Scientists now believe that restriction of CO2 production will no longer happen in time for the earth to avoid reaching the tipping point when we can no longer stop the release of CO2 and methane from the thawing permafrost and other sources. 2018 had the greatest release of CO2 gas into the atmosphere of any year ever.
The tipping point has been forecast for 2030 when CO2 production will no longer be controllable.
This leave us with only geoengineering available to halt the total greenhouse gases that are increasing and thus threatening a worsening global warming.
There are many geoengineering projects conceived. One way to reduce greenhouse gases is to lower the earth’s temperature and water vapor content is lowered when the temperature is lowered, it precipitates out. Water vapor content depends on atmospheric temperatures and are not normally thought of as controllable.
Geoengineering of massive salt water lakes in arid areas can offset global warming, buy time for CO2 reduction, and for other more complex geoengineering projects to become effective. This may be the lowest risk, most politically acceptable, and least expensive geoengineering project available now to effectively offset global warming.
In order to buy time for the CO2 projects to become common practice in a more environmentally cognizant world we suggest reducing temperatures through the use of huge evaporative lakes in hot-dry parts of the world. Calculations done show the range of results possible. This wide range points to the urgent research needed to use the rare current occurrence of natural flooding of Lake Eyre in South Australia, to better determine key design parameters, without the huge expense of artificial flooding the lake with sea water.
We can achieve significant net negative heat flux if we are able to achieve cooling through first evaporation of large masses of water then the radiation of the latent heat of condensation of much of that mass into the clear night sky. This can be done in select hot-dry sites from newly created inland lakes fed by sea water (or fresh water) and where a portion of that water will precipitate as dew, fog, or soil absorption in the nearby desert.
We are recommending urgent manipulation of the heat footprint rather than the carbon footprint. That is what most geoengineering projects do.
Other Geoengineering Projects
Geoengineering projects in general should have appeal to even fossil fuel producers as they are an alternative to the short term reduction in CO2 production which looks impossible.
This geoengineering project and many others are concerned with the heat footprint and its reduction. Lowering the temperature will lower the capacity of the air to hold water vapor which is an even bigger greenhouse gas than CO2. .“It’s true that water vapor is the largest contributor to the Earth’s greenhouse effect. On average, it probably accounts for about 60% of the warming effect. However, water vapor does not control the Earth’s temperature, but is instead controlled by the temperature.” American Chemical Society
Hausfather (2008) rates water vapor as contributing 66 to 85% of global warming and CO2 as contributing 9 to 26%. The average ratio is 76/17 or 4.5 times the effect of CO2 for water vapor.
If we accept this then it becomes imperative to concern ourselves with the heat footprint of our activities as well as our carbon footprint. This directs us towards geoengineering solutions. Quass (2017)
Ming et al ((2014) outline multitudes of geoengineering projects, many of which can yield low cost electric generation and/or also cause heat transfer from the earth to outer space. These include:
Space mirrors, sulfate aerosols, cloud whitening, other albedo boosting projects, solar radiation management, targeting high and cold cirrus clouds, thermal bridging, solar updraft chimneys, super chimneys, artificial tornadoes, polar chimneys and many more.
Hausfather, Z. (2008). The Water Vapor Feedback. Yale Climate Connections. Retrieved from https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2008/02/common-climate-misconceptions-the-water-vapor-feedback-2/.
Quass M. F, Quass, J.,Rickels W. Boucher O.(2017) Are there reasons against open-ended research into solar radiation management? A model of intergenerational decision –making under uncertainty. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 84 (2017) pp 1-17.
Ming T, de Richter R, Liu W, Calliol S (2014) Fighting global warming by climate engineering: Is the Earth radiation management and the solar radiation management any option for fighting climate change? Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 31(2014) pp 792-834.