November 03, 2013
Less Rain From Earth Cooling Geoengineering?

Sulfates released into the atmosphere to cool the planet would reduce water evaporation and therefore reduce rain. The article gets into

Massive satellite arrays to reduce insolation could avoid this problem. Their orientation could be changed in a 24 hour cycle so as to let thru more light when the light will strike water and less light when the light will strike land. They could even most reduce light over deserts so the deserts wouldn't dry out as much. This process could even be tuned to let in more light on areas of the ocean from which evaporated water is most likely to precipitate on land. So, for example, let in more light where the prevailing winds off of the coasts of northwest Canada and Alaska will carry the water over land.

Given sufficiently cheap photovoltaics and robotic construction machines the resulting electric power could be used to drive desalinators and water pumps to move massive amounts of clean water far in land. Imagine desalinators on the coasts of Oregon, Washington State, and British Columbia pumping water hundreds of miles inland to irrigate agriculture. The water then would evaporate from farm fields and rain down again even further inland.

Another idea: picture offshore floating structures covered with solar panels that use their energy to pump water up pipes a couple of hundred feet to be sprayed into the air. They could increase water evaporation. Probably this would cost far too much for the amount of water generated. But in a world with really cheap energy and huge numbers of robots a mechanized means of doing evaporation just where you want it might be affordable.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2013 November 03 09:53 AM 


Comments
bbartlog said at November 3, 2013 7:21 PM:

You can evaporate water and generate energy at the same time: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_tower_%28downdraft%29

Brett Bellmore said at November 4, 2013 4:02 PM:

You could also filter the incoming light, to optimize the spectral distribution for photosynthetic efficiency. Get the most biological activity out of the least heating that way.

Shean said at November 5, 2013 2:50 AM:

It would be no harder than building a nuclear bomb in the year 1880!

Engineer-Poet said at November 5, 2013 3:13 AM:

When the earth starts cooling, the heat reservoir of the oceans will reverse its massive heat-takeup and there will be relatively more evaporation (compared to land) without any assistance at all.

This phenomemon is visible on an annual basis, about this time of year, in the region of Michigan, Ontario, Ohio and so forth.  It's called lake-effect precipitation.

Tom Billings said at November 5, 2013 12:02 PM:

Getting desalinated water should become a far lower energy problem. Graphene sheets can now be pierced by electron beams in a regular pattern with holes just large enough to let water through, without letting any salt ions through. This is already moving towards the market at LockMart and several other companies. Clean water *should* cease to be a problem.

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