The Idea is to move large amounts of water vapor high into the Troposphere, thereby blocking some of the sun's intensity.

Factors that contribute the Earth's solar heat gain include reflectivity/emissivity and greenhouse gasses. If carbon increases heat by trapping IR light, incoming IR light can reduced by making the atmosphere more reflective. What safer substance to seed into the atmosphere than water.

Cloud manufacturing Plant concept: Boil large amounts of water and emit the vapor, by convection, up a 4 mile tall heated smokestack. Heating elements are placed in the smoke stack to keep the temp above boiling so the vapor continues to rise without condensing.

The water vapor takes a while to reach the ground and can be carried on natural wind currents. A cloud high in the atmosphere casts a larger shadow.

  • Idea Feasible?
  • What are the engineering and environmental concerns?
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ When I was little, my parents told me the local nuclear power plant was a "cloud factory". To my juvenile mind this was perfectly logical. $\endgroup$
    – Kys
    Oct 7, 2016 at 17:02

1 Answer 1


There was actually someone who proposed an idea like this in earnest, I forget where I saw it though, so it's probably plausible with today's tech. They proposed large seagoing vessels spraying (way more energy efficient as opposed to boiling) a fine sea water mist high into the atmosphere (apparently salt water work better for seeding clouds?)

It falls under the category of geoengineering, one of the main pitfalls of which is that a failure of the system would result in really rapid warming as all the extra CO2 starts doing its thing (also thin cirrus clouds - "thin" meaning around 100m thick - reflect <10% sunlight but trap 50% of the heat according to Wikipedia so you need thick clouds, kilometer thick clouds). It would probably also alter rain fall patterns as well, they were only seeding clouds and were drawing on existing atmospheric water, it sounds like you want to make whole clouds which would probably need infeasible amounts of energy and fresh water.

A cubic kilometer of cirrus cloud can have 30'000 tonnes of water in it (0.03g/m3 * 10^9 m3) which would require some 2 million liters of oil to boil. So 2 Megaliters of oil per square kilometer of coverage if you create the whole cloud yourself through boiling... plus, Wikipedia says most of the cloud cooling comes from stratocumulus clouds which have around TEN times the water content.

But, if you've got cheap, green, abundant energy, it could work.


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