So let’s say, thanks to the reality challenged wingnut brigades and associated ingorati, climate change hits a tipping point. And now the whole world is looking down the barrel of a clathrate gun. Well, there might still be solutions. Afterall, this isn’t just a political problem, at its heart it’s a thermodynamics problem. Any second year engineering student can swear on a stack of tables six inches thick that thermodynamic problems often have solutions. In this case, the solution would have to be … err … large:
Slashgear — A group of scientists from Scotland have suggested a unique approach to fighting global warming here on earth. The scientists believe that the answer to global warming on Earth is a giant dust cloud blasted from an asteroid to act as a sunshade for Earth. According to the scientists, a project that reduced the amount of solar radiation the Earth receives by only 1.7% could offset the effects of the global increase in temperature of 3.6°F.
That might work. We’re not talking about diverting the object significantly, only putting some kind of snowblowers or dust agitators all over it. Which is fortunate: the delta V needed to divert a dino-killer asteroid appreciably and quickly is considerably more by orders of magnitude than Bruce Willils of Ben Afleck had at their disposal in one of the worse sci-fi movies ever produced.
But there are certainly concerns with it. It’s not real controllable, blast too much dust and it’s a long wintery wait while it clears out. The dust would have to be super thick by interplanetary standards to knock insolation down by a point or two during part of earth’s orbit. That would probably mean spectacular meteor showers when some of the dust got close and came streaking in. If the dust wasn’t pretty confidently homogenous — no big city-block sized chunks in it — I suppose that would be OK. Meteor showers are cool. It would have to be regularly renewed, basically streaming; the solar wind would push out small particles quickly and they would leave our vicinity. What else, what am I missing? It could be turned into a weapon of sorts maybe? He who controls the dust controls the universe? Or at least the cryosphere …