In Brief

A geo-engineering technology that alters the planet's climate has run into controversy.

Times Online reports that Bill Gates is funding research to develop artificial clouds that beat greenhouse gases and protect the planet from global warming. The Microsoft billionaire has provided grants to a San Francisco-based research company, Silver Lining, to create machines that can convert seawater into microscopic particles and spray them upwards to seed the clouds which would reflect the Sun’s rays away from Earth.

Times Online adds:

Silver Lining will develop machines to convert seawater into microscopic particles capable of being blown up to the cloud level of 1,000 meters. This would whiten clouds by increasing the number of nuclei. The trial would involve ten ships and 10,000sq km (3,800sq miles) of ocean. Armand Neukermanns, who is leading the research, said that whitening clouds was “the most benign form of engineering” because, while it might alter rainfall, the effects would cease soon after the machines were switched off.

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