Episode 608 Shall We Whiten Clouds?

Hugh Hunt, Daniel Rosenfeld, and Steven Rogak are all engineers who are eagerly studying the potential. use of salt water spray to whiten clouds and reflect sunshine back into space, thereby reducing global warming. Adele Buckley is an engineer who is skeptical about the value of trying to keep the Arctic frozen at this time.


Hugh Hunt

Daniel Rosenfeld

Steven Rogak

Adele Buckley

Transcript of Episode 608 Shall We Whiten Clouds?

Mon, Jun 03, 2024 12:26PM • 1:13:39


cloud, great barrier reef, Indigenous people, spray, marine, water, experiment, work, arctic, Danny, Australia, brightening, bit, technology, ice, aerosols, effect, Rosenfeld, question, consensus


Daniel Rosenfeld, Steven Rogak, Hugh Hunt, Metta Spencer, Adele Buckley

“This transcript has been machine-generated using ‘otter,ai’ and may contain errors. Do not cite it without checking for yourself by watching the video and catching any obvious errors.” 


Metta Spencer”

Hi, I’m metta Spencer. Today is going to be a special day we have some very eminent people who know a lot about clouds and before we’re through with you, you’re going to know more about clouds and you do right now. I promise you because clouds are important and you are undoubtedly concerned about saving the planet from global warming. And that one of the best ways of doing it seems to be to whiten the clouds.

So how will we possibly do that? Well, we spray probably saltwater into the clouds or let it let it go up to the clouds. And if we do the little particles just right. They will be little salt will be up there and it will attract more drops of water and it will end there’ll be small enough to be whiter than the other drops around them. And the whole cloud will be just a little bit wider and will reflect a lot of the incoming sunshine. So we don’t get it quite as much sunshine landing on earth or on the water. So that’s the general tips idea is called marine cloud brightening and I have three very eminent experts on this topic who already know each other and they will be talking very in a very friendly way I think because they undoubtedly have had a lot of conversations about this topic in the past. I’m going to go in the order in which they appeared on my screen.


In the University of Cambridge is Professor Hugh hunt, who’s an expert on what the best thing is, he’s a keeper of the clock at Cambridge University and that is all you need to know about this man that he does. He does mechanical engineering I think is the title.


And in Jerusalem is Professor Danny Daniel Rosenfeld, who is an emeritus professor from the earth sciences department of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. And he no doubt has, he I understand has spent time on a boat near Australia, spraying saltwater into the clouds and that’s going to be I haven’t talked to anybody lately. Who’s been on that boat. So I want to hear more about what it’s like.


And let’s see, where is he? Oh, UBC? Yes. Professor Steve Rojak, who is professor of mechanical engineering. I believe at the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver. And he is an expert on aerosol aerosol or aerosols are any little particles in the air except water as I understand it, and if we spray salt water, and it we will live little particles of the salt in the air and those will be aerosol so that’s why he is interested. Okay, fellas, how shall we start this? Because now I’ve tried to give a very quick summary of what marine cloud brightening is. Let’s see if we can get somebody who’s got some news to share because I haven’t done a talk show for several months about marine cloud brightening, I don’t think and so I’m not up to date. I know that some new things have been going on. So maybe somebody can bring us all up to date about what they experimentation, or even legal changes, any kind of political or legal changes having to do with marine cloud brightening. What’s been going on on the subject. Somebody help me with this.



Hugh Hunt:

Well, he’s up to speed with what’s going on in San Francisco at the moment because there was an experiment on marine cloud brightening that got underway. with great fanfare New York Times, reporting on it various other places reported on and then it got it got it got put on hold. But my understanding is it as a day or two ago, it’s no longer on hold. I’m not up to speed on that. I don’t know whether either Steve or Danny know more about that.



Daniel Rosenfeld.

Yeah, what I know is that they did it on the border of a carrier and they just didn’t aim the cloud yet. They just tested the mechanism of spray and the environmental impacts of that. And finally, the authorities reached a conclusion that they cannot make up the difference between natural sea spray and artificial sea spray. Not a surprise.


