Geoengineering

In the cold war era, the U.S. and Soviets looked at ways to weaponize weather as a means of gaining a strategic advantage in war.  In the 1980’s, water providers and ski resorts (Vail, Breckenridge, Winter Park, etc.) began helping to fund a cloud-seeding program in Colorado’s north-central mountains with hopes of improving ski conditions and boosting stream flows along with reservoir storage.  That state weather modification program was deemed a success and continues today with the Colorado Water Conservation Board issuing permits and setting the ground rules (no reverse pun intended).  The Colorado cloud seeding program consists of large metal burners loaded with powdered silver iodide which gets vaporized at a high temperature, sending wisps of smoke into the sky.  The tiny dust particles and nuclei help pull additional moisture from the atmosphere as silver iodide is conducive to ice crystal formation at cold temperatures.  Experts believe that this program would be even more effective if the operation was completed at high altitude.

It is logical for anyone without a financial stake in the “success” of this project to ask common sense questions about the potential unintended consequences of such a program.  For example; If we are wringing every bit of moisture from the atmosphere that we can to help ski resorts, does that leave less moisture for the great plains or other moisture dependent agriculture areas?  Is there any correlation to the recent Colorado floods and wild fires?  Does anyone with the exception of those who will profit from this practice really think this is a good idea?  Shouldn’t this be managed on a more global scale as now Wyoming and other states are starting to implement their own programs?  The questions could go on and on.

In the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports there is dialog on potential geoengineering solutions to slow down climate change.  One significant item referenced is Solar Radiation Management (SRM).  SRM is a proposal for mitigating the warming of Earth by reflecting a percentage of the sun’s light and heat back into space.  This is proposed to be accomplished in one of two ways; whitening existing clouds or by introducing new more reflective clouds in to the atmosphere.  There are hundreds of patents that have been filed for everything from injecting seawater into existing clouds to spraying stratospheric aerosols from airplanes that include chemicals like aluminum and barium.  Historically when volcanic eruptions have sent plumes of fine particle sediment in to the stratosphere it has resided there for up to a year and led to cooling so it is logical to assume manmade particles would have a similar effect.

According to the latest full report from the IPCC, ‘SRM remains untested and unimplemented’.  Despite that statement, there is growing evidence that SRM programs have already been implemented for over a decade for ‘proof of concept’ and scientific studies in the U.S. and abroad.  There are numerous news reports in cities through the U.S. that have been reporting on this on and off for a decade and there are organizations that exist for the sole purpose of governance on the subject and similar.  Searching for details on SRM’s or chemtrails using your favorite search engine can lead you down a path that feels like an episode of X-files so I am purposefully not including any links and hoping you will do some research yourself.

While I have no knowledge if SRM’s are already being used or not I feel the need to ask the same question as I did in the Colorado weather modification paragraph; does anyone with the exception of those who will profit from this practice really think this is a good idea?  Assuming we moved forward with SRM’s we might see temperature rise mitigation but it would have no positive effect on ocean acidification and would contribute to additional air and water quality issues along with negative health implications.  In addition, blotting out the sun would reduce the effectiveness of transitioning away from fossil fuels and towards clean energy solutions like solar.

In my opinion, our burning of fossil fuels has been enough deliberate alteration of the ecosystem.  Implementing SRM’s is just digging the whole deeper and making it more difficult to do the right thing.  What needs to be done to fix this issue is pretty obvious but until more people get their voice heard, nothing is going to change so I encourage you to educate yourself using scientifically peer researched material and engage in a conversation.  The more quickly climate change becomes an acceptable topic of conversation as opposed to a polarizing political issue, the better off we will all be.  Until then, perhaps buy some stock in companies that make vitamin D.

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