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Solar Geoengineering Could Lead To Whiter, Brighter Skies

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the cheaper-than-a-giant-annular-mirror dept.

Earth 165

cylonlover writes "We've heard reports that placing small, reflective particles into the upper atmosphere could actually improve crop yields, but would also significantly reduce the amount of electricity generated by solar power plants and do little to arrest the acidification of the world's oceans. Now another potential side effect has been theorized by Californian researchers, who say that solar geoengineering could lead to brighter, whiter skies, and sunsets with an afterglow (abstract)."

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If you dump al that light on crops, (1)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 2 years ago | (#40179591)

Don't you dump the heat on it too, a la Bender in "Godfellas" which set the crops on fire, not to mention increased global warming because how you have a mirror instead of gasses trapping light in?

Re:If you dump al that light on crops, (2)

RaceProUK (1137575) | more than 2 years ago | (#40179723)

The light's not going on the crops though - it's being sent back out into space. I guess the crop yields improve because the soil is cooler, and retains more moisture and nutrients.

Cool facts about the human body (0)

kdawson (3715) (1344097) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180061)

Cool fact #46: Did you know that snot is called mucus? When snot degrades into "boogers," it is turned into fungus by a process called fermentation. When you sneeze and see green boogers, you are in fact sneezing fungus!

Re:If you dump al that light on crops, (4, Insightful)

rufty_tufty (888596) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180421)

RTFA
Photosynthesis is more effective in diffuse light.

Easy to imagine that with light coming in from many angles the particles in plant cells that have the chlorophyll are illuminated from more sides therefore more efficient.Also leaves that aren't perfectly lined up with the sun get more light than they otherwise would.

Re:If you dump al that light on crops, (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180757)

Photosynthesis is more effective in diffuse light.

Great... "whiter skies." I absolutely HATE a white sky -- you know, when it's cloudy? If they do this there's going to be a hell of a lot more murders and suicides, because folks with clinical depression cheer up a bit when the sky is blue and become more depressed when it's gray ("whiter").

DO NOT WANT! I know far too many mentally disturbed people. I'd hate to see them get worse.

Re:If you dump al that light on crops, (5, Interesting)

Khyber (864651) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180865)

"Photosynthesis is more effective in diffuse light."

No, it's really not. Chlorophyll has a neat mechanism by which light tends to (usually) work in one direction. You can test this for yourself. Obtain a test tube of chlorophyll in a suspended liquid solution. Take an incandescent light. If you put the test tube directly between you and the light at eye level, you will see it as mostly red. Any other direction, you see it as green.

Also, making the skies BRIGHTER (as per TFS and TFA) means increasing photon flux density. The current limit for most plants to withstand light falls between 1500-1800umol. After that, you rapidly begin approaching photosynthetic poisoning (AKA bleaching0 of plant tissues. Many food crops, especially vegetative ones, don't tolerate very high light levels. Most lettuces prefer roughly 300-600 umol, and start doing undesirable things at anything much higher, like bolting and not creating a compact head, or outright turning white.

This is one of the worst ideas I've heard coming from Californian scientists in a long long time. Makes me glad to be working with better-educated European horticultural companies.

Re:If you dump al that light on crops, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40181229)

Sometimes it's fun to feed the trolls - it's a pleasure knowing there's someone out there whose stupider than you.

whose != who is

Night lights. (5, Informative)

sackbut (1922510) | more than 2 years ago | (#40179603)

I am sure for both amateur and professional astronomers that this would result in horrible seeing conditions as well. Please look at http://www.darksky.org/ [darksky.org] . Dark night time skies are hard enough to find due to light pollution even now. Better than global warming I guess!

Re:Night lights. (2, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180063)

I've noticed people have a tendency to turn-on lights when they don't really need them. Like turning on all the lights in the kitchen, and then sitting in the living room watching TV. The lights in the kitchen burn for hours with nobody using them. Why is that?

I turn-off the lights when I'm not in a room..... and even if I'm in a room, I typically just use the glow from the TV and my computer's CRT. That's probably why I have a lightbulb that's nearing 20 years old and still working.

Re:Night lights. (3, Insightful)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180163)

Usually people do this for the indirect lighting though. You probably don't want the light on in the room with the TV, but you don't want the house to be completely dark either.

