Geoengineering By Committee? Time To Get Totalitarian
    By News Staff | February 22nd 2013 11:03 AM | 21 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments

    Solar geo-engineering is one proposed approach to mitigating the effects of climate change - the idea being to deflect some of the sun's incoming radiation. 

    Ignoring the technology issues, in a world where countries can't even agree they contribute to greenhouse gases, the political uncertainties and geopolitical questions about who would be in charge of solar geo-engineering activity and its goals are daunting. A UN of climate change is the worst of all possible worlds. 

    Social authoritarianism may be the way to go, according to modeling work from Carnegie's Katharine Ricke and Ken Caldeira and Juan Moreno-Cruz from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Their game-theoretic computer model found that a suitably powerful coalition would have incentive to exclude other countries from participating in the decision-making process about geo-engineering Earth. 

    Though carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of coal, oil, and gas have decreased in developed nations, they have been increasing over the past decades due to greater emissions by developing nations. Feedbacks aside, no one disagrees that CO2 is bad. The idea behind solar geoengineering is to constantly replenish a layer of small particles in the stratosphere - basically duplicating the effect of volcanic eruptions, which scatter sunlight back into space.

    "Attempts to form coalitions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions have repeatedly hit the wall, because it's difficult to get everybody to participate in a substantive and meaningful way," Ricke said. "Members of coalitions to reduce emissions have incentives to include more countries, but countries have incentives not to participate, so as to avoid costs associated with emission reduction while benefiting from reductions made elsewhere."

    The model developed by Ricke, Caldeira and Moreno-Cruz found that when it comes to geoengineering, the opposite is true. Smaller coalitions would be more desirable to the participants, not less, because those members could set the target temperature to their liking without having to make everyone happy.

    And excluded countries would want to 'get with the program' if they they could move the thermostat in the direction that better suits their interests. Since the costs of geoengineering are lower than mitigation, once a coalition has formed and has successfully implemented geoengineering, it would have an incentive to exclude permanently other willing participants.  

    "My view, aside from any technical result, is that it should remain a central goal to maintain openness and inclusiveness in geoengineering coalitions, so that all people who want a voice in the decision-making process are able to have that voice," Caldeira said.

     Published in Environmental Research Letters


    Gerhard Adam
    In my view, one of the few global scientific endeavors that has experienced success is the eradication of smallpox.  That was clearly a social authoritarian situation, where "opting out" was not acceptable.  There have certainly been critics of the approach employed, but one can't argue with its effectiveness.
    Mundus vult decipi
    no one disagrees that CO2 is bad

    I do. You might convince me that at some point an excessive amount is, but let's not forget it is plant food.
    I suggest you get a handheld IR thermometer and on a day with low humidity and clear skies, measure the temp of the sky overhead. @ 1.5C it was colder than -40C with ~ 65% Rel Humidity.
    Now maybe, it use to be -42C, but you're going to have to give me more proof than a shoddy temp record beyond 30-40 years ago that it's a problem, especially since temps have not gone up more then the error bars in the last ~15 years depending on your record set. And if we're going into a new Maunder minimum, we might want those extra couple degrees.
    Never is a long time.
    That's a simple physics issue. I have no problem with people arguing, or even being skeptical about, numerical models of feedbacks, that is a reasonable debate and it has made climate scientists create a lot better models than they used to - but there is no reputable physicist or climate scientist who disagrees that CO2 leads to warmth.  This kind of claim you are using is no different than people who think they can debunk biology because of a few studies they don't like.

    Don't debunk. Download the data and create a better model.
    I have downloaded the data, it says they have it all wrong. Water vapor controls surface temps, not co2. Even a couple degrees change due to co2 in the temp of the sky, is nothing compared to the 20-40 degree change due to water.
    A better model needs to model water vapor, clouds and the SST that drives it.
    Never is a long time.
    You're arguing a different issue. Those are feedbacks.  You disagreed about the physics of CO2 and while you may not accept that, all of science does.
    I can accept that co2 changes the temp of the sky from -45C to - 40C, but not that it changes the temp of the surface from 0C to 4C. That would require a loss of nightly cooling, and a trend in the loss of cooling as co2 increased, there isn't one. And I don't see a change of the sky's temp from 0C to 4C causing a change of surface temp from 25C to 30C.

    But, I am working on a better theory, I got a cheap weather station for Christmas to help me mine data, and a IR thermometer to see if I can come up with an equation to separate the temp from co2 vs the temp from water vapor.

