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What are artificial clouds and how can it help the reef?

Global warming is a world-wide issue. One that affects the world in many ways, including the warming of our oceans and the changing of our ecosystems. The Great Barrier Reef is one such ecosystem.

Cloud Hacking

While the reef’s temperatures fluctuate per season, with warmer waters in the summer and cooler waters in the winter, global warming sees the water warm up much faster than normal, keeping it warmer for longer, which in turn causes an imbalance in the health of the reef. This temperature increase is further perpetuated by El Niño, which the Great Barrier Reef has been witness to in recent years.

One such way to curb heated waters temperatures is to find ways to artificially cool them. Scientists have speculated for years on how to help cool the temperatures on the reef that will in turn continue to maintain its health and life-span. More recently they have turned to the skies for answers.

While little can be done to cool the waters directly, cloud cover is a easy solution to cooling the reef, so scientists say. More cloud cover, less sun, cooler water.

Scientists have discussed ways of increasing cloud cover on the reef by making the clouds brighter and more reflective. The theory is that by spraying salt particles into low-lying clouds that will increase their density and increase the sun’s heat back into space, hence cloud hacking, or the creation of artificial clouds. The salt will be harvested from the surrounding seawater, which is one thing there is no shortage of on the Great Barrier Reef.

While all of this is just theory right now, the wild idea may come to light as scientists get more desperate on ways to cool the reef. The world of science-fiction could in fact become scientific fact once scientists give it a go.

Louise
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