Re:Night lights. (1)

Jheaden (169061) | more than 2 years ago | (#40181001)

Why Not? Nothing wrong with a dark house, and saves on the electric bill (even if only a little)

Re:Night lights. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40181147)

And in areas where crime is higher, a completely dark house tells thugs: "No one is home, break into me!"

Re:Night lights. (3, Informative)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180291)

I turn-off the lights when I'm not in a room..... and even if I'm in a room, I typically just use the glow from the TV and my computer's CRT.

You must have some phenomenal eyesight there. I don't know about you, but my eyes don't cope very well with extremely high contrasts. If a screen were so bright as to be usable as a light source in a dark room, I would be unable to read the text on it because of the overall ambient darkness to which my eyes would be adapted under the circumstances.

Re:Night lights. (2)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180321)

Yup, I'm a dad and one of my sworn duties is to turn off lights. Tempted to get the light switch sensors like we have at work.

Re:Night lights. (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180403)

IF you have a 60 watt bulb, and you are charged 10 cents a Kw, that's 10 cents very 16 hours. How much do sensors cost?

OTOH, standing a little more on a sensor to simple use less energy, even at a high cost, then you should do it.

Re:Night lights. (2)

digitig (1056110) | more than 2 years ago | (#40181087)

Yup, I'm a dad and one of my sworn duties is to turn off lights. Tempted to get the light switch sensors like we have at work.

Ah yes, it's true that children brighten up the home.

Re:Night lights. (3, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180359)

Because people don't like feeling they live in a cave.

Re:Night lights. (2)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180413)

You feel like you're in a cave if all the lights in the house aren't on?

Weird.

And expensive.

Re:Night lights. (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 2 years ago | (#40181061)

Just how expensive is electricity where you are?

There are 15 rooms in my house (I'm counting the garage and two outside lights as rooms since we really care about lights). If I put a 100W light in each and left them on 24x7 I would use 100W * 24*365.25 = 877kWh.

The highest rate for my electricity (which is the summer one) is $0.187 so that gives a yearly cost of putting 100W bulbs in every socket, leaving them on 24x7, and paying the summer rate all year of $164.

$14 a month isn't "expensive", it's less than the sewer fee, it's a rounding error on the property taxes, etc.

Posting to undo moderation (3, Informative)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 2 years ago | (#40181173)

I'm posting to undo accidental moderation on a different post. Your arithmetic is wrong by a factor of 15. 100W by 15 rooms is 1.5kW, which would result in an annual cost of $2500 or thereabouts.

Re:Night lights. (2)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 2 years ago | (#40181095)

It isn't weird at all if you don't make a point to try and misunderstand what he means. If you are in a lit room, and the next room over is dark, you cannot see that the other room even exists because your pupils constrict to let in only enough light to comfortably see in a lit room. This makes a person feel like they are in a space that is much smaller than they are really in. It is even worse than being in a room that is that small because the dividing line between open space and the boundary of sight is blackness. Not a white wall. This is the same effect that you get when you are in a dimly lit cave. You can see your immediate surroundings, but very quickly your sight falls on darkness. You can't see if the passage extends a thousand feet, or if it is a solid wall only a foot past the darkness.

Re:Night lights. (1)

Ambassador Kosh (18352) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180787)

What I did was install one of those motion detectors in the kitchen and hooked the normal lights to it. It works great. While you are in there the lights come on, stay on and you can do anything you need. You can then take your food out with you and the lights turn off so you never worry about having to go back and turn them off. You can even use LED lights for greater efficiency.

Re:Night lights. (1)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180955)

" The lights in the kitchen burn for hours with nobody using them. Why is that?"

It means electric energy is too cheap.

Re:Night lights. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40180701)

It seems to me that atmosphere is already a problem, and adding to it just makes an existing problem worse.

We should be using many more orbital telescopes at various wavelengths, rather than worrying about peering through the atmosphere at stars like primitive man.

Add a tag to the story (4, Insightful)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#40179613)

Whatcouldpossiblygowrong?

Re:Add a tag to the story (1)

poizan42 (1689384) | more than 2 years ago | (#40179653)

Already did before seeing this comment

Re:Add a tag to the story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40179897)

ditto

Re:Add a tag to the story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40180009)

Most useless story of the day (so far).

Re:Add a tag to the story (0)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180251)

Whatcouldpossiblygowrong?