Metta Spencer  12:37

So don’t worry, it’s not going to hurt you.




Yeah, indeed. The concern potentially from the local authorities was that many particles would be a potential health hazard and then after doing their own, more careful review, they concluded that yes, this is a little bit like all of the sea spray that’s coming in over San Francisco every day and tons and tons. So that’s as expected.


Metta Spencer  13:06

So you don’t think they’ve done the real experiment yet. Right? And they will be doing it shortly. Is that the idea or has anything already happened?




As I know they are just developing the GIL for PIP now. But the person who had to ask that is Rob Wood from the University of Washington. He is in charge of that.


Hugh Hunt

But it is interesting that the whole purpose of this is the nature producers sea spray and whenever there’s waves and wind and we get droplets of saltwater in the air and that those little droplets dry out in the air and they produce little salt crystals and they move up into the clouds. And they help to nucleate the clouds. The thing that we want to do I guess is if we think of if we think about aclouds, being nucleic nucleated by little crystals of salt. Then the size of those crystals of salt matters. And if we can make smaller salt crystals, it produces the nice smaller salt crystals produce smaller nucleate smaller droplets in the clouds. And because there’s only a certain amount of moisture up here, smaller droplets made more droplets, and more droplets mean perhaps a bigger cloud of smaller droplets. And smaller droplets are more reflective. So there’s all sorts of reasons why making droplets making little droplets, little salt crystals is a good thing. So what they’re doing in San Francisco, on their boat is to is to see if they can figure out a way of making a spray of salt water to produce smaller crystals. Now a real question for us is what is the right size of those salt crystals and I know that Danny’s got a lot of been doing a lot of thinking on the right size. And then a question that we in Cambridge I know that Steve has been working out is a lot how do you go about making salt crystals of the size that you want? And then there’s all sorts of questions about you know, well, if we make them How long do they last? Should we do it in the Arctic or should we do it in the tropics? Should we do it at the morning or should we do it in the evening? There are so many questions that this experiment that during in in San Francisco and also in Australia similar thing. Helping to answer some of these questions.


Metta Spencer  16:22


 for one thing you’ve taught me one thing I didn’t know already, which is the clouds get bigger if they’re wider. I didn’t know that, you know, smaller crystals. The clouds get bigger.




Well, maybe that’s Danny. Or, Steve,




I can I can handle I can think this question. Well, first, when you get natural cloud ops, cloud ops cannot form a spontaneously when the air rises and becomes saturated. They must form is due up on the ground. It collects on pre existing particles. That’s why when you have more particles including the spray particles, you heard the same cloud or consideration, the same cloud cloud. The same amount of cloud water is distributed among small droplets and that’s what they already said. But the point is that when you have when you break one dog too many small dogs, you get more surface area combined. And since the radiation sort of addition is reflected from the surface area, the enlarged, combined surface area makes the club brighter. Now when the cloud DRops are smaller, the cloud is slower to precipitate because the large dogs also falling faster in the make rain faster. And if the cloud doesn’t lose the water to precipitation, it can last longer and they have a larger area. And that is another benefit to reflecting more solar radiation back to space. So we have two effects. One is the brightness effect and one is the area effect.



I guess one benefit which you mentioned is also that they last longer in that they’re there for longer in time.




Yeah but the time and space are exchangeable.






Metta Spencer  18:36

What do you mean? 18:38



If I could pick up a thread that sort of started on a little bit of talking about the barrier experiment? I think there at least, at least three major issues that you have to deal with marine cloud brightening.  One is forming the right sized particles. That’s kind of an engineering problem to design the atomizers in the delivery system. Second is understanding what particles of different sizes would do in the atmosphere and different conditions. And the third one, which really relates to how things played out in the Bay Area with the temporary ban on the experiment is how people perceive these this approach to climate repair, and how to communicate it. You know, and then how to put it into the context of all the other things we should be doing to mitigate climate change. So when I talk to colleagues, for example, many people are really quite opposed to the idea of injecting anything artificially into the atmosphere. And that’s something you have to be concerned about, but it’s, it’s a real barrier to this kind of approach to climate change. Have


