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Cloud seeding can induce fresh snowfalls, altering the albedo of underlying snow, rock or vegetation. This can retain permafrost & sea ice.


Description

Summary

Old snow is darkened by atmospheric pollution, thawing and weathering effects (1).  Albedo change is a significant feedback to Greenland ice sheet loss (2).  Albedo change, e.g. that moderated by black carbon, contributes to an early spring thaw in the Arctic region (3).  Cloud seeding programmes are already able to induce snowfall (4).  By inducing late-season snowfalls, snow cover over permafrost regions can be maintained longer into the summer, thus protecting underlying permafrost from solar heating.  By depositing fresh snow over Greenland and the Arctic sea ice, melting and subsequent ice-albedo feedbacks can be arrested, indirectly protecting methane reservoirs.


Category of the action

Geoengineering


What actions do you propose?


Who will take these actions?


Where will these actions be taken?


What are other key benefits?

Additional benefits could be apparent from various side effects.  In relatively arid regions, additional precipitation may benefit forestry and other land-use activities, such as herding.  This depends on site specifics.  The snow cover will provide local and regional cooling, which will preserve permafrost and thus protect buildings, roads, and rail lines built on this permafrost.  The regional cooling effect may benefit sea ice cover.  By applying differential cooling to different parts of a watershed, meltwater floods can be attenuated.


What are the proposal’s costs?

The Chinese already make extensive use of weather modification technology, using it to control precipitation in dry agricultural regions, and also to reduce rainfall on ceremonies and similar.  Detailed costs may be available in the Chinese-language literature.


Time line


Related proposals


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