Seriously, have these guys never seen the matrix or highlander?

alienz, really?!!! (4, Funny)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180649)

Whatcouldpossiblygowrong?

Seriously, have these guys never seen the matrix or highlander?

So we need to avoid any potential sequels ?

Re:alienz, really?!!! (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 2 years ago | (#40181079)

This is truly an insightful comment, if I only had mod points today.

Hose astronomers, sandblast jet planes... (3, Funny)

cirby (2599) | more than 2 years ago | (#40179623)

Thanks, guys.

Re:Hose astronomers, sandblast jet planes... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40180043)

We at the Monsanto corportation don't feel that you're sarcasm is warranted. Honestly, after all the Frankenscience we've unleased to this point to benefit mankind and large scale agricultural producers, we just don't see why you guys are getting so bent out of shape over a little, bitty amount of reflective dust.

The haze is white in the city, violet from afar (5, Insightful)

sandytaru (1158959) | more than 2 years ago | (#40179649)

The effect they describe can be seen in Atlanta on particularly bad days (although it also sometimes has a greenish yellow tinge in the spring when the pollen counts get insanely high.) What really hit me in the gut, though, was seeing the city from atop a mountain a hundred miles away. The Blue Ridge mountains around us were all surrounded by clear blue skies, but Atlanta to the south was shrouded in what looked like a gray-violet miasma. The same smog that turned the skies white inside the city was gray from a distance.

I think we need to be more concerned with pulling crap out of the atmosphere than putting more stuff in it.

Re:The haze is white in the city, violet from afar (4, Funny)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 2 years ago | (#40179789)

You're not suggesting that humans could possibly affect nature or the weather, are you? As all the AGW will tell you, there is absolutely no way we puny humans could possibly do anything to change weather patterns, affect rain or pollute the air.

What you're seeing is a natural event, something that comes and goes over the centuries. It happened in the past and will happen again (sorry for the BSG reference).

Re:The haze is white in the city, violet from afar (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40179837)

You haven't seen a fucking forest fire, have you? The smog in Atlanta is nothing compared to the shit for air when the Okefenoke caught on fire a few years ago.

Re:The haze is white in the city, violet from afar (3, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180053)

Yes, the difference is the forest fire eventually goes out. The smog from Atlanta is being produced 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Re:The haze is white in the city, violet from afar (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40180205)

The smog from Atlanta is being produced 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Let's all be grateful for leap years!

Re:The haze is white in the city, violet from afar (3, Informative)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180065)

You haven't seen a fucking forest fire, have you?

Nope. The people around me cut down all the forests in this area decades ago.

Re:The haze is white in the city, violet from afar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40180751)

You haven't seen a fucking forest fire, have you?

Nope. The people around me cut down all the forests in this area decades ago.

No, it was a completely. Natural. Event. What part of that is so hard to understand? We tiny little people can't possibly change the environment. Natural. Completely. Get it right already.

Re:The haze is white in the city, violet from afar (-1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180851)

We tiny little people can't possibly change the environment. Natural. Completely. Get it right already.

The odd part is that Greenies claim that humans can radically change the environment when temperature measurements go up, but deny that humans can change the environment when you point out that the temperature rise measured by surface thermometers has typically been substantially higher in cities like Atlanta than rural areas around them.

I assumed that was what the earlier poster was referring to in his rant about 'the AGW'. They pick and choose based on whatever furthers their radical left goals, one minute humans are changing the environment in massive ways, the next humans are unable to change the environment in localised ways.

Re:The haze is white in the city, violet from afar (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#40179807)

I have seen some amazing skies here in metro Atlanta though. Greenish-orange (was the oddest color I'd ever seen, think it was a spring storm coming in at late afternoon), bright-pink to almost magenta, etc. I also work at the airport right now, and from there it always looks like there is a light-gray haze around the city. Unless it's raining, then it becomes a bluish-dark gray haze.

Re:The haze is white in the city, violet from afar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40179957)

Woody Gap?

Re:The haze is white in the city, violet from afar (4, Interesting)

malhombre (892618) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180105)

I grew up in the hills of southern California in the 60s. That was before much had been done to improve air quality. We had the most beautifully colored sunsets back then. Of course, some fool had to go and ruin it all for me by explaining the fact that all those amazing colors were sinister poisonous gases and not some awesome gift of nature. Then one day I flew into LA and down through a cloud of nasty brownish gray smog that made me want to hold my breath until we landed. So much for the magic of childhood.