Metta Spencer  19:48

ALL of this flap has been going on. I presume that it’s got a lot of publicity in the Bay Area, Alameda which is the East Bay. I used to live in Berkeley for 40 years. So anyway, has this changed public opinion at all? Because I think you’re right, of course, that’s a big problem that so many people ­ the majority maybe we don’t know, no, I believe not the majority, — but a lot of people are really opposed to anything that is you know, mechanical or interfering with natural processes. And if they hear a little bit more about it, they tend to change their minds. So this may have influenced public opinion of it. Do you think? Or do you know anybody there I haven’t talked to anybody in the Bay Area. about it. Didn’t have you already have you?




Well, I have a friend who is a professor of Atmospheric Sciences at Berkeley, and I know that like, like me, it’s been falling in decision for many decades and probably like me, has been firmly of the opinion that we need to reduce emissions and that’s our primary approach to this. I don’t have any solid statistics to back this up, but I feel that there’s \ a kind of demographic or age related correlations here that if you’ve been following this issue for 30  or 40 years, you appreciate that. We haven’t really done enough globally to reduce emissions and it’s getting pretty late. Whereas if you are much younger you may look at some of the science that are coming out of the climate conferences and think that we’re just around the corner from solving the emissions problem. I don’t know if this is true, but it seems to fit the pattern for some of the conversations I’ve had with younger colleagues. So I’m not sure what you or Danny think about that. But I’m




Okay, I think that the best way to describe the situation is that so far we have business as usual, we suspect to using the fossil fuel and the global warming is accelerating frightened Lee at the same time there is the moral hazard. It’s an it was a moral hazard is called. When we are artificially decreasing the global temperature by geoengineering  by sending sea spray, then it will take off the burden from the leaders to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions and that is something that should not happen and there is a consensus presently that we should not do that decrease the global temperature by deploying geoengineering yet, but at the same time, it would be irresponsible not to develop the technology to be able to do so, should everything else will fail. And will come to a real climate emergency like a catastrophic meltdown of polar caps. The major cities get drowned and so on. Then everybody will scramble to that and they will it will be irresponsible. to then be unprepared. And that is a sufficient justification to develop the technology presently.


Metta Spencer  23:49

Sounds good. I should introduce my friend, Adele Buckley, who’s joined us a little late. Adele is a friend from my Pugwashites community, and is an engineer and a physicist in her background. So she will probably have comments to make about this. If I if I may. I’d like to ask – because the obvious reason for, for not doing marine cloud brightening is that it’s dangerous. And we don’t know how dangerous if at all. It is so I understand that there’s a real possibility that creating more clouds will create more rain and it might be in Asia, it might be in the Sahara Desert. I’m not sure where but the the question is, Can anybody give some realistic appraisal about whether or not any modeling has been done that would indicate whether or not there might be cause the use of marine cloud brightening might cause floods or if you have any knowledge of any other danger that we may have been overlooking? We should talk about that. I I don’t think that we have much discussed whether there’s anything realistic to worry about. Oh, Adele has got her hand up. Yes. Adele?


Adele Buckley  25:19

Well, I think modeling is a good topic too. But the thing I want to say I guess Metta knows me as apparently a pessimist. And I’m not really. I do believe that geoengineering will be required. But it seems a very long way until it’s ready. I have never seen == but maybe it exists– data that shows that cloud brightening actually cooled a piece of ocean. Has anybody  produced that and verified it by an independent third party?  I think, you know, that could be important. The other thing is, of course, I hear that we need a right size nozzle to get the effect that we’re seeking. That’s great. But t there seems to be a lot more to it than that. So I say it’s gonna take so much greenhouse gases to just to do this work that it could turn out in the wrong way. So then, then, someone tells me oh, well, we’ll use wind. Well, that’s nice, but what i would like to think is that some engineering department is designing a unit that was sit in the ocean. powered by wind, and that spray the appropriate size spray. That seems to me that’s fielding of all these many units would would would actually do something. But you know, this is a big job. This is not a trivial thing to do. And no one’s trying to do that. So far, that was producing numerical data that I know of. So we seem to be a long way from doing the geoengineering but well, let’s be realistic about when it can be done. Yeah.