    So not I don't disagree about the physics of CO2, I disagree how the activists apply the physics of CO2 to climate. I suppose it took me a while to separate these two different issues from each other.
    Never is a long time.
    Thor Russell
    "That would require a loss of nightly cooling, and a trend in the loss of cooling as co2 increased,"

    I am not sure what physics assumptions/calculations you are using, can you explain what you expect for simple examples:
    1. You have a box with a constant internal heat input (heating element say) exposed to a constant outside temperature (0K for example) with constant insulation. Now the steady state temperature difference between the box and the outside is proportional to the heat input and the strength of insulation. If you double either the heat source or the insulation, the SS temp doubles. 
    2. Now rather than having the heat source constant, make it turn on for a short amount of time every 24 hours. In this case the steady state temperature would have a 24 hour cycle. Say 0C just before the heat source came on, 20C after it came on, then 20C down to 0C just before it came on again. Consider what would happen if you doubled the insulation. 
    Would it do something like this?
    0C 20C
    10C 30C
    15C 35C

    20C 40C
    20C 40C

    (or would it settle to 30/50C steady state)
    There is still the equivalent of 20C "nightly" cooling as there must be because things are in equilibrium. Insulation would increase the start/stop temps over which cooling happens.

    3. Now if instead you doubled the heat input, what do you expect?

    0C 40C
    10C 50C
    15C 55C
    15C 55C
    In this simple example, if the average temp was increasing because of additional heat input, then the temp difference between day/night should increase, however if it was because of increased insulation the temp difference wouldn't, but all temps would increase. The nightly cooling wouldn't decrease, the same amount of heat would be lost during the night at equilibrium, but the night start/stop temps would be higher to enable the same amount of heat to be lost in spite of increased insulation.

    I also expect that in the real world the effect would be far too small for you to observe, and noise would swamp the ability for you to draw any conclusion.

    Thor Russell
    I don't any physical assumptions, I started based on many hundreds of nights of observations, logging the temp as part of the filename while imaging the sky, and seeing how quickly the temp falls. I also noted how much moisture would condense out of the sky, how some nights that dew would turn to frost, and where the dew and frost formed.
    I then did some actual experiments where I measured air temps, and a couple inches in the ground of a brick patio that didn't get frost on it.
    As for your examples:
    #2 I would expect both Min and Max to increase, though not necessarily the same amount. Remember the rate of cooling would increase at the higher temp, so it wouldn't (I think) be a purely linear change.
    #3 Same thing, but the rate of cooling would be even higher.

    But the problem with your analog, it it's not an analog. It's linear (or mostly), where the climate is very non-linear, incoming and outgoing wavelengths aren't the same, there are huge storage reservoirs available, with currents to move heat from one place to another, and a southern hemisphere that runs the opposite cycle than the northern hemisphere is on.

    I also expect that in the real world the effect would be far too small for you to observe, and noise would swamp the ability for you to draw any conclusion.

    You've said this before, but my statement is based on actual surface station data, and the numbers I used are always generated based on 2 measurements from a single station taken within 24 hours of each other.
    There are over 120 million stations records. So if the data is good enough to extract a temperature trend, it's good enough to extract night time cooling data. You can't claim my use of the data isn't any good, but believe the temperature trend extracted from the same data is.

    When you look at it on a daily average you can detect the change in day/night length as the seasons change.

    and when you average this over a year it almost perfectly balances out. But I've also noticed that on years where the temp is up, it cools more at night. Just exactly what you'd expect.

    Last night sometime during the night the sky cleared, and the temp dropped .72C/hour for 9 hours, one hour of that cooling would wipe out the entire 100 years of "Global Warming".
    Never is a long time.
    Thor Russell
    I know that the climate is non linear of course but if you don't get the basics right then you can't do the non linear stuff. One hour of cooling does not wipe out 100years of agw, that is careless. For a start there is most heat in the ocean as we know and a temp drop does not stop insulation from working. The temp would have dropped more with less insulation, and be at a different steady state.
    Thor Russell
    Oops, had 4 hours of cooling last night @~2C/hour.
    And it's not careless, it's observations. What it should tell you is Co2 isn't controlling the surface temp, the other highly variable blanket is, the one that self adjusts.
    And if we know the real heat is in the water, why all the fuss about the land surface record going up .7C in 100 years?
    It was clear again yesterday, and I got a lower temp IR thermometer, so I got a real measurement, The sky was almost 42C colder than the surface, since it was 1C it contained little water ~3 grams/kg of air (100% humidity at that temp has 3.8 gm/kg but it was 70-80% rel humidity). Where the air I was actually measuring @-40 has ~0.1gm/kg.