STOP!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40179657)

Fucking with the earth. Maybe in 200 years when we could simulate this at the atomic level we should spend resources on these ideas...

Is this where our college tuition is going?

Re:STOP!!! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40179821)

You know, if you read the article, you'd notice that the research in question was being done specifically to discourage the idea. Apparently your college tuition was going where you wanted it to, but you weren't paying attention, so you didn't know.

Re:STOP!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40181033)

I read the article. Didn't need college, didn't want to pay a bunch of money for crap I can just read in a book. Research around the idea is still research. The law of unintended consequences was written a long time ago. "Hey we need a pen that works in space... Russia ... we just use a pencil. "

Sounds like the cons outweigh the pro's. (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#40179687)

I really don't know why this is even being considered.

For reason that should be plainly obvious, it also reminds me of the Matrix... just with the opposite color.

Re:Sounds like the cons outweigh the pro's. (4, Insightful)

RaceProUK (1137575) | more than 2 years ago | (#40179733)

All ideas should be considered, no matter how ridiculous. Not all should be practised though.

Re:Sounds like the cons outweigh the pro's. (3, Interesting)

danlip (737336) | more than 2 years ago | (#40179895)

This idea should be considered idiotic :)

Clearly the correct (and most feasible) approach to us putting too much CO2 into the atmosphere is to put less CO2 into the atmosphere, not embark on some other massive experiment with mother nature whose outcome we can't really predict. Between solar, wind, and nuclear it's not hard to do, it's just not very popular with the big oil interests that control our politics.

Re:Sounds like the cons outweigh the pro's. (5, Insightful)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#40179963)

Between solar, wind, and nuclear it's not hard to do, it's just not very popular with the big oil interests that control our politics.

It's also not popular with the people that protest against oil and oil interests. They won't let us invest in new nuclear reactor technology or build new plants, then complain when all the nuclear plants we have are old and outdated.

Re:Sounds like the cons outweigh the pro's. (4, Insightful)

LoyalOpposition (168041) | more than 2 years ago | (#40179989)

Clearly the correct (and most feasible) approach to us putting too much CO2 into the atmosphere is to put less CO2 into the atmosphere

Yep. That's why I never exercise. Clearly the correct and most feasible approach to putting too much food into my mouth is to put less food into my mouth.

~Loyal

Re:Sounds like the cons outweigh the pro's. (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180453)

if we stopped produce CO2s, right this moment, it would be 100 years before a decline would begin.
So considering ways to offset it's effects are not idiotic.

Yes, we need to reduce, a lot. Yes, having a way to scrub the atmosphere would be great.

Re:Sounds like the cons outweigh the pro's. (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180885)

"Yes, we need to reduce, a lot. Yes, having a way to scrub the atmosphere would be great."

So plant more trees and crops and algae farms.

Re:Sounds like the cons outweigh the pro's. (1)

Asic Eng (193332) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180713)

Yes that would be the correct approach, but at some point it will be too late to use that because we already put too much in. I'm not all that confident that we can get our act together before that. Heck - I'm surprised this hasn't deteriorated in yet another "global warming skeptic" debate by now.

Nothing new here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40179689)

This has been happening for at least the last ten years. They are called chemtrails or persistent contrails.

Re:Nothing new here (3, Informative)

DanTheStone (1212500) | more than 2 years ago | (#40179793)

This has been happening for at least the last ten years. They are called chemtrails or persistent contrails.

No, "chemtrails" are an urban legend that claims our government is drugging us from the sky via chemicals dumped from airliners.

Re:Nothing new here (3, Funny)

DanTheStone (1212500) | more than 2 years ago | (#40179819)

For the meme, obligatory http://xkcd.com/966/ [xkcd.com]

Re:Nothing new here (1)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 2 years ago | (#40179825)

My Morgellons always acts up when there's a chemtrail overhead.

Re:Nothing new here (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180477)

Ha!

I hear the there are more Bigfoot sightings when there are a lot of chemtrails.

pshaw! (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180835)

As any fan of Charlie Sheen's[*] oeuvre is well aware, chemtrails are created by the ancient aliens. They're terraforming (sic) Earth to be more like Zeta Rediculi.
This also explains reality teevee.


