WATER and its ROLE in the recovery of CLIMATE (a must read)

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WATER and its ROLE in the recovery of CLIMATE (a must read)

Post by duane » Sat Oct 20, 2007 9:20 am

This is a summary from a new book released by Dr. Jan Pokorny ( a member of the International Reference Panel on NSF).


The circulation of water in nature takes place through the large and small (daily) water cycles. Humanity, through its activities and systematic transformation of natural land into culturvated land, accelerates the runoff of rainwater from the landscape thereby limiting evaporation and the infiltration of water into the soil. This is turn decreases the supply of water to the daily water cycle via plant transpiration. The equilibrium of the water balance in the daily water cycle is thus disturbed and it gradually starts to break down over land.

If there is insufficient water in the soil, on its surface and in plants, immense flows of solar energy cannot be transformed into the latent heat of water evaporation but are instead changed into sensible heat. The surface of the ground soon overheats, and as a result, a breakdown in the supply of water from the large water cycle arises over the affected land. Local processes over huge areas inhabited and exploited by human beings are changed into global processes and with processes that occur without the assistance of human beings; together they create the phenomenon known as global climate change. The part of global climate change caused by human activities then is largely based on the drainage of water from the land, the consequent rise in temperature differences triggering off mechanisms which cause a rise in climatic extremes. The disruption of the small water cycle is accompanied by growing extremes in the weather, a gradual drop in groundwater reserves, more frequent flooding, longer periods of drought and an increase in the water shortage in the region.

The part of climatic change which is the result of human activities (draining of a region), can be reversed through systematic human activity (the watering of a region). The watering of land can be achieved through saturation of the small water cycle over land by ensuring comprehensive conservation of rainwater and enabling its infiltration and evaporation. This can help achieve the renewal of the small water cycle over a region and fundamentally change the trend of changing climatic conditions: it can—to reverse the trend of regional warming—temper extreme weather events and ensure a growth in water reserves in the territory.

The renewal of the small water cycle over an area, however, depends not only on the extent to which the area has been damaged but also on a number of other factors. In the case of Slovakia, we can expect visible results relatively soon (10 to 20 years) after implementation of these measures. The financial costs of these specific measures are moderate sums which can be allocated from state, public and private budgets. Support for the implementation of far-reaching measures should be linked pro rata to each 1 m3 of reservoir volume built in the ground or to anti-erosion measures carried out. The implementation of water conservation measures should, until the renewal of the small water cycle and the maximalization of a stable water balance in a region, replace previous investment measures, which only served to accelerate the runoff of water from a region.

The conservation of rainwater on land "in situ" and the conducting away only of the natural surplus of water in a region is "condicio sine qua non"—a condition essential for ensuring environmental security, global stability and the sustenance of economic growth. Fulfilling these conditions should be of interest to each individual and each community. This is the first time in the history of human civilization when the impact of mankind's activities on the water cycle and the decrease of amount of water in it will have to be evaluated. The statement of the Srí Lankan king, Parakramabahu the Great—"Not even a single raindrop should be allowed to flow into the sea without it first having been used for the benefit of the people..." —is the best summing up of the new water paradigm, a statement which, in the coming decades, should become a slogan for mankind calling for the preservation of civilization.

The English version of the book, Water for the Recovery of Climate, A New Water Paradigm, is available to download in Zip files at http://www.vodnaparadigma.sk/?indexen.p ... omean.html
Last edited by duane on Fri May 28, 2010 11:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

Ian James
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Post by Ian James » Sun Nov 04, 2007 1:07 am

I am downloading now!

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Water quailty

Post by Shirley Henderson » Mon May 05, 2008 7:06 am

Hi Duane, I have enjoyed reading this paradigm and have jotted down ideas for my next lot of letters. In my job I test water quality that runs into the environment and ends up in waterways.
As part of your trials are you testing the water quality?
How is it?

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Post by duane » Mon May 05, 2008 9:18 am

Hi Shirley

Water quality is being tested and at Baramul where Peter's work has been implemented the scientists there said water coming out of the wetland system in Baramul was good enough to BOTTLE!!

It is Nature's filtering system.....

Glad to hear your feedback on Jan's book.

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Post by duane » Thu May 15, 2008 11:13 pm

It would be GREAT to hear and get some feedback from people who have read this book Water for the Recovery of Climate, A New Water Paradigm....I invite anyone to give their 'take' on what they have taken away from reading this book.

Who would like to start the ball rolling???

