Skip to main Content
Alaska Beat

Could sea mist sprayed into the atmosphere slow Arctic melt?

  • Author:
  • Updated: September 29, 2016
  • Published March 20, 2012

With methane releases threatening to accelerate climate change, an Edinburgh University professor has a new scheme to cool the earth by pumping fine-mist sea water into the atmosphere, including from Bering Sea islands, according to an article from the BBC.

Stephen Salter has shown that the saltwater spray could whiten clouds and reflect more sunlight, according to the article. The idea is that it would keep radiation from reaching earth and cool water heading north. Salter has previously recommended that special ships pump the spray from big towers. But now he wants to do it from land, with up to 100 large columns needed to reverse climate change.

Salter suggested doing it on islands in the 53-mile-wide Bering Strait, home to Little Diomede in the U.S. and Big Diomede in Russia. Other locations could be the Faroe Islands between Iceland and Norway.

Scientists fear Arctic sea ice could melt more quickly than expected, releasing large amounts of methane into the atmosphere. Methane is said to be the cause behind two major events, 55 million and 251 million years ago, that ended much life on Earth.

Cloud reflectivity modification is one of other man-made technique scientists are studying to reverse global warming. Like other ideas, it's controversial, the article notes.

"And last year, the cloud-whitening idea was also criticized by scientists who calculated that using the wrong droplet size could lead to warming - though Prof Salter says this can be eliminated through experimentation," the article notes.

Read more about the idea, here.

For more newsletters click here

Local news matters.

Support independent, local journalism in Alaska.