Wider wakes make clouds whiter
A fleet of 1,500 unmanned sailing ships may become the new weapon in the
fight against global warming, by creating wakes that whiten clouds to reflect the
heat of the Sun better.
The idea was put forward by a scientist at the University of Edinburgh. The concept involves vessels powered by a radical rotary-sail technology that could patrol
selected areas of ocean, spraying tiny droplets of seawater into existing clouds. The
droplets increase the surface area and so whiten the cloud, bouncing more
radiation back into space and offsetting the warming caused by burning
fossil fuels. “The beauty of the system is that it runs on wind and seawater,” said
Stephen Salter, author of a paper published in the Royal Society’s
“You can apply the effect locally, to cool down the Arctic or the seas around coral reefs. It would give us complete control. We could even take ourselves back to a little ice age. The effects can be turned up or down, or shut off completely if something unexpected happens,” he added.