[*]oh yeah, that's right, I went there.
The alien disinformation smear campaign is just rutheless [google.com] .

Humans F-up everytime they toy with nature (5, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40179741)

Well almost every time. Like the damming of rivers which kills fish and blocks the natural flow of sediment. Or levees that make rivers flow faster and, when the flood happens, is far worse than a natural un-leveed flood. Or putting-out forest fires such that, when a fire happens now there's massive overgrowth that turns a small blaze into an inferno that makes the ground into glass.

Isn't it about time we learn to LIVE with nature, instead of trying to engineer it and screwing up? Over millions-of-years nature has reached a natural balance with its flow-of-rivers, floods, and the occasional fire (trees developed fire-retardant bark). All we humans manage to do is frak it up.

Re:Humans F-up everytime they toy with nature (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40180099)

Or putting-out forest fires such that, when a fire happens now there's massive overgrowth that turns a small blaze into an inferno that makes the ground into glass.

I'm sure it has happened, is happening, and will continue to happen just as you describe it, but not everyone is that stupid. Some people do understand the need to let a small fire spread now to avoid a much greater fire in the future, to the point that they may even do a controlled burn [wikipedia.org] to better help keep future, uncontrolled burns in check.

Re:Humans F-up everytime they toy with nature (1)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180131)

Maybe nature isn't meant to be in balance. Maybe God likes it this way. It's more interesting to watch.

Did you ever have an ant farm as a kid? Did you shake it? Of course you did. Because balance is boring. Maybe after God got tired of looking at dinosaurs, he flicked a big asteroid this way. Then, he created a special kind of ant that made far more intricate stuff than ever before. Then, when he tires of us, he'll shake things up again.

Re:Humans F-up everytime they toy with nature (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180803)

Maybe nature isn't meant to be in balance. Maybe God likes it this way. It's more interesting to watch.

No. Nature was perfectly balanced before EVIL HUMANS came along; just look at the 'Hockey Stick' temperature graph... long straight line for centuries until EVIL HUMANS started burning coal.

Re:Humans F-up everytime they toy with nature (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40180819)

If a god really existed (hint: none of them do, and the supernatural is entirely fiction), it would have to be a malicious god as you describe to be congruent with the situation on earth.

Re:Humans F-up everytime they toy with nature (2)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180535)

"Isn't it about time we learn to LIVE with nature, instead of trying to engineer it and screwing up?"
no. We control fire, make beams of light, send people to space because we engineer things. Otherwise we would all be living in a cave.

"Over millions-of-years nature has reached a natural balance with its flow-of-rivers, "
incorrect. Natures has not 'balance'. It's just a system. And it changes, and it respond according to the laws of physics.
EVERYTHING changes the environment around it.

You can feel free to check out. Me? I'll keep changing things and move forward.

Re:Humans F-up everytime they toy with nature (2)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180875)

Nature corrects itself. It's called mass extinction or ecologic disaster.
It's a simple control loop: The environment will get worse until the number of humans on the planet is cut way down, one way or another.

Give me back my sky! (3)

nani popoki (594111) | more than 2 years ago | (#40179743)

Oh great. As if amateur (and some professional) astronomers don't have enough light pollution to deal with! This would extent twilight and thus reduce the useful observing time.

Re:Give me back my sky! (3)

internerdj (1319281) | more than 2 years ago | (#40179875)

Take my love, take my land Take me where I cannot stand I don't care, I'm still free You can't take the sky from me Take me out to the black Tell 'em I ain't comin' back Burn the land and boil the sea You can't take the sky from me There's no place I can be Since I found serenity But you can't take the sky from me . Or maybe they can...

Re:Give me back my sky! (1)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180397)

You just made me miss Firefly again...

Bastard.

The Destruction of the Sky (3)

Guppy (12314) | more than 2 years ago | (#40179753)

solar geoengineering could lead to brighter, whiter skies, and sunsets with an afterglow

It would probably also interfere with ground-based astronomy and our view of the night sky, by direct absorption/scattering of starlight, and by worsening Skyglow [wikipedia.org] effects, increasing scattering terrestrial sources of light back at us. Life-long urban residents already have no idea what a proper view of the Firmament looks like (not even knowing the Milky Way is something you can see with your own naked eyes!), never having seen more than the moon and a pathetic handful of dots.

