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Ping Pong Albedo Enhancement

The earth's suffering from global warming because of its decreased albedo
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(+6, -1)
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The ice-caps and sea-ice are crucial to the albedo of our planet. As sunlight falls on our earth, part of it is reflected back into space. The main natural reflectors are polar ice. Now these ice-caps are melting, and so the sunlight gets trapped (absorbed by the bare ocean), due to the lower albedo of oceans. This warms up the planet, with potentially catastrophic consequences.

A simple idea: spread gazillions of biodegradable white ping pong balls all over the polar oceans, in order to artificially increase our albedo and reduce global warming.

The advantage is that the ping pong balls stay around all year, so in the summertime as well (when ice melts). This should increase our albedo considerably.

The biodegradability of the ping pong balls makes them so that if they happen to be swallowed by fish, they won't kill it.

django, May 24 2006

Ping_20Pong_20Reservoir Similar idea [hippo, May 24 2006]

Albedo - definition of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albedo
I had no idea what an 'albedo' was, so here's a link for others like me. [kuupuuluu, May 24 2006]

"So we replace the Arctic ice with ping-pong balls, problem solved!" http://omniorthogon...ere-all-doomed.html
He mentions the halfbakery, but may not be aware there really is one. [ldischler, Aug 09 2006]

playing devil's advocate to win. http://xkcd.com/164/
this is what I'm gonna do. [bleh, Aug 24 2007]

Plastic in the oceans http://www.bestlife...lastic_are_we.shtml
A depressing read [imaginality, Aug 27 2007]

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       Watch out, the climate's increasing!   

       Wont the layer of ping-pong balls shade the photosynthesising algae and seaweeds? This may not be so bad, since we might want to kill off some of those rogue algae blooms that form out in the ever warming oceans.
zen_tom, May 24 2006

       The poor ping pong balls... won't somebody please think of the ping pong balls!
Jinbish, May 24 2006

       I keep reading this as "Libido Enhancement". Not sure how one would accomplish that with Ping-Pong Balls...but it's definitely the last thing I need.   

       Or IS it?
sleeka, May 24 2006

       While I like pingpong balls, I'm hard pressed to extend a bun to matters conerning global warming (although I'm not doubting your pingpong-ball theory).   

       Global warming inccured by humans is hugely insignificant compared to natural fluctuations of the earths' climate. The last ice age was a mere few hundred years ago, and the middle ages was alot warmer than our climate is now. Studies suggest global warming could also be affected by fluctuations in the sun which, although is gradually dying, is also becoming hotter with time. Other reports suggest the earth itself is cooling from within the core. All in all, global warming is probably happening, but nowhere near to the scale everyone assumes it is.
kuupuuluu, May 24 2006

       Dude, pass the kool aide.
Galbinus_Caeli, May 24 2006

       [kuupuuluu] you may be right - you may be wrong. We just don't know. But, I've heard people using this non-argument before to justify various uglies.   

       Whether global warming is on its way, and whether or not we're to blame - is completely irrelevant - it's still in our interests to develop cleaner and more efficient methods of producing and using power, both for environmental, and even more excitingly, for economic reasons.   

       I'm not suggesting you are one of those people who might use this particular non-argument in order to absolve various people, governments and organisations of their responsibilities (and opportunities) - after all, you've simply (and quite correctly) pointed out that we're just not sure what the causes are for the documented rises in temperature - but if you were, I'd point out exactly how silly and moot an argument it was.
zen_tom, May 24 2006

       I hear you [zen_tom] and completely agree with you on developing cleaner methods of producing power. And as you said, I am most certainly not absolving anyone of any environmental responsibilities they inherit, I was merely trying to quench any 'global warming-obsessive' posts which may have resulted in [django]'s idea. As long as people are aware of it and we are embracing new developments, I see nothing much else we can do as humans. It just niggles me sometimes that everyone considers it something serious to worry about when there are a multitude of worldwide problems far more demanding and far more short- term than the global warming issue.
kuupuuluu, May 24 2006

       Common people, stop making fun of my English kills. What I meant to say is: the climate is rising due to dangerous levels of carbondioxide which make the icecaps decrease via which the oceans rise as well. Hence: the climate and the seas are increasing rapidly, by more than a centimeter per year!!
django, May 24 2006

       A centimeter a year! <Turns and runs for higher ground, screaming>
ldischler, Aug 09 2006

       //A centimeter a year! <Turns and runs for higher ground, screaming>//   

       In other words, the city of New York becomes uninhabitable in 2070. London too. Amsterdam, Rotterdam, gone. Los Angeles, no more. Etc...
django, Aug 09 2006

       A rise of 2 feet by 2070 would not be good, and it would certainly increase the area of New York in the 100-year flood zone, but it wouldn't make the city uninhabitable. In any case, the oceans are now rising by 2mm a year. While that is twice what it used to be, it's certainly not 1 cm/year.
ldischler, Aug 09 2006

       The pingpong balls should be silver. They will be more reflective and that will also discourage biofilms.
bungston, Aug 24 2007

       Can I ask a silly question? If we floated pingpong balls across the ocean, we would obviously reflect more light, but at the same time, wouldn't it decrease evaporation, reducing rainfall?   

       Wouldn't it be better to decrease the albedo of the water surface, and increase the albedo of the resultant clouds? Kind of like a really big, solar powered heat pump...
Custardguts, Aug 27 2007

       I'm glad you specified these balls will be biodegradable. There's more than enough plastic crap in the oceans already (see link).
imaginality, Aug 27 2007

       Why not just coat the sahara desert in ping pong balls instead? There's not as much desert as there is ocean, but there's also not near as much life, plus it's at the equator, and thus receives more sunlight anyway than the vast majority of the ocean.   

       As a bonus, ping pong balls are probably more likely to reflect light 365 than cactus blossoms.
shapu, Aug 28 2007

       The life in the arctic oceans should be used to shade right? therefore the ping pong balls would BENEFIT them wouldn't it? I think its a cool idea, it doesn't necessarily have to be ping pong balls, it could be something like polystyrene sheets/balls or whatever. The manufacture of these would be environmentally damaging though.
The Duke, Mar 17 2008


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