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Post by duane » Sat Sep 06, 2008 2:30 pm

Interesting observation from studies in France give further support to Peter's ideas and that of the other European scientists.



taken from http://pagesperso-orange.fr/biefs.dupil ... ations.htm
© All reserved rights 1999 The Biefs of the Pilat

Level canals association of Pilat mountain-10 juin 2008

In the past centuries, the biefs, bisses, beals and bealieres, were french words to designate works in charge of supplying water in the paddle wheels and the turbines of the mills,sawmills and factories of weaving.They also made it possible to irrigate fields and meadows.The Romans,in the past,thanks to their aqueducts,already controlled the art of transport of water,while following the level lines.These techniques of another age,however owed and renewable,were too quickly abandoned by the profits of others ,more criticizable. They could ,after reflecting,become the principal and essential tool of the total managment of water,and the durable development.


Many human activities contribute to diminish the part of infiltration compared to the runoff and evaporation. More and more of waterproofed surfaces favour the runoff and contribute to reinforce the destructive effects of the floods downhill. The deforestations and modern agriculture increase the erosion of soils. At the same time, to satisfy the needs in drinking and irrigation water, a discreet but continuous phreatic over-pumping modifies the underground reserves without holding into account the natural capacities of recharge. Finally,there has to be added the disappearance of humid zones, because of the drainage, which constitutes important reservoirs for permanent underground water recharge. We attribute the climatic changes exclusively to the effect greenhouse. But it seems that over-pumping, especially in drought zones, is also responsible for this climatic change .
It is urgent to set up a device global management of water capable, not only to repair these effects, but to create a modern tool of durable development base on all the potentialities of water. The Association " Les Biefs du Pilat" calls the attention to a phenomenon that seems , for the moment,to escape to the reflections of experts and decision-makers.
It is urgent to have a look closer to the consequences of human activities on the water cycle and more particulary to the changes on the distribution of superficial and underground flows.
Naturally, meaning without farming, expressways or parking lots, otherwise said without artificial waterproofed lands, the rain, vegetation and ground would establish an optimum ratio between infiltration, runoff and evaporation, resulting in an ecological balance. What has not been infiltrated to the profit of underground water reserves and what has not been evapored to the profit of the micro-climate, otherwise said the excess, flows , forming the streams, kind of natural drains.
The underground water cycle and the climate, are narrowly linked. It is evident that water falls recharge underground reserves. It is necessary to know that,in return, the soil and its humidity, through which its vegetable cover, when there is one, influences the atmosphere and therefore the climate. As an example, the evapo-transpiration of plants that restores an important amount of water to the atmosphere , in order to maintain a good temperature and favourable humidity for life.
Since the apparition of human activities,of intensive and extended farming,in somes places, we reduce the vegetable cover and more seriously, we drought humid zones by drainage to replace them by prairies. In other places, we increase vegetable growth by over-pumping in order to compensate for the lack of rain. Rain, waterproofed lands, drainage and water pumping have as a consequence to diminish the surface of humid lands, essential interfaces between the soil and atmosphere for the water flux. Thus, the part of infiltration is significantly diminished to the profit of the runoff. In fact, we can have floods while underground spaces are not yet saturated. The most urgent problem is to preserve and to restore aquifers.


The Association proposes to adapt the installations that are the biefs. The biefs are canals which flow through the country by following the bend levels. Formerly, they served to supply mills to produce the hydraulic energy tanks to turbines or wheels, they also allowed to irrigate lands .The water loss, by the bottom of the biefs, were considered as waste. With modern agriculture and industrialisation, the biefs have been abandoned. Today, the need of a global water management could drive us to reconsider this means of water distribution by taking advantage of this defect concerning those losses of water .
The biefs remove the surplus of stream's water to redistribute it laterally, in order to reintroduce the water in the ground by infiltrating it all along the canal. They participate to preserve the resources in water and to delay the flows. Thus, underground water storage during the humid periods will return naturally to the profit of streams during drought periods. A network of biefs ahead of watershed delays the flows, limits the runoff, restores the underground reserves and supports drought downhill streams.
Biefs are useful where groundwater withdrawals consistently exceed recharge to the aquifers. It is important to use this quality water ahead of watersheds and to take advantage of this resource instead of leaving this clean water run downhill to dilute pollution and increase floods. This deep "dynamic storage" allows chemical exchanges, to improve the quality of water. In fact, the biefs can play an active role in runoff and floods or firewoods management tank reservoirs all along the biefs. This water, stored during the stormy periods, will be used again for the functioning of the biefs and also to serve for hydro-electric production. Drinkable water of the cities could directly come from mountains. In the country, farming would dispose abundant water of better quality, for irrigation with less chemical fertilizers. ( Abundant fishing and hunting, green tourism..)
Facing the floods, the droughts and the world-wide crises of the water resources, in addition to the over pumping rate and to the climatic changes, the biefs are a supplementary tool for a durable management of water. Source of new employment, they will be motor of development and new activities linked to agriculture, irrigation, and hydraulic energy . On long term and on a large scale, the water, when widely divided up and redistributed in space and in time by a network of biefs, will restore the water balance with a positive consequences on local and regional climate.

