New York(July 26, 2017): Scientists at the University of Washington are considering the prospects of a controversial climate change solution called “marine cloud brightening.”
Most agree the best solution to climate change is the curbing of carbon emissions by reducing the burning of fossil fuels, as well as increasing the adoption of renewable energy sources.
But if efforts to curb emissions fall short or prove insufficient, emergency solutions may be necessary to avoid the most catastrophic consequences of global warming. Enter marine cloud brightening, a climate engineering solution.
Clouds form when water droplets condense on particles in the air and coalesce in the atmosphere. Higher concentrations of particulates allow smaller water droplets to form clouds, yielding bigger, whiter clouds that reflect sunlight instead of absorbing heat.
Researchers at the University of Washington have proposed spraying particulates over the ocean to encourage the formation of solar energy-reflecting marine clouds.
Some climate scientists believe marine cloud brightening is already happening as a result of an increase in air pollution since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution.
The phenomenon may be offsetting a small percentage of the greenhouse gas effect, but measuring how much has proven difficult.