Engineering artificial thermal mountains for large-scale water management and carbon drawdown

Knox, G.W., McInnes, C.R. , Younger, P.L. and Sloan, W.T. (2019) Engineering artificial thermal mountains for large-scale water management and carbon drawdown. Environmental Science: Water Research and Technology, 5(2), pp. 296-314. (doi:10.1039/c8ew00571k)

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Abstract

To meet future climate change targets, it may become necessary to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere at an unprecedented rate and scale. This paper investigates a new potential strategy: the application of the thermal mountain effect to artificially increase rainfall in desert regions and transform such regions into a vegetated state, thus sequestering significant quantities of carbon. A preliminary systems engineering analysis evaluating the design parameters of an artificial thermal mountain is provided, along with the analysis of its potential for carbon capture and agricultural applications. It is estimated that a large-scale low-albedo coating, between 15 000 and 50 000 km2 in surface area, would, in principle, be sufficient to provide enough rainfall to irrigate a 1000 km × 2000 km section of the Sahara desert. While the scale of engineering is potentially vast, it is arguably smaller than other schemes such as enhanced rock weathering.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Environmental engineering, water science and technology.
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Knox, George and McInnes, Professor Colin and Younger, Professor Paul and Sloan, Professor William
Authors: Knox, G.W., McInnes, C.R., Younger, P.L., and Sloan, W.T.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Infrastructure and Environment
College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Systems Power and Energy
Journal Name:Environmental Science: Water Research and Technology
Publisher:Royal Society of Chemistry
ISSN:2053-1400
ISSN (Online):2053-1419
Published Online:14 December 2018
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 The Royal Society of Chemistry
First Published:First published in Environmental Science: Water Research and Technology 5(2): 296-314
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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