AGU: Geoengineering costs

How much would it cost to dim the sun a little with a dusty layer of aerosol particles in the stratosphere? The service comes for free if you can find an obliging volcano, like Mount Pinatubo, but they can hardly be relied on in the long term. Some schemes for doing it to order, though, could be pretty cheap, according to an analysis by Alan Robock and colleagues at Rutgers.  Read more

AGU: A new way to cool the earth

On Thursday and Friday there will be some sessions on “geoengineering” — intervening in the climate deliberately in an attempt to counteract greenhouse warming. One of the presentations, previewed at a press conference today, was an idea for a way of cooling the earth I hadn’t come across before: stripping off some of the high cloud.  Read more

AGU: Steve Ostro RIP

The downside of bumping into old friends and acquaintances, as you do constantly at a meeting like this, is that you will occasionally hear sad news. Today I learned that Steve Ostro of JPL had died at the weekend, of complications related to cancer. Steve was a pioneer in the radar mapping of asteroids, leading a team that got most of the firsts in this field. As he told David Chandler in our feature on near-earth asteroid hunting last summer:  … Read more

AGU: Three from Titan

Lots of interesting stuff from Titan on Tuesday (forgive late blogging — my computer was knackered). The Cassini spacecraft has finished its primary mission, and its science team is understandably proud of its discoveries. What caught my eye, though, were three not-yet-quite-discoveries: things to follow up on with further data analysis and more observations in the extended mission.  Read more

AAAS: Talking about talking about climate

This afternoon brough a session entitled “Transforming our ability to predict climate change and its effects” and a session called “Global warming heats up: How the media covers climate change”. I wasn’t sure which to go to — but I had a pretty good sense of which would be more popular. And so it proved: the new climate science session had 50 people in the audience at the beginning, the media session was standing room only with about 200 people. Hearing people talk about climate science loses out to hearing people talk about talking about climate science in a pretty big way. And I’d be pretty sure that the proportion of journalists in the audience at the media talk was way higher than at the other talk.