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Global warming solution

  1. Jun 26, 2009 #1
    hey guys! why don't we just pump the excess water out the earth's atmosphere into space? just build a pipe into space?

    nobel prize here i come...
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 26, 2009 #2

    russ_watters

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    At least four reasons I can think of:

    1. We don't have the means to build a pipe out into space.
    2. It would take a vast amount of energy to condense enough water from the atmosphere to make a difference.
    3. It would take a vast amount of energy to pump that water out into space.
    4. I doubt that making the earth's climate drier would be a positive thing.
     
  4. Jun 26, 2009 #3

    5 and the BIG one the oceans would quickly replace the water vapor
    water vapor is a self limiting part of the atmosphere do to RAIN
    but any reduction would be very very short lived even if it was doable

    unlike CO2 that has a many year life in the air
    water cycles in and out on a daily basis
     
  5. Jun 26, 2009 #4
    One more feasible possibility would be to bioengineer algae to absorb large amounts of CO2 relative to its own weight. This might have other negative consequences, but the only likely way we are going to get ahead of global warming is to remove CO2 (and if we can, CH4) from the atmosphere so that there is a net decline in greenhouse gases to about 1850-1900 levels. There is no reason in principle why this couldn't be done. Reforestation will help, but trees can't do the job alone. If human generated greenhouse gas emissions dropped to zero tomorrow, global temperatures would continue to rise for at least another 100 years according to most models.

    Google carbon sequestration+bioengineering. There's a lot of material on this.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2009
  6. Jun 27, 2009 #5

    Ivan Seeking

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    See also
    https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=211274
     
  7. Jun 27, 2009 #6
    What i was thinking was in regards to the rising sea levels due to the polar ice caps melting - just get rid of the water.
     
  8. Jun 27, 2009 #7

    negitron

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    Rising sea levels are only one symptom of warming. And ultimately, probably not even the worst. Besides, the amount of water we're talking about here is staggering--on the order of 2-3 million cubic kilometers of the stuff. We do not possess anything remotely like the level of technology to move that much mass offplanet. Not even close.
     
  9. Jun 27, 2009 #8

    Ivan Seeking

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    Probably the most realistic, albeit potentially dangerous solution to global warming that I've seen [aside from reducing CO2 emissions and increasing CO2 sequestration], is the idea that we can add something like aluminum oxide powder to jet fuel. In principle, the bright-white powder will remain in the upper atmosphere for an extended period of time and sufficiently reduce the incident radiation striking the surface of the planet, so as to reverse the warming trend. Over time the powder falls back to earth thus making the treatment controllable.

    I consider approaches like this to be radical but potentially justified once we have greater confidence in the climate models; and if they show that we have no choice.
     
  10. Jun 28, 2009 #9
    I have an even simpler solution Ivan.

    Reduce consumption.
     
  11. Jun 28, 2009 #10
    I wish it were that simple. As I said in post 4, most models that are publicly available predict rising global temperatures to continue for about a century under the best of circumstances. If the Kyoto Treaty had been rigorously followed by all nations not exempted (China, India), it was estimated that this would have lowered the average global temperature by about 0.4 dC below projections over 50 years. This, as it turns out, was optimistic. Global warming is occurring about twice as fast as was estimated in 1998. Half the normal northern summer polar icecap melted in 2007.

    There is also the political dimension. China is projected to open about 100 new coal fired electric generating plants in 2009-2010. We should in no way abandon reducing consumption (which also requires zero population growth), and drastically reducing emissions, but it's not enough. We need to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, and it's reasonable to think we can develop the means to do it without serious ecological damage.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2009
  12. Jun 28, 2009 #11

    Ivan Seeking

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    There is one key advantage to using the aluminum oxide approach: If it works as planned, it would work regardless of the cause - it wouldn't matter if the climate change occurring is primarily a natural cyclical phenomenon, say due to solar output variances, or primarily anthropogenic in nature. So from a political point of view, there should be a consensus to use such an approach if deemed safe otherwise.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2009
  13. Jun 29, 2009 #12
    Given the lack of water in certain parts of the world and the problems it brings, getting rid of it (regardless of how) has to be a bad thing. As pointed out before, just getting rid of atmospheric moisture wouldn't do anything, it would just replenish itself. However, no moisture in the atmosphere means no rain, if successful at removing enough to lower atmospheric moisture levels (aka ditching most of the water in the oceans into space), you would create a global africa (think resident evil III film intro).

    Also, even if we could get that water into space, it wouldn't just be a case of getting it out of the atmosphere, we would have to either get it far enough away so it doesn't get pulled back by gravity (and as more and more water is dumped the mass increase would mean further and further out), or we would have to put it somewhere like the moon requiring a storage system of some sort.
     
  14. Jun 29, 2009 #13
    It does nothing however to address the other and more pressing problem with CO2 emissions, ocean acidification.

    And there is already a problem with jet plane emissions in the form of a very thin layer of solvents that are coating the entire surface of the planet.

    What unintended consequences might we encounter as we add aluminum oxide into the chemical mix?
     
  15. Jun 29, 2009 #14

    Ivan Seeking

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    While in general I agree with your concerns, your statement is not entirely correct. Reducing warming will help to reduce the natural release CO2 - part of the runaway greenhouse effect.
     
  16. Jun 29, 2009 #15

    russ_watters

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    That's only simple insofar as it took two words to say it.
     
  17. Jun 29, 2009 #16

    vanesch

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    Indeed, in as much as there is an amplification of the CO2 forcing, this also goes then the other way. In fact, if this is true, it is good news, because it means that in the very long term, we have a leverage that will allow us to decide what climate earth should have.

    I like the "solution" of the OP: in order to get rid of potentially a few degrees extra which would certainly cause inconvenience in certain places, the OP wants us to get rid of the water of earth. Talking about a remedy that's worse than the illness! Ooops.
     
  18. Jun 30, 2009 #17

    Ivan Seeking

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    Only appropriate as a casual reference, this page describes a number of techniques in the field referred to as Solar Radiation Management.
    http://wapedia.mobi/en/Solar_radiation_management [Broken]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  19. Jun 30, 2009 #18
    Since the oceans are still a net absorber of CO2, hence the acidification, I don't believe it will have any meaningful or measurable affect on global CO2 levels.

    But then if the ocean warms enough to destabilize enough methane clathrates then perhaps it could be a drastic measure to stop what many scientists believe was a runaway feedback 150 million years ago.
     
  20. Jun 30, 2009 #19
    And it was quite simple Russ.

    I am a living example of how one can reduce their consumption of energy and goods by simple lifestyle changes.

    Eat a locally grown plant based diet, ride a bicycle, use public transit, buy used instead of new, shop with reusable bags, bring your own cup, and many many more simple things that add up to a dramatic reduction in ones consumption habits.
     
  21. Jun 30, 2009 #20

    baywax

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    Yeah, we're trying to get our city down to zero waste. Landfills are becoming the new civic cancer. We've been trucking garbage off to unsuspecting small towns in pristine wilderness areas. They actually like getting the jobs in the dump... but the stink and the degradation are deplorable. So, recycling programs are heating up to the point where I take the garbage out once a week... unless there something really rank in it!

    We've been consuming local produce. Not much more of a price and much better taste etc.. They need to work on the beer though:yuck:
     
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