Metta Spencer  27:34

All right. Hugh, give her the answers.




Well, I totally share all the concerns that have been expressed so far. But I kind of think it’s a little bit like Apollo 13. When spaceship Apollo 13 was on its way to the moon when they had a bit of a disaster. And they didn’t have much time to figure out how to get these three astronauts back safely. We know what happened, they did come back safely to Earth and it was pretty amazing. But all of the dozens of things that had to do to get these astronauts back, were not tested. But what I knew is that if they did nothing, these three astronauts would not return back to. So they had to resort to untested techniques, but they didn’t just resort to techniques without thinking and through. Because the way we tend to do things when we were in a pickle. We don’t just risk dangerous things. We think things through and I think right. Let’s figure out what are the options but we haven’t got much time left. So I think Adele that’s where we’re at. Of course. We should work through getting things working perfectly, make sure we understand all the possible consequences. But I do feel strongly that we are going to have to learn by doing I’m afraid we don’t have the luxury of doing experiments and working things out in fine detail. it frustrates me that in that process of learning by doing may get people saying, Oh, this, this is terrible, because you haven’t shown that this is going to be safe. And I think one of the good things about what’s happened in the Bay Area is that the it’s been recognized that the experiments that have been done, they’re not they’re not impactful and in a bad way. So let’s just get on in the land. This is learn by doing and the same is exactly true in around the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, learning by doing and I feel that we should most definitely proceed and learn by doing.


Metta Spencer  30:45

Sounds good to me, Steve.




Just want to add a nuance to use comments that although we want to learn by doing, we want to do it in small scale, very small scale pilots to start with and then much of the work that I know Hugh and he was doing this group and my group is looking at issues like the energy requirements for the delivery systems and, and even with the current technology, the amount of energy that you need to deliver this is orders of magnitude lower than what you would need for say, removing carbon dioxide directly from the air which would be wonderful if we could just suck the co2 out. But it’s is the case where you use the huge amount of global energy to operate the technology, whereas something like marine cloud brightening is something that, although it’s an enormous scale operation,  is very tiny by comparison to some of these other efforts. So I think we agree with the concerns that Adele has, but that’s something that informs what we’re doing and without starting on the research, we will never be in a position of knowing enough to implement it. So we have to start thinking about it now.


Metta Spencer  32:08

Dipping your toe in the water before you before you jump in is I think the sound policy. Danny Rosenfeld, please.





Yeah, We don’t have much time. Not only because the world is warming very fast, but because the development of the technology is where we have presently the capability of a spraying experimentally is such that we can hardly make a visible impact on the clouds. With all the power that we can put in one experiment. I can tell you from my experience in Australia, that it was not easy to find the sitting signature in those while flying the airplane in the clouds. Sometime we found it, some time not so


Metta Spencer  33:11

what is your signature? You’re talking to an ignoramus. So what do you mean




To find the cloud which has a larger number of smaller droplets that can be attributed to the __?


Metta Spencer  33:25

And you can’t do that just by flying through? you have to do what? You capture a bottle full and take it and go home and count the contents or what?




Oh, that’s this experiment. We spray on the ship. We operate on the ship that spray machines. This goes into the clouds and then we take the airplane and fly into the cloud that to see the expected effect. If we can see it when we look for that then of course it does work. Yes, we did find it but the scale over which it actually manifested is by far too small for any even original meaningful effect. And then they the machines presently are very, very they take a lot of energy for the spray. This spray technology needs to be much more efficient to become deployable in a large scale. And this is now a major engineering effort that is taking place I know in Cambridge. Steve said that he’s working on that; I’m working on that; ____ is working on that. This is the main obstacle that separates us from the ability to deploy it even if they wanted to.


Metta Spencer  35:07

It’s the nozzle, right? It’s developing the nozzle that produces the tiny spray that you need, right?