© All reserved rights 1999 The Biefs of the Pilat

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Post by duane » Sat Sep 06, 2008 2:53 pm

Alan Savoy gives support
Taken from http://www.ludiaavoda.sk/en/

2nd Publication review: “Water for the Recovery of the Climate – A New Water Paradigm”
21. November 2007 |344 Views | Published in Uncategorized |
To the Authors of Water for the Recovery of the Climate - A New Water Paradigm may I congratulate you on an excellent and overdue publication.

I wrote not only to congratulate you, but also to alert you to the work of
Holistic Management International that will interest you and greatly support
your work. You can learn more about HMI from the web site

In summary, where you have been working in more humid and urban
environments, we have been working on the problem of desertification in the
vast seasonal rainfall environments of the world. What you call the little
water cycle is key to this problem and I like your term. In my book
Holistic Management; A New Decision Making Framework second edition
published by Island Press I dealt with what is destroying the little water
cycle over the world’s 12 billion acres of rangelands and has caused the
massive desertification that destroyed so many civilizations. That vital
water cycle is being damaged by things we simply did not suspect - fire and
too few large herbivores in the absense of pack hunting predators.

We have two pieces of land on which we show people what is possible using
different thinking - one in Zimbabwe and the other in Texas. On the
Zimbabwe land, close to the Victoria Falls, we are now running over 300%
more livestock on holistic planned grazing (to simulate nature of thousands
of years ago) and we have through this seen a great increase in soil cover
and effectiveness of the water cycle. Despite two serious droughts in the
last three years we have the river now running through most years with fish,
fish eagles, crocodiles, otters and ducks while nearby rivers in the
community remain flash-flooding then dry through even the best of years.
They are now in perennial drought no matter how good the rains - due to the
non-effective water cycle.

You might want to look into this and even consider linking to our web site
to help make more people aware of your book and work. We currently have
over 30 million acres of land under Holistic Management in Africa,
Australia, Canada, Mexico and the USA mainly. One of the ranchers in the US
who has worked with us for many years has engaged his local university to
monitor the effectiveness of the little water cycle on his land and they
report an increase in water infiltration of 775%. Most importantly now this
water tends to remain in the soil due to soil cover.

So great is the ignorance about the little water cycle in scientific circles
that we had an amusing experience some years ago. We sent an illiterate
villager to a scientific conference with some 200 scientists working on land
degradation and desertification in Harare. He was given ten minutes to
explain the work they were doing with us. Then the first question he was
asked by his vastly more educated audience was “What is your rainfall in
your area?” To this he responded asking if they meant total rainfall or
effective rainfall? He then spent half an hour explaining effective
rainfall to his stunned audience who had no idea about how the little water
cycle operates.

Right now I am in the US having returned to attend an international
gathering we are putting on. I will do what I can to alert people to your
work and book and wish you all of the best in your efforts.


Allan Savory

Founder Holistic Management International

Albuquerque, New Mexico


Chairman and Founder

Africa Centre for Holistic Management

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.

healthy land. sustainable future.

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Post by duane » Sat Sep 06, 2008 2:56 pm

A P P E A L - STOP DRYING OUT THE EARTH taken from http://www.ludiaavoda.sk/en/?p=43#more-43

25. April 2007 |1,114 Views | Published in Uncategorized, Water, Climate, News |

The topic of this paper is very serious. It is about blooming or dying of a series of civilizations in our contemporary world. In the past, humanity feared the threats of various foretold catastrophes that, luckily, did not come true at all. However, the threat I am going to speak about, unfortunately, materialized itself many times in the history of mankind. From the history, we know civilizations like Mesopotamia, Persia, the cultures in the Middle East, Egypt or the Indian cultures in both North and South America and many other ones that would develop on fertile lands, covered with rich vegetation and abundant water supplies. Yet, many of them caused their own decay or even extinction as a result of the degradation of their own water resources. Nowadays, when archaeologists dig out artefacts and proofs of their prosperity from the sand of deserts, the idea that they fell and died because of a process that is in full swing in our societies never occurs to us. Therefore, this paper shall deal with the endangerment of current civilizations by desertification, but also with the causes of extreme rainwaters, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, draughts, and indirectly, with hunger and poverty too. In my paper, I would like to explain the causes of these phenomena resulting from the changes in water cycle due to human activities; I shall also give you examples from the country I am coming from, i.e. Central Europe, and I shall try to quantify the deficit of water cycle that manifests itself as a result of human activities. Finally, I would like to present you our solution: it is the retention of rainwater within the country or commonly known as rainwater harvesting. The intention of this paper is to convince you that the comprehensive program of rainwater harvesting is an efficient remedy for most of the mentioned problems and to challenge you to take practical actions in this field.