Re:The Destruction of the Sky (2)

Bengie (1121981) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180347)

Astronomers everywhere hate this idea.

Unintended positive connotation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40179803)

The summary makes it sound like "whiter skies" is a good thing, but the article itself makes it clear that the researchers are presenting this as a bad thing. Ie, attempts at solar engineering will make everywhere look like your hazy urban cities.

And the positive crop effect is actually not due to more light, but the reverse. Diffusing light apparently makes photosynthesis more efficient.

It would kill potato yields (2)

MickLinux (579158) | more than 2 years ago | (#40179835)

With too much sun(>10 hours) , potatos yield seed instead of tubers. Specifically, they flower and die. Brightening the sky would also increase the effective day length, destroying the staple crop of much of the world's poor. I think there is a huge arrogance popping its head up again.

Re:It would kill potato yields (1)

ComfortablyAmbiguous (1740854) | more than 2 years ago | (#40179997)

The process doesn't necessarily brighten the sky, it actually reflects some percentage of the incoming light back out into space, but in the process it makes the light much more diffuse, creating the visual conditions described. I'm not sure the additional, diffuse light that would persist after sunset would significantly change the situation for potatoes. Testing would be order, which is the kind of thing that is going on here. It's good to understand what the consequences of such a scheme would be so they can be weighed against the alternatives (continued, significant global warming).

Re:It would kill potato yields (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180127)

>>>destroying the staple crop of much of the world's poor. I think there is a huge arrogance popping its head up again

Given a recent RT News report about the UK government & other NGOs funding sterilization in poor countries like India, I don't think they care about killing potato crops. It's just another long-term method of reducing the world population to a "sustainable" level. (About 1 billion.)

Re:It would kill potato yields (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180135)

it seems the point would be to make less sun hit the ground(thus less solar cell efficiency).

anyways.. about 10 hours. ever heard of the arctic circle? you know, nightless nights? where they grow potatos too? it's just a variety thing(omg pre-industrial bio-engineering).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Almond_potato [wikipedia.org]

Re:It would kill potato yields (1)

Agent0013 (828350) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180225)

With too much sun(>10 hours) , potatos yield seed instead of tubers. Specifically, they flower and die. Brightening the sky would also increase the effective day length, destroying the staple crop of much of the world's poor. I think there is a huge arrogance popping its head up again.

Awesome!!! Just think how much money can be stolen^H^H^H^H^H^Hmade by companies like Monsanto! They can invent a new genetically altered potato that still makes tubers and never makes seeds. And you can only plant another crop by buying seeds from the company each year!!! Yeah!!!

Whiter, brighter skies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40179925)

I can see the tagline now: "Geoengineering with a smile!"

Re:Whiter, brighter skies? (1, Funny)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180229)

I'm concerned with the implication that white = bright, dark = dumb. I thought we'd moved away from such racist views.

Re:Whiter, brighter skies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40181159)

I'm concerned with the implication that white = bright, dark = dumb. I thought we'd moved away from such racist views.

That's because you are an idiot, here let me show you the first definition for the word bright

a. Emitting or reflecting light readily or in large amounts; shining.

Fuck I hate people who think everyone is being racist, when in fact the person is to fucking stupid to realize what was being said had nothing to do with racism at all.

As someone in solar science... (5, Interesting)

sugarmatic (232216) | more than 2 years ago | (#40179945)

...I have to say this is a really stupid idea. It would absolutely prevent ground-based solar observation of the corona, important to astrophysical studies and space weather. To give an idea of how difficult it is already, one must image or analyze brightness levels on the order of a millionth of the brightness of the solar disk to do real science, on time scales of five minutes or less, at very narrow wavelength bandwidths. There simply aren't enough photons to average out the noise with sky brightness levels above around 20 ppm on time scales that are meaningful, and detector noise makes measurements above 30 ppm sky brightness pretty much futile.

There are not very many places on earth with the necessary to make even part-time measurements as it is.

The night time folks will be screwed as well.

The winners will be a few large multinational corporations with the funds to corrupt policy. The losers will be the rest of us.

You are kidding right? (2)

bobbied (2522392) | more than 2 years ago | (#40179973)

So who in their right mind is suggesting that we even need to do such a stupid thing as adding more sulfates to the atmosphere on purpose? To grow more food? Not likely. Reduce solar heating and counteract Global Warming? Seriously?