I will say it more widely. Develop the technology to get the water to the right size. It might be nozzle technology or other technologies.


Metta Spencer  35:28

But what could it be if there’s some other way, okay? Tell me!




A number of ways that I will not go into detail because if these are engineering details, okay.




That’s not particularly fair because you could say it in lots of different ways, but if you want to water your garden with a hose, then there’s lots of different ways, you know, you could drip the water into your garden. You could you could have the water coming up from underneath through the roots. So you can, you know, we’ve been pretty inventive and there are lots of different ways. The simplest way is the kind of one that you’ve seen in the production the videos from Australia, or something that looks a little bit like a snowblower in the in the mountains blowing, blowing snow, snow out to two. That’s kind of the easy way but it consumes quite a lot of energy and we’ve got to figure out how to do it                                                                      more efficiently.



So it’s about false way. It’s



a brute force way.


Metta Spencer  36:41

Okay. Another question or issue, Adele? What


Adele Buckley  36:46

I want to know if there is any publication and could you please send it to us about the work in Australia how it would be really important to be able to read about whatever the state of the art is, even though it’s very rare. That’s one thing I have to say. I just can’t refrain from telling you that the professor who supervised my My PhD was part of the team that saved the Apollo 13. But anyway, that’s  not relevant to this, but I really think we need to realize there’s a whole set of steps and get more researchers on board. I gather there are not enough researchers involved in this. If it’s important, somehow it needs a bigger effort.



The research in Australia, now in the last phase, concluded in the end of last February, and now everybody is analyzing the data and working on the publications by the nature of things. As long as these are not finalized and some require embargo, we cannot talk much about what is there, except that the results are encouraging so far.




Okay, Steve:



I’d like to point out that society has been doing unintentional marine cloud brightening for years. The sulfur and ship fuel has contributed to formation and in the last few years that has been removed, and the signature from that removal is actually observable from satellites. So it’s a difficult thing to back out. But if and then Daniel would know more about this than me, but I think the signature of that sulfur removal is visible and it does support the general idea that that sulfur has actually produced a warming effect. That, of course, will will make the planet warmer thanks to removing that that was removed. Because the sulfur is forms acid aerosols and deleterious effects, especially when injected close to land, where terrestrial systems are affected by the acid deposition. You know what, what we hope might happen is that that effect would be added back in again without the deleterious effects. That is the marine cloud brightening without the toxic emissions. So I think there is evidence from those, let’s say opportunistic experiments, this natural experiments that can support this.


Metta Spencer  39:45

So I want to refer to something that I’ve read on one of the HPAC discussions by Franz Oeste, and he claims that this is very powerful evidence that the marine cloud brightening would work because the fact that reducing the content of the ships sulfur content made them allow shipps flue gas to be to be emitted, and this surprisingly, increased the temperature as a result, and it was really good proof that brightened clouds are very effective in changing the temperature. And he claims that this is going to actually be a an argument in favor of the idea of hurrying up and allowing marine cloud brightening because already they allow toxic iodine compounds to be put into the clouds as a way of preventing hail, even though hail damageis very little in comparison to how important climate heating is. And so he thinks that when they realize that climate heating is so important and that we can do something about it, we’re going to be allowing non toxic and eco friendly salt aerosols to be sprayed into marine atmosphere pretty soon now. And so, I wonder whether any of you agree that this is a good case or good piece of evidence to adduce in any dispute about the safety of marine cloud brightening? Danny


Adele Buckley  41:43

Who is going to allow it? I mean, who gives authorization for this kind of thing? Well,


Metta Spencer  41:49

Danny Rosenfeld, you have your hand up, and what do you want to say about it?




Okay, well, first of all, the the silver iodide sitting is not toxic, but it was allowed because it has only very limited the effects in time and space. But the concern is about the effects against the global climate and that is something very different which requires a global governance that addresses a deadly question: Who will allow this in? Though presently, there is a consensus that any activity that affects the global climate should not be done without global consensus. And you know how difficult it is to reach global consensus. The fact that we are undoing the marine cloud brightening inadvertently allows us just to look back at what happened in the past for the side effects and that limits the possible field from unexpected side effects.



