Episode 374 Saving the Corals

Can clouds save the Great Barrier Reef? Daniel Harrison may find out. He is a scientist ad Southern Cross University in Australia and he leads a project that will spray nano-particles of sea water into the air, where he hopes they will rise into the stratocumulus clouds and evaporate. The remainder, a tiny bit of salt, will attract other water vapor to form tiny droplets that, because they are so small, will be whiter than the other droplets in the cloud. This extra little bit of brightness will make the cloud reflect somewhat more of the sun’s rays back into space, thereby cooling the water below – and the corals that live there. Since a large part of the huge reef has already bleached from previous heat waves, the point is to prevent the whole heat from destroying that whole ecosystem. Right now, Harrison’s team is focused on developing a nozzle that can produce such a fine mist of seawater, for the size of the droplets is crucial.


• Daniel Harrison




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