Water is a unique substance. The energy of the Sun makes water evaporate from the seas, rivers, soils and plants into the atmosphere. The molecules of evaporated water in the atmosphere absorb, reflect and diffuse sunlight and heat. Water is a wonderful thermal regulator: it cools or warms as the case may be. It also moderates thermal differences between days and nights, between the seasons, areas of various regions, and, therefore, acts as a inhibitor of the extremes in the weather. The more water the atmosphere has, the stronger the moderating effects of temperatures and the smaller the fluctuations in the weather. The less water is in the atmosphere, the weaker the moderating effect is and the more extreme the oscillations in the weather are. In the course of evaporation, the vaporization of each water molecule consumes heat and this, in return, cools the surface of the Earth. Water vapours ascend high up into the atmosphere where, under the influence of cold, condensate into small water drops or ice crystals and get back to the earth in form of rain. The repetition of this process represents an efficient mechanism for the elimination of excessive thermal energy and resembles a wonderful and most sophisticated cooling facility. Water vapours differ from other gases present in the atmosphere by their mobility under the influence of changes in pressure and temperature, variability in time and space as well as change in their state at common temperatures. Hence, water vapours exercise the most dramatic influence on the climate of Earth. Their role in the atmosphere, however, belongs to rather poorly investigated and rarely discussed problems.

Typical of a functional (healthy) landscape is the closed (short) water circle. Thanks to the moderation of the differences of temperatures between day and night, or between localities with different thermal regime, water circulates in small amounts to short distances. Most of the evaporating water condenses again within the given region. The prerequisite for closed water circle is the existence of abundant vegetation with high evapotranspiration. In return, frequent and regular local precipitation maintains the levels of underground water high. If, however, the natural vegetation cover gets disturbed, evapotranspiration may decrease due to lack vegetation and water. Solar energy falls on dried areas and changes into heat. Consequently, significant oscillations in temperature occur during the day. The differences in temperatures between day and night or localities with different thermal regime get higher. Moreover, the differences in air pressure also get higher and it is manifested in accelerated airflows. Water vapour is drifted far away by warm air. Most of the evaporated water disappears from the country. Small and regular precipitations become ever rare, but, on the other hand, intense ones (from the sea) that earlier used to come seldom, increase in frequency. The cycle is broken. The climate changes into continental, steppe-like. Water circulates mainly in open (long) circle. The decreased capacity of the landscape to contain water contributes to the increased occurrence of devastating floods.

Such drying of the landscape may be caused by deforestation, agricultural activities or urbanization. While 60-70 % of solar energy falling on areas with rich vegetation changes into vapour on hot sunny days and only 5-10 % into sensible heat, on dried area, it is vice-versa. Thermal energy created during hot summer days in medium climate zone represents 4 - 5 kWh per m2. This amount of energy corresponds to the energy released by burning of 1 kg of coal. In the course of one single sunny day, the energy released on 100 hectares of dried area may be compared to the energy released by perfect burning of 750 to 1000 tons of coal! The elimination of vegetation from the soil is an extremely dangerous action. The beginning of the end of old civilizations, we mentioned in the introduction, started with excessive deforestation – with no regard whether it was to get more arable land, for housing, shipbuilding (Lebanon before 2000 years), charcoal production (Ethiopia before 1000 years) or for any other purpose. Excessive grazing of the grass by livestock also could be one of the factors contributing to erosion and desertification of the landscape. Many civilizations cultivated (Mesopotamia, Egypt) or still cultivate (Europe, North America) wheat or barley. These cereals were obtained from steppe grasses, and, therefore, they require steppe-like conditions. The soil for their cultivation had to be and is to be drained. People went on drying up their lands until they were forced to irrigate them. Thus, the lands turned salinized and stopped being fertile. The decrease in water in the small water cycle also means the deepening deficiency of water for people, foodstuffs and the nature, increased extremalization of the weather, more frequent occurrence of disasters, floods, draughts, and fires, and change in the climate. At the same time, however, it also means the deepening of the differences in temperatures and pressures between the atmosphere above the oceans and continents, and, consequently, unexpected and abrupt changes in the weather on the continents.