Okay. Yes,




I think that the what we’ve learned from the Great Barrier Reef is that engagement with the local indigenous peoples, which they’ve done very carefully over the last 10 to15 years is very, very important. Because the local indigenous aborigines that that live and fish on the islands around the Great Barrier Reef, but they know what’s happening and they are as devastated as anybody that reef is being damaged. And the idea that there is a consensus of scientists and indigenous people and social scientists and politicians and economists that are working to figure out with all parts of this reef restoration and adaptation program, RRAP, which, by the way, has just got its new round of funding for further research, which is fantastic. So you asked who gives permission for this? Well, Dan Harrison and his crew they’ve been doing multiple experiments in the, in the waters around the Great Barrier Reef, all under the auspices of Australian Government. Funded research supported by the local indigenous people. It still is dipping their toe in the water. But they’re learning a lot so far. Can we translate that to the work that needs to be done perhaps to save the Arctic sea ice? Well, it’s a little bit unfortunate that the last couple of the last 100 years or so, of dealing with the indigenous people in the Arctic, there’s been a huge amount of lack of trust and lack of engagement. So there’s a real work to be done to get the same positivity that’s been a hallmark of the work going on in the Great Barrier Reef to get that positivity engagement to get that back again. So the work that we might want to do for everybody’s benefit, to try and safeguard the ice in the Arctic can be done. Who’s gonna give permission? Who’s going to say yes, you can do it. But if everybody wants it, it makes it much easier. And I feel we need to learn from what we’ve seen in Australia.


Metta Spencer  46:33




Another point to be made about marine cloud brightening, and I think this relates to a question about governance. With marine cloud brightening, the aerosols that you inject in marine atmosphere don’t last in the atmosphere that long. You’re talking about days or weeks and they’re all gone. That contrasts with some other suggestions for solar radiation management where you’d be injecting things higher in the atmosphere and you’re talking about months or years before the effect of the experiment disappears. So no, marine cloud brightening is in some ways very suited for dipping the toe in the water, seeing what the effects are, and then moderating your technique as you learn more. So it is one where you can learn as you go and improve where you inject the aerosols, understand what small effect they’re having in an area and then change course. Because these are not persistent. And I think that is one of its biggest strengths, this. Yeah, in that you have to keep injecting the aerosols to keep having the effects but that’s the benefit and as soon as you decide you don’t want to do it. Well, in a few days, the effects are gone.



And it’s regional, whereas stratospheric aerosol is almost ia hemispheric thing. You start doing it, you do it for the whole of the northern hemisphere. Whereas the work that you might do in marine cloud brightening is a regional thing, which I think makes it feel less risky.


Metta Spencer  48:26

So the reality is that some of the Arctic is inside national boundaries. I mean, we could do experimentation inside Canada, which would make it a lot easier than having to consult all the countries in the world and get consent to it. Because if it’s just a Canadian project, I think national sovereignty views would be trotted out as an argument. But one of the things that you said, I want to explore, you seem to imply that the Aboriginal people of Australia are in favor of this. My concern is that I’ve been hearing more about how there’s an effort to integrate and bring together a movement or an organization now forming of indigenous people worldwide. And there’s an effort to try to get them to take a very strong statement that they oppose geoengineering under all circumstances. And I know that one of the problems in Canada with indigenous people is that there is a tendency for the elders to oppose any kind of climate change technologies. So the claim that we’ve got to get everybody to agree to it, and if everybody would agree to it, it’ll be easy. That’s true, but I’m wondering whether it’s even possible to get everybody to agree to it if there is this reaction among some indigenous people, and I wonder how widespread that reaction is.




