It happened one very warm day when I was driving back to the ranch. I had to stop the truck because I felt lost even with the paved road ahead. It was mostly because of the clouds. Not because they obstructed my vision it was more because of their reflections. And my own reflexions. While stretching my legs I thought that probably at that very moment about half of Earth was covered by clouds.
I grabbed a piece of watermelon.
I spitted some black seeds.
- "So now some scientists are talking about 'geoengineering' the planet", I said to myself. "It seems that some are thinking on injecting sulfate particles in the upper atmosphere to increase the albedo. Shooting the clouds with some poison that nobody knows what´s going to feed us back can´t be called a 'escape route' from global warming. So vapor trails left by aircrafts are environmentally friendly and cow farts are not?"
- "Hey, finally somebody advocates for us!", a voice said from behind me.
I looked around and saw nobody. There was only me, the truck, the clouds and a black Angus chewing some grass.
I took another bite of watermelon. Summers are so warm down here in the Pampas...
- "Some want to spray aerosol compounds into the atmosphere by utilizing commercial, military and private aircrafts and calves are condemned for belching? It´s not fair...", I thought and sighed.
- "That´s what I said, thank you", said the voice again.
- "Who´s there? Is bad enough that you don´t show yourself but reading my thoughts is something I won´t allow you"
- "Sorry, sorry I didn´t mean to disturb your thoughts. My name is Negrita and I think that since aerosols cut down sunlight by large amounts, they may be spinning down the hydrological cycle of the planet. That´s pure science distorsion, maddness based on volcanic eruptions, come on!", she said.
- "Well, nice to meet you Negrita, I´m 99", I told the cow.
- "Yeah, I know, I read your blog"
- "Well, thanks. So your opinion is...?"
- "I think that using sea water as a source for hygroscopic nuclei may produce enough cloud cover to provided an offset a year's worth of carbon increase"
- "I don´t understand..."
- "See, it´s about evaporating 50 kilograms of sea water per second. We could even, if we wished, drive the problem backwards. It is also fully controllable: you can switch it off!"
- "You mean it can be better than giant reflecting mirrors in space, or laying reflecting film in deserts, or floating white plastic islands in the ocean mimicking the reflective effect of sea?"
- "Yeah, I think it might work better"
- "So you think it´s all about the clouds?"
- "Yep. Clouds and opacity. Clouds and clouds lifetime. Clouds and albedo. Every thing's albedo is measured by how much they reflect sunlight. Bouncing back the light makes them shine, and the Earth shines like a diamond in the Universe. High thin clouds are better blankets in trapping warmth, while low thick clouds make better coolers. Want some grass?"- "Thanks no, I´m on a diet. How do you manage your weight?", I said as I steered at the sky and thought on how much clouds have changed during my lifetime. High, warming clouds had increased while low clouds had decreased"
- "I sweat. I like being black in Summer. Keeps me in shape"
- "Then again back to the subject. Sunlight heats the ocean, water escapes into the atmosphere and falls out as rain..."
- "... non-polluting, planet-saving mist..." - "Not a bad idea"
- "... or just cut the crap with the oil. It´s gonna rain, gotta go. Bye", and she left.
- "Bye Negrita, glad to meet you. See you around!"
I saved the rest of the watermelon for later and jumped back in the truck. I felt not so lost anymore.
Hot Summer days and watermelons just seem to go perfect together...
buenos aires argentina