Purdue scientists propose to curtail anthropogenic global warming by manufacturing snow in Antarctica

I’m not making this up. Here is the paper and its abstract:

Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology 2012 ; e-Viewdoi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/JAMC-D-12-0110.1

CO2 Snow Deposition in Antarctica to Curtail Anthropogenic Global Warming

Ernest Agee,1 Andrea Orton and John Rogers

Department of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana


A scientific plan is presented that proposes the construction of CO2 deposition plants in the Antarctic for removing CO2 gas from the Earth’s atmosphere. The Antarctic continent offers the best environment on Earth for CO2 deposition at 1 bar of pressure, and temperatures closest to that required for terrestrial air CO2 snow deposition, 133°K. This plan consists of several components, including: (a) air chemistry and CO2 snow deposition, (b) the deposition plant and a closed-loop liquid nitrogen refrigeration cycle, (c) the mass storage landfill, (d) power plant requirements, (e) prevention of dry ice sublimation and (f) disposal (or use) of thermal waste. Calculations demonstrate that this project is worthy of consideration, whereby 446 deposition plants supported by 16 1200-MW wind farms can remove 1 B tons (1012 kg) of CO2 annually (a reduction of 0.5 ppmv), which can be stored in an equivalent “landfill” volume of 2 km x 2 km x 160 m (insulated to prevent dry ice sublimation).

The individual deposition plant, with a 100m x 100m x 100m refrigeration chamber, would produce approximately 0.4m of CO2 snow per day. The solid CO2 would be excavated into a 380m x 380m x 10m insulated landfill, that would allow one year of storage amounting to 0.00224B tons of carbon. Demonstrated success of a prototype system in the Antarctic would be followed by a complete installation of all 446 plants for CO2 snow deposition and storage (amounting to 1B tons annually), with wind farms positioned in favorable coastal regions with katabatic wind currents.

Like all wind, Katabatic winds are intermittent, but they can blow at hurricane force. Now what could go wrong with that?

Sounds like a few new green jobs.

This scheme, like all geoengineering schemes, is one of academia’s answers to a phantom problem. Because carbon dioxide is plant food and necessary for all life, we should not waste time and resources trying to get the atmospheric concentration down to some imagined correct magic number, see “A Modest Proposal: Triple Your Carbon Footprint.”  The geologic history of Earth shows that the normal concentration of carbon dioxide is at least three times what it is now.  Most plants and animals evolved under this higher concentration.

Although the authors of this paper are just trying to fill a perceived need (and maybe acquire politically correct grant money), all geoengineering schemes are foolish and unnecessary. Too bad they don’t direct their expertise toward something useful.

For another view, read an article from the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists: “20 reasons why geoengineering may be a bad idea.”

See also:

Geoengineering Wacky Schemes to Control Climate

British Balloon to spew sulfur, another wacky geoengineering scheme

Girthic Warming



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