Okay. That is not an issue yet because we are capable of inducing global effects on the climate because of the technology limitations. But going again to the governance issue, a simple criterion would be that anything that you do that does not affect your neighbors would be permissible. And that is exactly what is happening in the Great Barrier Reef because the scale there is  – Actually, the Sargon says, don’t call it geoengineering. We don’t intend to do any climate change. All that we want to do is protect the Great Barrier Reef and cultivate the water there to prevent the coral bleaching. That’s all But by developing the technology for geoengineering, that is a blessing. And that is okay, because the scale of the activities there is incapable of affecting any of the neighbors of Australia, much less than the rest. But if we go to the Arctic, and try to prevent the melting of the ice in the summer,  the sea ice, that will have global effects. That is a completely different question of governance and global consensus. But



I think that I totally agree with that. The regional it’s, it’s not going to affect your neighbors. But then this question about, oh, you know, all of the Aborigines in Australia all the indigenous people in Australia supportive of this work. I didn’t say that. But the people in the great region of the Great Barrier Reef are very supportive of what we’re doing and what they are doing. Now I have no idea. Australia is a big nation. And so if if I consensus were to be to be reached. So I’ve heard this before, Metta  – the idea that the indigenous people of the world are being a being drawn towards concluding that there should be a ban on geoengineering or there should be whatever it might be. I really want to see that that is informed and the consequences.  It is very easy to say, Oh, I don’t want anything nasty, like chemotherapy. I don’t want any some nasty. I don’t want I don’t want any of that. But if the alternative is, oh, well, if you don’t have that chemotherapy, you’re not going to live very long. You might not see your grandchildren. Well, that’s not a very good analogy, but But it kind of helps. It helps to concentrate the mind and I feel as if, when we talk about the world’s indigenous people. I do worry, for instance, when the scope x project was was put on hold in Sweden that it was the Sami people that seemed to have their say in that but I don’t know what the people in the Maldives or Bangladesh might have said had they’d been asked, because they’re the ones that are going to be most impacted in the near future because of sea level rise because of the melting ice. I’d like to think that they were at the table. When the discussion about the scope X project was decisions about scoping the project were being made. So I think when we talk about the some global consensus of the indigenous people in the world, we’ve really got to be a bit careful to make sure that it really is a consensus.


Metta Spencer  54:51

Yeah, I’m working on that. I’ll tell you more whenever I put together a meeting involving some indigenous people. I’ve had some indigenous representation in previous meetings, but I think we need a new one, a larger scale one yes. I think Danny Rosenfeld is wanting to speak and then Adele.




Just good going to another medical analogy. The world is sick; it has a rising fever, rising temperature because of the basic illness. So if somebody is very sick, and he has a fever, if he doesn’t get a medicine to decrease the fever might kill him before the antibiotics might kill the root cause of the illness. And I think that we should use such an analogy. And we should develop that medicine to decrease the fever. Well, should we really use it and not get stuck without it and then get killed because we don’t have it at the right time.

Now, as to the different perspectives of different indigenous people. Just tell the people in the Maldives, in the neighboring Indians. When you reflect more solar energy from the clouds of the ocean, you have less energy available to evaporate water from the ocean, and respectively you have less depth of available to be transported over land to produce the monsoon rainfall for example, over India, so here you have the contrasting interests. Are we going to pay for less sea level rise with less rainfall over India? I’m not going to answer that but these are the issues that will have to be resolved.


Adele Buckley  57:07

I’d like to address the problem of working in the Arctic. Anyway, it’s a very difficult environment and very expensive to work in. And wonder what that means is that moving something in the Arctic should wait until it’s further developed. I mean, I realized that we really would like to see the Arctic re- frozen, but right now the temperature of the water in the summer will immediately melt any ice that you created before you can probably find out what was going on. Have you tried to work in the Arctic? You would have to supply absolutely everything you ever needed, because there are no facilities to speak of, so you cannot get anything else from nearby. It’d be hard because extremely remote in Canada and certainly I don’t think the Russians are very keen on any of this. They have more facilities but it does’t seem there’s a lot of readiness to go to the Arctic, when you can have some hope of having an effect, rather than an experiment there where it’s extremely difficult. And another thing  to remember about the Arctic is okay, let’s try to form some ice when it’s getting the end of summer so it’ll stay. Well that’s the end of summer is also the time when it starts to get really dark. You’re not gonna see any clouds because there’s so forbidding. So, all we could do is make some ice,  hope that it stayed until spring. It is, to my view, non productive to work in the Arctic at this point. Even though we wish that we could have more ise.




