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Future Sight - Controlling the Weather

Submitted by Joel on Thu, 05/09/2019 - 11:50

Terraforming has long been a topic of sci-fi stories. The idea is if we're going to live on another planet, we need to make it comfortable for humans. While we are incredibly adaptable, we don't like changes in climate very much. Technology helps with things like air conditioning, but what if we could actually control the weather?

I really like the phrase from Ben Franklin, "Hunger is the best pickle." Although some disagree with the meaning, I've always understood it to mean that necessity is the most powerful driving force. Even if I'm wrong about what Franklin meant, the proverb, "Necessity is the mother of invention" is definitely fitting. So when it comes to global clima...

WOAH WOAH WOAH! You're getting awfully POLITICAL here, aren't you?

I do mark these posts as 'controversial', but the idea that the Earth is warming should not really be controversial. While I would never say that any prediction is a 'fact', the truth is that the Earth is definitely warming and it will likely continue. And eventually, it will be really uncomfortable for humans and we'll need to do something about it. Sadly, it IS a political issue, so it's unlikely we'll do anything to prevent it, which means, when it does happen, we'll have to do something to fix it. And that technology will eventually lead to controlling the weather. Or else, ya know, maybe there's nothing we can do and we'll all suffer and destroy civilization, but I'm optimistic!

The glass is either half full, or we're all doomed. OPTIMISM!

Well, let's assume that scientists figure out a way to prevent the end of civilization. How would that be implemented? We've been able to influence weather a bit for a while, by 'seeding clouds' for instance. One thing we could do is cause a volcano to erupt and fill the skies with ash to reduce the sun's impact on our temperature. That could have obvious side effects, though, so why not just directly control the weather? 

The problem is that it's hard to green-light a plan to control the weather since it could be so damaging to our climate. The military, however, doesn't have to follow the same rules. During the Vietnam War, they tried to increase the monsoon season to disrupt supply lines. It's not certain that it worked, but it's also a far cry from 'weather control'. Maybe nanobots could do it? Maybe we could use lasers to evaporate water? I don't know. But I doubt we'll be able to stop Global Climate Change in time (we've probably already failed at that). So if necessity is truly the mother of invention, maybe we'll save ourselves from a heating Earth. 

So you think scientists can save the planet?

This is important for everyone to understand... the Earth has gone through much worse than humanity. Some scientists believe that Earth was struck by a giant object to create the moon. So if the planet can keep traveling around the sun after being hit by something nearly the size of Mars, it can handle us burning all the dead dinosaurs we find. It's not the planet that we need to save. It's us. HUMANS can't handle climate change. The Earth will be just fine.

Well, that's depressing. But you think scientists can save humanity?

I guess I'd say that I sure HOPE they can! The perception on Global Climate Change is slowly updating, but it's probably not going to affect legislation for another generation. So our future might rely on some scientific miracles, but I have faith! Or maybe I'm wrong about legislation and we won't need it.

What do you think? Will we change our direction on climate? If not, do you think scientists can figure out a way to save humanity? Speak up in the comments!