Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Nuclear winter vs greenhouse effect

  (+3, -1)
(+3, -1)
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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.

bungston, Nov 24 2005

Ask a scientist (1993) http://www.newton.d.../environ/ENV033.HTM
[jutta, Aug 31 2006]


       At face value this is a great idea, and I'm not going any deeper than that. [+]
wagster, Nov 24 2005

       It has to work at least as well as...oh...lighting yourself on fire to cancel out severe hypothermia.
sleeka, Nov 24 2005

       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 penguins.
st3f, Nov 24 2005

       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.
hidden truths, Nov 25 2005

       I reinvented a Futurama joke. Oh well. Happens all the time.
bungston, Nov 25 2005

       In all fairness, it's in the 31st century, so they're probably copying you.
hidden truths, Nov 25 2005

       //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.
ldischler, Aug 31 2006


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