We’re there now. And we are working with people in Cambridge Bay in Canada. And of course, the first step is to slow down the rate of melting of existing ice. It’s not about going into an open ocean and making an ice cube and hoping that it stays. The is there at the moment is melting but what we’re doing is were doing various projects about how to thicken the ice. During the winter there’s also experiments that we are currently in the process of doing which is to thicken the ice in the winter as well. So in trying to slow down the rate of melting and the winter you’re trying to increase the rate of freezing and bit by bit we need to increase the extent of the ice.



Metta Spencer  1:00:55

Yeah, what are you doing there? You obviously have to use different technologies in the summer than you would use in the winter. Can you give us a  – I presume you’re not doing anything like marine cloud brightening?



So at the moment the work we’re doing is on ice thickening. So in a winter it’s how to make the ice thicker. So that then we come back into the summer with more ice than we might otherwise have had. We’re not doing the marine cloud brightening stuff there yet, but we certainly have access to places to do these things. I I’m not sure that I agree that it’s all about going to an intimidating, completely impossible place. The work that we’ve been doing there. What was quite funny was that we had to get through all of our minus 40 degrees and we had to go through all the training and wearing all these these special suits for Arctic survival suits. And there’s a nice picture of my team on the ice on their Arctic survival suits. And then the bell rings and then all the school kids can see what’s going on. And they’re going out on the ice in in jeans and T shirts. You know, so but they’re all interested they will know what we’re doing. And actually we’re not there right now but the local community tare counting on doing the measurements on the work that we’ve been doing. For me, this is the way we’ve got to be moving forward. As I’ve done in Australia, take advantage of local enthusiastic communities and work with them. And let’s not wait around for international global consensus.


Metta Spencer  1:03:07

Adele, I don’t want to give you the last word but almost the last word. Well,


Adele Buckley  1:03:12

I tried to be quick about this but I think the work you’re doing is to add water to the ice and the ice and therefore you get thicker ice.



No, that’s not true. I don’t have time to go into the detail of that.


Adele Buckley  1:03:29

Because if you were trying to do that, in the latent heat of fusion, which




Okay. We are scientists and engineers, we have thought this through.


Metta Spencer  1:03:44

I want you to come back with your team and talk about that sometime because we haven’t done a show about that particular project. That’s terrific. Now who gets the last word? I want to give it to somebody. Steve, you haven’t expressed too much of an opinion on things. So why don’t you get the last word?




I’ll just say thank you for organizing this discussion with diverse opinions. I think that governance is a big issue and communication of what’s going on is a huge issue. And it’s important that there eventually be consensus, informed consensus. And so if we don’t have people with the various views talking about this, we’ll never get there. So thank you very much.


Metta Spencer  1:04:34

Well, it’s my hobby. I just love doing this and it’s more fun than I’ve ever done before. So I am glad to know that it’s also sometimes useful, and I can’t think of a topic that’s more important to try to cover than what we’ve been discussing. So we will come back at it again and again and with different casts, but this the same play anyway. So thank you all and I’ll be back in touch with you sometime soon. Bye.



Bye. Thank you. Bye Bye


To Post a Comment

Please wait a few seconds for the comments to load at the bottom of this page. Then read the ideas other people have shared and reply or add your own knowledge. The space for comments is in a pale font. It’s good to give your comment a title by selecting it and clicking the “B” (for “boldface”). And you can italicize passages with the “I”, indent, add hyperlinks (with the chain symbol) or even attach a photo or graphic from your hard drive by clicking the paperclip at the right side of the space. Have fun with it!

Select the Videos from Right

We produce several one-hour-long Zoom conversations each week about various aspects of six issues we address. You can watch them live and send a question to the speakers or watch the edited version later here or on our Youtube channel.