Weekly Research
Could marine cloud brightening help scientists further understand the climate system?

The idea of climate engineering is controversial, but as greenhouse gases continue to accumulate in our atmosphere, scientists are beginning to look at possible emergency measures.

A new University of Washington study looks at marine cloud brightening, which is being investigated by an on-campus group as a promising strategy to offset global warming. The idea, which could be a short-term measure to offset global warming in a future extreme emergency, is to spray saltwater into the air to make marine clouds reflect more incoming solar rays. Small-scale tests of marine cloud brightening would also help answer scientific questions about clouds and aerosols, Atmospheric Sciences’ professors Rob Wood and Thomas Ackerman and their colleagues found.

“A major, unsolved question in climate science is: How much do aerosol particles cool the planet?,” said Wood, who was recently named the College of the Environment’s Associate Dean for Research. “A controlled test would measure the extent to which we are able to alter clouds, and test an important component of climate models.”

Read more at UW Today »