Tuesday, June 19, 2007

It's the Water, Stupid.

If the Global Climate Warming Change crowd were really interested in combatting the problems associated with having Anthropogenic Climate Change Or Whatever (ACCOW), they would pour every last cent into ways to deliver fresh water to the dry spots of the Earth.

With enough water, people can thrive very nicely in very hot climates. In fact, water tends to keep surface temperatures down, as clouds and vegetation interfere with the ability of the ground to absorb heat. Swamps are preferred to deserts, especially now that we know DDT won't kill all the eagles.

Some ideas:

  • Efficient desalination of ocean water
  • Capturing rain water over the ocean
  • Piping sea water into the desert to evaporate, make marshes, or even inland seas
Rather than try to adapt to the warmer temperatures that are allegedly coming, the folks who are convinced we're having ACCOW seem dead set on trying to control everything but the one thing that matters: water.


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3 comments:

KnightErrant said...

I agree that water is a vital concern as the earth warms. But, there are no easy solutions.

1) Current desalination techniques are heavily energy consumptive. Low-tech solutions are possible using solar radiation and evaporation to distill seawater. This is a solution that needs to be expanded.

2) It takes hundreds of square miles of watershed to fill a reservoir. It rains less over the ocean than it does over land. Any attempt to capture ocean rain would require a massive structure.

3) Making artificial marshes in the desert has been tried, so to speak, in the California in 1905 when irrigation canals failed and the Colorado River flowed into the desert creating the Salton Sea. It didn't work so well. A hundred years later the sea is dying because of its salinity (evaporation leaves the salts behind). This is with a freshwater source.

4) An idea you didn't mention is using underground aquifers as reservoirs by pumping reclaimed water into them. They make excellent reservoirs (no evaporation). We have been over pumping from aquifers for generations and recharging them is a far better idea than aboveground reservoirs.

Thanks for encouraging me to think.

Loren Heal said...

Yes, those are all valid points.

1) A nuclear power plant sitting on the shore would provide enough power to make fresh water by distillation. But as you point out, solar radiation is better.

2) Yeah, that's pretty weak, except you don't need to capture rain, but to condense water vapor. Ocean air is pretty salty, though.

3) In the Sahara, Gobi, and SW US deserts, find a natural basin, or even a plain, and flood it with seawater. The idea is to make clouds, not to use the water itself. Dealing with the excess salt is the big problem, and perhaps is too hard to solve.

4) I like the aquifer idea. You'd have to make good and sure you're putting clean water down there, though, and that you don't allow the {terrorists|polluters} to contaminate it.

One town in my area uses their wastewater, after treatment, for irrigation. I suppose most of that eventually evaporates.

Dan Kauffman said...

Use giant seagoing tugs to move icebergs north to areas where the water is needed

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