Sunday, 28 March 2010

Bubble Bath Oceans Could Beat Global Warming

A physicist at Harvard has an idea for fighting climate change that's radical in every sense of the word. He wants to pump massive amounts of microbubbles into the world's oceans, increasing their reflectivity and cooling their waters.
Professor Russell Seitz proposed his idea at a recent geoengineering conference. The tiny bubbles essentially act as "mirrors made of air," reflecting the sunlight and keeping oceans cool. Early simulations showed that bubbles could potentially cool the Earth by up to 3 degrees Celsius.
But don't put your robe on just yet—there's still plenty of obstacles before the Atlantic Ocean becomes the Atlantic Jacuzzi. The formidable task of actually getting the bubbles into the oceans is largely unexplored. Seitz has suggested deploying the bubbles with boats, pumping a mixture of water and compressed air into their wakes, but if the water has too few particles the bubbles pop before they do any reflecting.
To truly mount the massive effort that reversing climate change will require, we'll need to come up with ideas that capture the public imagination, and Seitz's bubble bath proposal at least has that going for it. Geoengineering has never seemed like such a refreshing option.