Pumping sulfates into the atmosphere is basically what causes acid rain and purposely pumping tones of this stuff into the air is not a good idea for the environment. Besides the quickest way to do this would be to return to burning high sulfur coal for power...

This is clearly just another scientist trying to secure or justify funding for investigating some crazy hair brained "Global Warming" snake oil fix. It is like funding the "free energy" science schemes or searching for the fountain of youth.

This is nothing but a huge waste of money and time..

Re:You are kidding right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40180119)

This global warming junk has revealed some many ignorant scientists and greed its pathetic.

Contrails and now this!? (1)

Lashat (1041424) | more than 2 years ago | (#40179987)

your tinfoil is powerless here.

care for our planet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40180049)

should care more our planet and our planet is terible

[url=http://www.taringa.net/posts/economia-negocios/14886307/como-emprender-en-Internet.html#comid-906941]Raul Salomon[/url]

Nocturnal wildlife would also be affected (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40180095)

This would negativly affect all kind of wildlife as well. Not all forms of lifee would be able to handle such a thing in apositive way

Another stupid nonreversible geo-engineering idea (3, Insightful)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180193)

... rife with unintended consequences. If you're going to turn UP the lights, you'd damn well better have a way to turn them back DOWN again. Large repositionable mirrors in space would do this. Throwing crap into the atmosphere because it's cheaper would not.

Re:Another stupid nonreversible geo-engineering id (2)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180563)

Depends on the crap. You could create something with a life expectancy. Or something that's easier to collect and store then CO2

Re:Another stupid nonreversible geo-engineering id (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180643)

Large repositionable mirrors in space would do this.

NASA studied using mirrors in space to illuminate the jungle at night during the Vietnam War; they would have launched a cut-down LEM with a large folding mirror attached which would unfold when it was in orbit.

I thought that was cool. OK, it was also stupid and insanely expensive, but I'm sure plenty of soldiers would have preferred to spend their Vietnam War service sitting in orbit pointing a mirror at the jungle rather than being shot at down in said jungle.

Re:Another stupid nonreversible geo-engineering id (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40180811)

Can't imagine any geo-engineering idea EVER being implemented. We can't get international agreement on basic climate/human cause issues, such as CO2 generation effects. If we can't even agree that everyone should reduce carbon emissions, how could everyone agree that agressive, direct geo-engineering actions (mirrors in space, iron in the ocean, particles in the atmosphere...) would work?

But the good news is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40180227)

Google is working on a pair of sunglasses that will make the skies bluer than ever. Rainbows coming in v2.0!

For whiter skies... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40180407)

Remember to brush and floss your skies twice a day.

Preposterous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40180481)

Everyone knows it's impossible for mere humans to modify God's atmosphere. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, that we could ever do that would make the slightest degree of difference in how the climate operates, ever. Anthropomorphic climate engineering is a myth.

this needs to be illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40180603)

They have been doing this for years now, project cloverleaf anyone? hence the reason monsanto has the only patent against aluminum in their GMO products, (which were recently banned in poland for causing CCD). THis would actually DAMAGE crop yields, as it kills the bee's which are needed to pollinate.

What scientist would use the term "acidification"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40180783)

The term acidification as used in the summary always drives me crazy. In no other field of science would any describe the process of "becoming more neutral" as "acidification." Who uses that term? An alarmist who wants us to imagine that we are turning the oceans into battery acid. We are not. The ph of the ocean has gone from 8.1 (pre industrial) to 7.8 (right now). Yes, we are talking a change in ph of just over .3 units. I wonder what the error bars are on the 8.1 ph calculation... Until the ph of the ocean goes below 7, using the term "acidification" is just alarmist, unscientific nonsense.

And about the ridiculous idea about fucking up the atmosphere for some putative effect on crops... pretty sure there are easier, cheaper, and more reversible ways to gain the same effect.

Why? (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180789)

Crop yields are a non issue. As the earth warms, large tracts of tundra in northern latitudes will become available for agriculture. We might end up having a surplus of arable land.

Now, if you happen to be a farmer in Texas or Oklahoma, you're screwed. But this is a global issue. Some will win, some will lose, but in the final analysis, mankind benefits.

Oxyclean... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40180941)

For whiter, cleaner atmospheres!

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