Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Desert Reflections

Once in a while a bit of errant nonsense comes along to tease one’s usage of superlatives.

As I have noted. The desert fails to absorb solar energy because it does not have any place to put it. It dumps all of it back into space over the diurnal cycle. If we were to cover the entire Sahara as per this scheme under a reflective sheet, we may make the process more efficient because we prevent a portion been initially been absorbed by the sand and rock.

The fact is that once the sun sets, all that heat disappears back into space in a hurry as there is poor supply of heat retaining moisture. Every desert traveler has complained about the severe chill of the night from the earliest writers. It is so efficient, that it is fair to say that the direct effect of deserts on border lands is surprisingly moderate. What I mean is that deserts do not spawn vast storm systems and more realistically they eat storms systems by swiftly draining them of moisture, thus releasing even more heat into space.

This is of course a continuance of the strange idea that the world needs to be cooled off by mankind. It is my position that the deserts need to be reforested and restored to a moisture rich status so as to absorb all that incoming energy. This will warm the Northern hemisphere by a couple of degrees while creating livelihoods for another six billion or so people.

This restoration would restore climate conditions extant during the Bronze Age in which the northern climate was a couple of degrees warmer.

The past few months have seen no end of researchers attempting to tie their research to the global warming hysteria to better promote funding. This has created a background of noise that buries the good stuff.

Fix For Global Warming? Scientists Propose Covering Deserts With Reflective Sheeting

ScienceDaily (Dec. 23, 2008) — A radical plan to curb global warming and so reverse the climate change caused by our rampant burning of fossil fuels since the industrial revolution would involve covering parts of the world's deserts with reflective sheeting, according to researchers writing in the International Journal of Global Environmental Engineers Takayuki Toyama of company Avix Inc in Kanagawa, Japan, and Alan Stainer of Middlesex University Business School, London, UK, complain that there have been very few innovative remedies discussed to combat the phenomenon of global warming caused by human activities, despite the widespread debate of the last few decades. They now suggest that uncompromising proposals are now needed if we are to avert ecological disaster.

Finding a way to 'stop', or at least minimise, global warming and to even cool the Earth can be achieved by focusing on the primary heat balance between the amount heat produced by human activities and the loss of heat to outer space. They emphasise that efforts to reduce atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide, are not likely to work soon enough.

Pessimism that minimising carbon dioxide will no longer solve the problem seems to be spreading among environmental specialists," they say. As such, a lateral-thinking approach that acknowledges the fact that the heat created by human activities does not even amount to 1/10,000th of the heat that the earth receives from the sun.

Toyama and Stainer suggest that heat reflecting sheets could be used to cover arid areas and not only reflect the sun's heat back into space by increasing the Earth's overall reflectivity, or albedo, but also to act as an anti-desertification measure. The technology would have relatively minimal cost and lead to positive results quickly.
They add that the same approach might also be used to cover areas of the oceans to increase the Earth's total heat reflectivity.

The team's calculations suggest that covering an area of a little more than 60,000 square kilometres with reflective sheet, at a cost of some $280 billion, would be adequate to offset the heat balance and lead to a net cooling without any need to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide. However, they caution that it would be necessary to control the area covered very carefully to prevent overcooling and to continue with efforts to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.

Journal reference:

1. Toyama et al. Cosmic Heat Emission concept to 'stop' global warming. International Journal of Global Environmental Issues, 2009; 9 (1/2): 151 DOI: 10.1504/IJGENVI.2009.022093

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