The Loh Down On Science

Water Fight

Save the planet with ... giant water guns?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Meet an international team of playful yet deadly serious atmospheric scientists. They’ve proposed spraying the atmosphere with salt water from giant water guns. Because it’s fun? Sure, but also to create clouds that will reflect sunlight and keep the planet cooler.

It’s a geoengineering idea to counterbalance the effects of global warming.

In theory, the salt in saltwater provides the right-sized particles for more moisture to collect on, forming clouds without getting big enough to fall as rain.

Here’s how the team envisions it would work: Ten ships head out to sea, spraying a fine saltwater mist from specialized guns into the air over sixty miles. This makes a cloud large enough that scientists can study the effects by satellite.

It’s a controversial idea, so the team is proposing a pilot experiment first, to test the idea’s feasibility.

Or maybe it's just an excuse to spray each other with giant water guns. That's fun!

The Loh Down on Science is produced by LDOS Media Lab, with 89.3 KPCC Pasadena, California. And made possible by the generous support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.


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