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The greenhouse effect: certain gases, including CO2 emitted by burning fossil fuels, serve to trap heat at the earth's surface by preventing it from radiating back into space. The earth's surface warms up.
Nuclear winter: the theoretical situation in which massive nuclear strikes hurl much dust
up into the stratosphere where it reflects light back into space. This light does not reach the earths surface and so the earth cools. Similar effects have been documented after single massive volcanic explosions (eg Mount Pintaubo).
I propose that nuclear devices be shaped so as to hurl a maximum amount of dust and debris skyward. This could be done in regions distant from human habitation, such as Antarctica. The dustwould not remain airborne permanently, only for months to years, and so a gradual approach should allow ecologic engineers to offset global warming and the disasters it might bring.
Ask a scientist (1993)
[jutta, Aug 31 2006]
||At face value this is a great idea, and I'm not going any deeper than that. [+]
||It has to work at least as well as...oh...lighting yourself on fire to cancel out severe hypothermia.
||Not keen on the idea myself. I believe in
the maxim that you should take
responsibility for what you tinker with.
The less we play with the planet's
atmosphere the more we can rely on it
keeping stasis. If we mess with
something over the polar cap we may
need to change something elsewhere.
Plus a localised nuclear winter (doesn't
that amount of cloud usually cover a
whole hemisphere?) would probably
destroy the wildlife over whichever pole
to detonate the device... and I happen
to like both polar bears and king
||This was in Futurama at one point.
Fry - "It's a good thing global warming never happened"
Leela - "It did. But it's a good thing nuclear winter cancelled it out"
Yes I know, I watch too much TV.
||I reinvented a Futurama joke. Oh well. Happens all the time.
||In all fairness, it's in the 31st century, so they're probably copying you.
||//such as Antarctica//
A fine idea--even if not original--except for the part about Antarctica. You really want to loft it near the equator, where it will do some good. In Iran, for instance.