Posted 2007-09-18 14:10:45 by
Last night, I had a dream in which I believed global warming had something to do with the amount of solar radiation that reflected off the Moon onto the Earth. I wrote a program that displayed the difference it made by overlaying a moving two-dimensional circle of light -- size and intensity determined by the celestial geometry, of course -- onto a photograph of a night landscape.
The effect didn't seem that big to me! So I started thinking of ways we could compensate for its loss. My first thought was that as the effect of the Moon decreased, we could simply build lamps and point them towards the Earth. But then I realized that the energy used to power the lamps would eventually have to come from the Sun anyways, so it wouldn't help the situation. Then I concocted a plan to suspend larger and larger mirrors above the surface of the Earth, to catch the Earth's own reflected solar radiation and reflect it back towards us. We'd have to make them cover a larger arc of sky than the Moon, because the Earth's albedo is lower than the Moon's, but they wouldn't have to be nearly as large, since they'd be closer. Should work!
I wrote a paper entitled “Global Warming: A Modest Proposal,” embedding an animated GIF of my original program's results to really drive the point home. I was about to try to get it published when I discovered that someone had deleted all my work on the subject from the Internet cafe computer I had been using. I was desperately trying to recover the data when I woke up.