21 Aug 2012:
Cloud Brightening Scheme
Should Be Tested Over Oceans, Scientists Say
An international group of scientists has urged a small-scale experiment to test the viability of creating human-made clouds
as a way to counter the effects of global warming. Writing in the journal
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society
, the scientists say there should at least be a scientific debate over the possibilities of so-called cloud brightening, a process that involves sending particles, in this case sea water, into the atmosphere to create clouds that would, theoretically, reflect a greater amount of sunlight back into space. While ethical and political questions remain about such geoengineering schemes, that is no reason to not test the technology, said Rob Wood, a University of Washington physicist and one of the paper’s authors. In the paper, the scientists suggest a small-scale test in which salt water is sprayed from a ship or barge followed by airborne measurements of the physical and chemical characteristics of the resulting clouds. “I would rather that responsible scientists test the idea than groups that might have a vested interested in proving its success,” Wood said.