effect

WASHINGTON — Scientists have long known that heat-absorbing components of Earth’s atmosphere, such as clouds and certain gases, prevent our planet from being an ice-covered ball. Now a study, for the first time, comprehensively calculates the relative contributions of the components responsible for that heating, known as the greenhouse effect.

Besides clarifying an important aspect of climate science, the study also demonstrates that rising concentrations of one heat-trapping gas — carbon dioxide — leads to much more greenhouse warming than just the heat the gas absorbs directly itself.

Various studies have looked at the contributions of water vapor, CO2, and other greenhouse gases. But none had systematically estimated the contributions of each of the main players, says climate scientist Gavin Schmidt of NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and lead author of the new research. (more…)

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Cloud-Based Computing System Helps Scientists Study the Breathing of the Biosphere

*Researchers at University of California, Berkeley, work with Microsoft Research to analyze vast amounts of data without supercomputers.*

BERKELEY, Calif. — Studying the environment would be simple if it weren’t for one thing: Even an isolated ecosystem is unbelievably complicated. Factors to study include water systems, plant life cycles, carbon dioxide fluctuations, resource use by humans, and far more — and each can be studied at the scale of a plant or of the planet, and measured in an instant or over decades. (more…)

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