Currently, the most efficient drying method is urbanization: by asphalting, paving and roofing the surface of the Earth. Nearly all rainwater from the populated areas of the developed world is taken away by rainwater sewage systems. Forcing rainwater into sewage systems, we hold back water accumulation within the country, decrease evaporation into the atmosphere and increase water runoff into brooks, rivers and oceans. It is estimated that sewage systems take away more than 20 milliard m3 (milliard – Brit., billion – US) of rainwater only from the European continent. During the last 50 years, more that 1000 milliards m3 of rainwater was taken away from the European continent that before in the past, used to saturate both the ecosystems and soil, replenished the resources of underground water, strengthened the springs and moisturised the climate by evaporation. More than 700 milliards m3 of rainwater is taken away from all continents every year. During the last 100 years, more than 37 000 milliards m3 of rainwater was directed into sewages. Consequently, the level of oceans increased by 10 cm. The directing of rainwater from the continents into the oceans means loss of water in the small water cycle. Our towns are turning into arid deserts differing from the surrounding environment by higher temperatures where water is missing that otherwise would and could moderate the heat. And so, with this action, man changes the direction of flow of huge amounts of water and energy. Therefore, no wonder that our cities are referred to as „urban heat islands.“ The dried out city environment deteriorates the quality of life for people, causes increased temperatures in summer, decreases humidity of the air, causes higher occurrence of allergens in the atmosphere and it has, in turn, negative impact on the health of people living in cities. Finally, the paved and drained cities contribute to higher flood waves in the river basins. The paved and drained environment causes triple or even quadruple higher water flows in case of floods than the original state of the landscape would with the same rainwater totals.

I would like to offer you a modest example: Slovakia. Slovakia is a small country in Central Europe (its territory is 50.000 km2 and has 5.4 million inhabitants). Nearly all its territory belongs to the Danube river basin where more than 80 millions of people live in 18 states. Seen from long-term point of view, the trend of yearly rainfall totals in Slovakia is falling. In the 20th century, yearly rainfall totals in Slovakia dropped by 5.6% [Ľudia a voda (People and water), 2000, SHMÚ (Slovak Hydrometeorological Institute) 2002]. It means that on the territory of Slovakia, in terms of long-term averages, less rainwater falls by a total of 2 milliard m3 than before 100 years. Another significant implication is that the distribution of precipitation in Slovakia is currently more uneven than it used to be in the past. In the mountains, rains are more frequent and more intense and in the lowlands, in term of volumes, there is less water than in the past. The results of analyses are summarized in the map showing the distribution of precipitations (Figure 1) [Ľudia a voda (People and Water), 1998]. The trend increase in precipitation in mountainous regions averaged for regions with 500 m above sea level reaches 21 mm yearly and for regions under 500 m above sea level reaches a decrease of as much as 46 mm. In the 20th century, significant changes were also recorded in time shifts in the distribution of precipitations. The most significant change may be seen in the increase of extremes in the weather, and, consequently, the following flood risks both in the mountainous and lowland regions. Draining of the surface dries the landscape to such an extent that about 250 millions m3 of rainwater disappears from Slovakia each year. The dried out Earth surface generates the “effect of hot plates” and the radiating heat with hot output currents into the atmosphere causes a dramatic loss of precipitation in the dried out regions and their increase in mountainous colder regions as it is shown in Fig. 2. The creation of dried out “hot plates” (agrarian and urban landscape) in the lowland areas of the continents when interacting with colder and moister mountainous regions causes an unprecedented concentration of clouds above mountainous regions. Water from the clouds falls mostly in mountainous, therefore, colder regions creating tragic flood waves. These also affect the lower agrarian and urban regions though there is nearly no rain in these regions. And as a result of this process, before the end of the 20th century, the first desert in Central Europe started its spectacular expansion in the basin of the River Danube because of an astonishing decrease in precipitation in the regions where the lands, with abundant water in the past, were dried the most.

