CR 42:155-160 (2010)  -  doi:10.3354/cr00885

NOTE
Can oceanic foams limit global warming?

J. R. G. Evans1,*, E. P. J. Stride2, M. J. Edirisinghe2, D. J. Andrews2, R. R. Simons3

1Department of Chemistry, University College London, 20 Gordon Street, London, WC1H 0AJ, UK
2Department of Mechanical Engineering, University College London, Torrington Place, London, WC1E 7JE, UK
3Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering, University College London, Chadwick Building, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT, UK

ABSTRACT: When the diverse methods proposed for solar radiation management are surveyed, a relatively simple, environmentally acceptable, double-acting mechanism for increasing the earth’s albedo emerges. It is a low-level environmental intervention that enhances a mechanism already active in nature by increasing the foam fraction of the ocean surface. Bubble rafts increase the optical reflectivity of the ocean and when bubbles burst, they launch seasalt particles that loft and increase the number concentration of cloud droplets in the marine boundary layer, thus increasing the reflectivity of stratocumulus. A strategy based on recent research for producing microbubbles appears to be the best option for large-scale use.


KEY WORDS: Ocean albedo · Foam · Bubble generation · Cloud brightening


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Cite this article as: Evans JRG, Stride EPJ, Edirisinghe MJ, Andrews DJ, Simons RR (2010) Can oceanic foams limit global warming?. Clim Res 42:155-160

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