8 weird ways to save the Earth

Geoengineering, or deliberately tinkering with the earth's climate, could help if global warming proves disastrous for mankind, but the ideas are untested and the risks unknown.

1 of 8
BACKNEXT
Cloud whitening
Cloud whitening
How it works: The idea here is to use satellite-guided sailing ships to crisscross the oceans, constantly spewing a fine stream of sea mist into the clouds.

Turns out particles, in this case the salt in the sea mist, will cause clouds to become denser, reflecting more sunlight back into space and keeping the planet cooler.

The novel ship design actually dates back nearly a century, when the German inventor Anton Flettner built one that crossed the Atlantic. The mist towers are hollow and rotate in the wind, acting as sails. It can cross the Atlantic faster than a conventional sail boat and do so without a crew. The power for the mist pumps is generated by the turbine under the hull.

Each ship would cost $2 or $3 million, making the entire program cost just a few billion dollars.

About 1500 ships would be needed to maintain current temperatures, according to John Latham, a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

Beyond the machine: Like most scientists studying geoengineering, Latham said it is not a substitute for reducing greenhouse gas emissions as it does not address other problems associated with too much carbon dioxide.

He also said the idea, like most other geoengineering ideas, needs much more study before it's deployed on a wide scale, as any other potential side effects are still unknown.


NEXT: Space-based Frisbee deflectors
Last updated December 02 2009: 10:52 AM ET
Email | Print | Share  |  RSS
 
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)
More Galleries
My part-time job is a dead end, but it's all I can find CNNMoney profiles 4 of America's 7 million part-time workers unable to find full-time jobs. More
Cool cars from the LA Auto Show There are some of the standout vehicles on display this year at the Los Angeles Auto Show. More
American Dream homes: Prices in 10 cities How much does the American Dream home cost? From $2 million in Los Altos, Calif., to $65,000 in Cleveland, here's what you'll pay for a 4-bedroom, 2-bath house, according to Coldwell Banker's annual survey. More

Special Offer

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.