From what we said, it follows that the existing management concept of water resources detailed and applied in the 20th century is unsuitable. It creates very risky circumstances for floods and shortage of water resources with subsequent extreme weather phenomena that even if ascribed to global warming, show the reality: our mental imperfectness in the management of water resources within our communities. The relation between the city, region and continent is apparent and the perspectives are rather depressing and sad if we do not change water management in a dramatic way. Also sad is the current state of mind of the science regarding global warming. Science pays insufficient attention to water. It sounds paradoxically, but according to the current state of knowledge, the Amazonian rainforest contributes to the global warming more than Sahara (regardless the absorption of CO2, the lower albedo of the forest than that of the desert is what decides). Only a few of the scientists are courageous enough to state it openly, however, implicitly they show very little interest in watering and greening. It is difficult to get my generation to think out-of-box. This is the reason why we need a new and flexible-minded generation of young people who shall be prepared, both in terms of capacity and knowledge, to develop innovative holistic solutions for the renewal of water through economic, cultural, social and environmental aspects in countries devastated by technologies. My generation failed in this field. In the 20th century, we systematically worked on the liquidation of water in the country. We went on getting rid of rainwater and turning it into salty water in the oceans. Paradoxically, the global population increases in the continents whereas there is ever less potable water, but ever more salty water in the oceans. It is a rather dangerous trend for the generation in the 21st century.

What are the solutions? It is necessary to restore the health and stability of the hydrological cycle. It is possible to reach it by a simple, but global program “Leave rainwater within your country”. Its aim is to return water that disappeared from the continents during the last 100 years, into the water cycle. The basic principle is to keep as much rainwater as possible within the country, so that this water has enough time and good circumstances for penetrating into the soil and consequently, for returning into the atmosphere. It is necessary to create conditions within each country on all continents to increase saturation of the soil by rainwater. The key for the solution of global water crises and global cooling of the Earth is in keeping more rainwater within the country to get more evaporated water into the atmosphere, and in having more clouds and a saturated water cycle. It also means more water for people, foodstuffs, nature, smaller risks due to failures in weather, prevention against natural disasters and changing yellow, dried out landscapes into fertile greenery.

Last but not least, the retention of water within the country also means a good tool to combat poverty in the underdeveloped countries. With regard to the dramatically prevailing agriculture and shortage of free financial means, the problems of distortion of water cycle are felt there much more than in more developed parts of the world. The solution for many of these problems is a massive and conscious return to almost forgotten methods of water retention (e.g. making terraces), that were well known and abundantly seen in the underdeveloped countries in the past, but often were destroyed by colonization and modernization (irrigation canals, pipelines, pumps, etc.). The assistance to poor countries in retaining water within the country offered by rich countries would also be an act of justice because the underdeveloped countries suffer from global climate changes caused largely by human activities in the industrialized countries.

Water retention may be carried out on various levels; starting from the lowest – i.e. the individual level (on our own roof and/or field), through the community level (e.g. cities) down to national and international levels. The program of watering the country should be started on all levels and all continents of the world so that the individually improved microclimates synergically unite to form an improved macroclimate. On the level of the individual, there is no need for excessive work or expenses; the poorest farmers use this method with success and for their own benefit. On higher levels, however, it is necessary to introduce a whole series of measures and changes in the legislation, in the way of cultivation of woodlands and agricultural lands, as well as urbanization of the country, management of water resources and technological processes in order that rainwater penetrates into the soil and evaporates from there into the atmosphere.

It is the highest time to mobilize the new generation of young people! They should take responsibility for the water into their own hands and make their friends, family and community aware of this problem. They should show concrete examples within their own communities on how to renew water cycle using very simple ways. As we learned once to recycle our waste, it is of utmost priority to keep as much rainwater as possible on the land. We must start this change of thinking right at the bottom: at schools. It is necessary that programs are launched to employ systems for rainwater retention right there where the new generation is prepared, at school campuses all over the world. Foundations sensitive to the needs of Mother Earth should initiate programs of mobilization of young people in order to retain water within the country. It is important that in the course of the next 10 years, programs for the retention of rainwater are not only developed all over the world, but also implemented. We should develop systems of rainwater retention in water-holdings so that each year we could return about 1000 milliard m3 of water into the small water cycle.

In spite of all the tragedy and gloom present currently in the world, it is good news that the new generation of young people more sensitively perceives the environmental implications than our technocratic generation. The new generation may be the initiator of a new global program for the renewal of the water cycle on the continents. The renewal of water cycle above the continents would change the yellow dried-out and dying regions of the world into fertile green landscapes. Those young people who meet here at the 1st International Conference for Water in Buenos Aires have an excellent chance to take this idea into their hearts. A new generation of young people, more sensitive to nature, social justice, environmental safety, cultural maturity and economical sustainability have a chance to make a wonderful contribution to the future of the Earth.