    Figure 1. Upper ocean heat content anomaly (OHCA), 0-700 metres, in zeta-joules (10^21 joules). Errors are not specified but are presumably one sigma. SOURCE

    Seems the upper ocean hasn't really gone up in temp either for the last decade, where air temps are flat for the last 16+ years.
    Never is a long time.
    Thor Russell
    "Last night sometime during the night the sky cleared, and the temp dropped .72C/hour for 9 hours"
    Careless conclusion:
    one hour of that cooling would wipe out the entire 100 years of "Global Warming"

    We've been over the ocean temps etc I think there is a sin(x) + x component to it. 

    With all these IR measurements unless you can accurately predict what you would get with more/less CO2 then they don't tell you anything. You quote them like they are evidence against CO2, but like before, unless you can provide a complete model showing how you think things work and where the literature is wrong, then there isn't much more to discuss

    Thor Russell
    The measured IR is the DLR. So a doubling of Co2 would add ~1.1C to the Co2 portion of the DLR.
    Measurements taken when humidity is low reduces the DLR from water.

    Differences in variation

    Diurnal temperature variations are greatest very near the earth’s surface. High desert areas typically have the greatest diurnal temperature variations. Low lying, humid areas typically have the least. This explains why an area like the Snake River Plain can have high temperatures of 38°C (100°F) during a summer day, and then have lows of 5-10°C (40-50°F). At the same time, Washington D.C., which is much more humid, has temperature variations of only 8°C (15°F)[1]; Hong Kong has a diurnal temperature range of little more that 4°C (7°F).

    When you exclude water vapor, night time temperatures drop 40-50F. The entire premise of AGW is Co2 traps heat, warming the planet because Co2 reduces the amount of energy that radiates out to space at night. As the above shows, water vapor controls night time cooling, not Co2.

    I'm not trying to provide a model of anything, I'm showing proof the current model is falsified by data. It can't possibly do what it's claimed to do based on the evidence.
    Never is a long time.
    Thor Russell
    Once again we have had this discussion before. Your observations in no way show the model is falsified by data, just that you don't understand the model. The role of water vapour/Co2 is explained well in the literature and fully consistent with the data you show.
    Thor Russell
    Social authoritarianism ? really ? what gives you the right to play GOD ???

    Gerhard Adam
    Oh grow up.  You've got dozens of people in your life, every day, that "play God" with respect to your choices, so let's ease up on the faux indignation.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Really Like who ? Should we pay them too ? Scam Artist all of them . Dont tell me you belive this bullshit ? Id figure a Cowboy like you could smell bullshit from a mile away ?

    Full agreement that people shouldn't be playing god and that those who do are scam artists. Weather modification has been used as a weapon since at least the Vietnam War. Geoengineering is merely weather warfare spun as a humanitarian/ecological program.

    The current worldwide Chemtrail campaign demonstrates that social authoritarianism for geoengineering is already in place and this article is just a tiny piece in changing the hidden policy in plain view to an open policy for lowering the social pressure to the decision makers. The PhD in spe is looking for a professional field for her living thus she has to look where the war front is.

    Thor Russell
    "A UN of climate change is the worst of all possible worlds."
    Well I sure can imagine worse. The costs and difficulty of stratospheric engineering are small enough that countries like India and China can unilaterally do it to their liking without any consensus. Models suggest that what helps one will likely hurt another because of changes in rainfall, (rain falls on India instead of China/Pakistan and vice versa). This could be very bad indeed. 

    The worst case to me is that there is a moratorium on geo-engineering, no-one knows what the effects are, then AGW/climate issues cause extreme hardship for say India, after a few decades of prosperity. India finds that it can no longer feed its newly created middle class, because the climate has gone weird and rain that used to be falling on them is now falling on Pakistan, China or a similar nuclear power. They implement geo-engineering and the climate shifts, but noone knows whether they caused it. Pakistan starts to starve because of the change and nuclear war results. In this case even if the geo-engineering didn't actually do anything, a random climate shift could cause nuclear war because people would attribute it to geo-engineering. 

    That is why I don't support a moratorium. If things get really bad it will be ignored (try enforcing it on a nuclear power with a starving population desperate for a solution) and countries that implement it will do it ad hoc without knowing what to expect. I think we should do significant experiments in the open starting soon or right now so we know what it can and can't do. (After all we are doing massive uncontrolled experiments anyway) Only then can we begin to discuss sensible options. I predict that by 2050 onwards climate models will be used to guide geo-engineering scenarios as much as predict AGW response.

    Thor Russell
    What we should be worrying about are the politicians basing policy on bad science.
    Never is a long time.
    Climate change doesn't come from volcanoes. It's us.