Clouds to reduce global warming?
We all like gazing into the sky marked by white fluffy clouds, right? We have also known since our kindergartens that clouds give rain. What many of us probably didn’t hear before is that clouds could restore earth’s atmosphere and lands. According to Ray Taylor, a former international development worker and coordinator of The Global Cooling Project, with clouds, cooling results will be visible only ten years after local projects are initiated on a large scale.
In the development of The Global Cooling Project, Ray has been inspired by the rainwater harvesting work that hydrologist Michal Kravcik proposed to increase soil moisture in arid regions, resulting in globe-cooling clouds. He recommends the project:
“To be put into action in hot, dry places, catching and holding rainwater on a large scale… helping to produce clouds and thus cooling the planet.”
Ray further explains that the three approaches to check global warming are to stop the sun’s heat from coming into our atmosphere, to take some of the heat that’s already in, and carry it back out again and to reduce the greenhouse effect by reducing emissions.
The third is the most widely practiced approach. Ray feels it’s not enough. Listen to what he ahs to say about approaches 1 and 2. Low altitude clouds reflect light from the sun (approach one). The sun’s energetic heat also creates thunder clouds when vapor rises rapidly (approach two). Ray says thunder clouds are like ‘giant anvil-shaped radiators’, transferring huge amounts of excess energy from Earth’s soil into outerspace. If you do rainwater harvesting on a large scale in places like West Africa, India and Florida, you’ll get more of these clouds. Rainwater harvesting is a family of traditional and modern methods to catch and hold rainwater. The water harvested is used to keep soil moist in the dry season. In these normally dry areas, moisture in the soil can now evaporate to form clouds. How would the project be beneficial for semi-arid areas? The answer is: In a big way. It’d lead to more rainfall preventing drought, less flooding (because rain is trapped during the wettest times), local cooling effects, increased water supply, improved agriculture (moist soil means a better home for plants), and greater biodiversity. Ray is positive that results would be visible in about two years from implementing the project.
Ray has begun contacting leaders in Africa to work out leadership of the project, and a few other places he would like to work with including India are also in the Global South.
Wealthier countries that want to slow global cooling can pay these areas to do the work of installing [rainwater harvesting projects] and the local communities get the spin-off benefits of jobs, local climate improvement, etc.
Ray hopes to make a significant difference in global warming in the next two decades. Wow, now that’s a ray of sunshine!