Ing. Michal Kravčík, CSc.,

Civic Association, People and Water, from Košice, Slovakia, Europe (Ľudia a voda, občianske združenie, Košice, Slovakia, Europe)

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Post by duane » Sat Sep 06, 2008 7:23 pm

Water Tribune Conference
23rd August, 10.00 – 13.00 at EXPO
2008 in Zaragoza
“Water for the Recovery
of the Climate – A New
Water Paradigm”

NGO People and Water

Conference Program:
Human draining of land and water
cycle distortion
Michal Kravcik, NGO People and
Water, Slovakia
Overlooked relation: water cycle and
energy flows

Jan Pokorny – ENKI, Czech Republic

The role of evaporation in urban and
global climate change

Marco Schmidt, Technical University
of Berlin, Germany
Possibility of groundwater reserves

Jean-Marc Hauth, Les Biefs du Pilat,
Sahara forest project
Charlie Paton, Seawater Greenhouse,
Ltd., United Kingdom
The sustainable stormwater
management as instrument for urban
landscape design

Alessandro Mazzotta, Polytechnic of
Turin, Italy
Application of the New Water
Paradigm on local and national level

Martin Kovac, Association of Towns
and Municipalities, Slovakia

Motto: of the Conference
Not a single drop of rainwater
must be allowed to go
to the sea without first being
of service to people.

/Parakramabahu the Great,
King of Sri Lanka, 1153-1186/

Dipl. Ing. Michal Kravčík, CSc., founder
of the NGO People and Water, a holder of
the Goldman Environmental Prize. His
focus is on a small water cycle recovery.

RNDr. Jan Pokorný, CSc., director of the
beneficial society ENKI, a scientific staffer
at the Czech Academy of Sciences. He
deals with interrelation of vegetation -
solar energy - water cycle.

Dipl. Ing. Marco Schmidt works at the
Technical University of Berlin on water
balance modifications in urban areas,
esp. on evaporative cooling systems.

Ing. Jean-Marc Hauth experiments with
the level canals concept. He founded NGO
”Biefs du Pilat” awarded with Vivendi and
N. Hulot Foundations prizes.

Charlie Paton elaborated the concept for
the Seawater Greenhouse. Starting with an
experimental pilot in Tenerife, he has
designed and built two further Seawater
Greenhouses in Abu Dhabi and Oman.
Arch. Alessandro Mazzotta, a researcher
at the Polytechnic of Turin. His activities
are focused on the integration of the
stormwater management solutions in the
landscape design.

Dipl.Ing. Martin Kováč works as
specialist for anti-flood prevention at the
Association of Cities and Municipalities of


by Michal Kravcik,
NGO People and Water, Slovakia
Humanity, through deforestation,
agriculture and urbanization accelerates the
runoff of rainwater and drains the land. In
Europe we sluice away into sewage about
20 billion m3 of rainwater each year. “Hot
plates” we create so cause breakdowns in
the stable water cycle, rise in climatic
extremes, more frequent flooding, longer
droughts, extreme heats, forest fires, drop
in groundwater reserves, decrease in soil
fertility and biodiversity. However, the
impact can go in both directions. The part
of climatic change, which is the result of
human draining of a land, can be stopped
and renewal of a healthy water cycle
achieved by comprehensive program of
rainwater harvesting, conservation,
infiltration and evaporation.


by Jan Pokorny,
ENKI, Czech Republic
Short water is characteristic by frequent
local precipitations and early morning fog
and dew. Long periods of droughts
interrupted by heavy rains are typical for
long water cycle. Vegetation well saturated
with water evaporates several litres of
water during one sunny day from each m2.
For evaporation of 1 litre of water 0.7kWh
of energy is needed. Plants and water
represent a perfect air-conditioning system:
evaporation consumes solar energy and
consequently water vapour condensates in
cool places and latent heat is released.
Daily series of distribution of solar energy
in vegetation and drained surfaces are
shown. Examples of thermo-vision and
satellite pictures showing role of plants and
water in air-conditioning of landscape are


by Marco Schmidt,
Technical Univ. of Berlin, Germany
The amount of evaporation is reduced
significantly due to the loss of forests
worldwide, the increase in urbanization
and reduction of agricultural land. This
causes the urban heat island effect and the
global warming. High amount of energy
transfer consumed in water evaporation
(680 kWh/m³) is used in the project
“Adlershof Physik” in combining elements
of decentralized water management with
reduced energy consumption for cooling
and ventilation. Rainwater is stored and
used for the irrigation of the facade
greening system and evaporative cooling
systems for air conditioning. Some of the
roof surfaces are also extensively greened
to assist in retaining and detaining
stormwater runoff.


by Martin Kovac,
Assoc. of Towns and Villages,
The Association of Towns and
Communities of Slovakia presented in May
2008 document “Principles of integrated
water resources management in
municipalities and their river basins”,
which promotes qualitative and
quantitative improvements of water
resources and prevention of deterioration
and depletion of available water resources.
It is based on the expertise of new water
paradigm. The “principles” cover areas
like: rainwater protection and utilization;
planning processes and reassessment of
land changes; economical sustainability
aspects and local water policy applications.
The association organises own significant
research of the stage of water resources
and its management in the territories,
develops special information system and
supports training in the field.

