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SAVING THE ARCTIC Gregory Benford, UCI. キ increasing climate change, driven at a high rate by global warming  ~ few decades キ the rise in acid levels in our ocean, already well documented  ~ half century. Total Primary Power vs Year. 1990: 12 TW 2050: 28 TW.

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saving the arctic gregory benford uci

SAVING THE ARCTIC Gregory Benford, UCI

キincreasing climate change, driven at a high rate by global warming

 ~ few decades

キthe rise in acid levels in our ocean, already well documented

 ~ half century

slide2

Total Primary Power vs Year

1990: 12 TW 2050: 28 TW

slide4

50.0

45.0

40.0

35.0

30.0

Gigatons/yr

25.0

20.0

15.0

10.0

5.0

0.0

1990

2010

2030

2050

2070

2090

Global Carbon ManagementTechnologies in the Current R&D Pipeline Are Not Enough

Where today’s technology

will take us

IS92a(1990 technology)

IS92a

550 Ceiling

1300 Gigatons

Where our current aspirations

for technology will take us

480 Gigatons

Where we need to go to

stabilize carbon

slide5

1900

1950

2000

2150

2100

CO2 emissions

= N x (GDP/N) x (E/GDP) x (C/E)

= GDP x (E/GDP) x (C/E)

= GDP x (C/GDP)

population (N)

per capita GDP (GDP/N)

energy intensity (E/GDP)

IPCC IS92a“Business as usual”scenario assumptions

carbon intensity (C/E)

in case of abrupt climate shift break glass
IN CASE OF ABRUPT CLIMATE SHIFT, BREAK GLASS
  • Very probably Kyoto-style agreements will fail to grasp the extent of our deep social & environmental dilemma--global climate change versus local economic growth.
in case of abrupt climate shift break glass1
IN CASE OF ABRUPT CLIMATE SHIFT, BREAK GLASS
  • We should have well studied methods ready to halt a sudden climate shift, if warning signs gather. While tuning the rate of increase of emissions, we can attack other terms in the equation that affects the planetary heat balance. We should do the early studies to work methods and impacts of possible actions we can take quickly to manipulate the entire range of effects that can lower global heating.
in case of abrupt climate shift break glass2
IN CASE OF ABRUPT CLIMATE SHIFT, BREAK GLASS
  • mild measures are:
      • (1) emergency sequestration of carbon;
      • (2) changing the reflectivity of buildings and blacktop, and
      • (3) increasing cloud cover over the tropical oceans
the war on carbon dioxide
The War on Carbon Dioxide
  • “The trouble with the global warming debate is that it has become a moral crusade when it’s really an engineering problem. The inconvenient truth is that if we don't solve the engineering problem, we’re helpless.”

-- economist Robert Samuelson

develop off the shelf albedo changers
Develop Off-the-Shelf Albedo Changers
  • Whiten roofs and blacktop in cities

>> saves electrical power for air conditioning, cools planet

  • Explore cloud production

>> reflects visible, may retain infra-red

  • Increase clouds over tropical oceans

>> couple with coal-burning plants?

annual mean temperature response

ºC

-6

-4

-2

0

2

4

6

Annual mean temperature response
  • 2xCO2
    • 560 ppm CO2, normal solar radiation

Temperature change (ºC)

Caldeira et al., ms. in prep.

annual mean temperature response1

ºC

-6

-4

-2

0

2

4

6

Annual mean temperature response
  • Geo71.25
    • 560 ppm CO2, 25% solar reduction north of 71ºN

Temperature change (ºC)

Caldeira et al., ms. in prep.

modeled september sea ice
Modeled September sea-ice

Pre-industrial (280 ppm)

2 x CO2 (560 ppm)

Caldeira et al., ms. in prep.

modeled september sea ice1
Modeled September sea-ice

Caldeira et al., ms. in prep.

arctic geoengineering does not reverse ocean acidification
Arctic geoengineering does not reverse ocean acidification

Tendency to dissolve carbonate minerals isstronger in the Arctic than anywhere else

[CO32-]arag from simulation at 2xCO2

Courtesy Jim Orr, IPSL

concerns
Concerns
  • Ozone layer
    • Nobel Prize winning atmospheric chemist Paul Crutzen thinks this is not an issue (but he could be wrong)
  • Socio-political risks
    • Perception of a technical fix could reduce pressure to reduce CO2 emissions
  • Unanticipated environmental surprises ?
many variables
MANY VARIABLES

* particle type & size

diatomaceous earth? -- which is benign and can be crushed to 0.1 micron

* quantity of mass distributed

* duration of experiment

* altitude--which affects area affected and residence time, and thus duration.

  • These are intertwined
cooling the arctic summer
Cooling the Arctic Summer
  • deploy the particles by airplane in the Spring;
  • measure the cooling below, using local sensors and space monitoring of the sea ice;
  • detect if the present retreat of sea ice toward the North Pole slows or even reverses. This will be a clear, visual signature than the region is cooling; and
  • measure to see if ground temperatures will give more refined understanding. The particles can rain or snow out in fall, ending the experiment in predictable fashion.
climate studies
Climate studies
  • The end of passive science?
  • Limited experiments, active science.
  • At least we will learn more through experiment, and could find ways to intervene -- on-the-shelf methods, if we get into dire straits.
a moral quandary
A moral quandary
  • What if we continue to emit greenhouse gases, and Arctic ecosystems are threatened with extinction: Which is worse?
  • – let her die, or
  • – manage the Arctic climate?
science first restoration later
Science first, restoration later
  • begin with regional, reversible experiments to define the science
  • learn from these how well we understand our climate
  • look for cooling effects
  • stop the warming to buy time
  • deal with ocean acidification separately
  • focus on what we can do now, not what we can do eventually.
slide27

Only puny secrets need protection. Big discoveries are protected by public incredulity. -- Marshall McLuhan