Gaia Guru Urges Ocean Pipes To Fix Earth's Climate
LONDON - A series of giant pipes in the oceans to mix surface and deeper water could be an emergency fix for the Earth's damaged climate system, the scientist behind the Gaia theory said on Wednesday.
James Lovelock, whose Gaia hypothesis that planet Earth is a living entity has fuelled controversy for three decades, thinks the stakes are so high that radical solutions must be tried -- even if they ultimately fail.
In a letter to the journal Nature, he proposes vertical pipes 100 to 200 meters long and 10 meters wide be placed in the sea, so that wave motion pumps up water and fertilizes algae on the surface.
This algal bloom would push down carbon dioxide levels and also produce dimethyl sulphide, helping to seed sunlight-reflecting clouds.
"If we can't heal the planet directly, we may be able to help the planet heal itself," Lovelock, of the University of Oxford, and co-author Chris Rapley, from London's Science Museum, said.
The two scientists argued it was unlikely any of the well-intentioned technical or social schemes for limiting carbon would restore the planet's status quo.
International climate experts have warned that global warming, blamed mainly on greenhouse gases emitted by burning fossil fuels, will bring more droughts, heatwaves, floods and rising sea levels.
Commenting on Lovelock's idea, Brian Hoskins, professor of meteorology at the University of Reading, said it was scientifically sound but there were huge unknowns.
"This is the latest in a line of geo-engineering
solutions," he said. "In my opinion, our uncertainties over the likely regional impact of what our greenhouse gas emissions may do is high. The uncertainties over what these solutions may do is an order of magnitude higher."