Many climatic change scientists state
that, in parallel to greenhouse gases, it
is also necessary to pay much more
attention to investigating the
relationship between the hydrosphere
and climatic change. If you would like
to encounter some fresh ideas about the
topic, you may find interesting
conference of the authors of the
publication "Water for the Recovery
of the Climate - A New Water
Paradigm" (downloadable in English on
www.waterparadigm.org) and their likeminded
colleagues from six countries
of Europe.

On closer assessment ALL of this work complements and supports Peter Andrews pioneering work in Australia.

Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2008 9:58 pm
Location: France

Les biefs du Pilat

Post by jeandb » Mon Sep 08, 2008 8:02 pm

Hello Duane,
I reveive your e-mail this morning where you invite me to participate in this forum discussions.
I use jeandb as a nickname because Jean is one part of jean-marc and i add "db" because ine french it means "from canals" ( "des biefs"= db)
So i resgister here in you forum and i hope i can explain more about "global water resource management" with a general netwwork of level canals.
I saw you already copy and paste the explanation pages of my website . thanks : good job!!!

i will visite you forum every day now to read the messages.

have a good day

Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2008 9:58 pm
Location: France

Global water resource management

Post by jeandb » Thu Sep 11, 2008 5:29 am

This is a map to show a project.
In Blue color , the streams and rivers .
In red , the level canals in charge to make the repartition and infiltration of the runoff water in underground

How it looks:

How it works:

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2m6a9 ... u_politics
Jean-Marc Hauth
0033 4 77 317340
Chairman of NGO "Les biefs du Pilat"

Posts: 1160
Joined: Fri Apr 20, 2007 1:44 pm
Location: Central Coast, NSW

Post by duane » Sat Dec 27, 2008 9:36 am

This is a summary of Joffa Powys sent to me after reading Dr Jan Pokornys book.

She is right on the money.

Dear Douane,

I wish you a Happy and a hugely successful New Year. I am hopeful that this overview of Dr. Pokorny's new paradigm might contribute to NSF in some way. Unfortunately everyday I think of something new that should be included, so it gets longer and longer!

I feel, of all the people I know, you have the greatest capacity to understand what I am on about! Obviously I have added my own understandings to that of Dr. Pokorny. Can you see any faults in this?

I feel a strong need to shout from the mountain tops - the basic truths, the importance and the urgency built into Dr. Pokorny's "new paradigm". This, of course is all about water and the circulation of it. This prime factor must be deeply pondered upon if we are to achieve global recovery and establish the long term well being of the planet. Although, unfortuantely there are plenty of people, who dont give a toss!

This is my great effort mulled over and changed frequently ever since I got your life changing email! Thank you.

This email is a short version of the why and does not tackle the main theme of the book, as to how to take better care of what we do, what we can do and how to do it. Dr. Pokorny is an adviser to Peter Andrews an Australian farmer who has questioned the sustainability of the methods currently used by main stream farmers.

I have never delved so deep into natural systems before. My brow is now burning hot with all the effort! Ref. Dr. Jan Pokorny et al's book: "Water for the Recovery of the Climate - A New Water Paradigm", I encourage (indeed entreat) people who have the website, to down load and read his book.

Water means water in all its forms. This is how I understand his new water cycle paradigm.

Previously, I made a major math mistake. I thought there was .38% C02 in the atmosphere, and then I realised that it is actually ten times LESS, i.e. 0.0383%. Water vapour in the atmosphere varies from practically zero in the desert or the polar regions, to as much as 4% in the tropics and of course these measurements, over time, vary a lot. Apparently this range remains fairly stable, but under particular circumstances, it may not, because information is scarce with regard to water vapour and its behaviour in the atmosphere. Each molecule of water vapour has three times more heat absorbing capacity than each molecule of C02. My earlier calculations were out by a factor of ten. Thus in the atmosphere, water vapour has the capacity to hold 300 times more heat than carbon dioxide. Not unsurprisingly water vapour is supposed to keep the planet warm. Why then is the planet now becoming, uncomfortably, "too warm"?

Most of us are caught in the mainstream paradigm and assume that the measurable increase of green house gas molecules in the atmosphere, are forming an increasingly dense heat body, and this is the prime cause of global warming. But this is not quite how it works.

In the new paradigm outlined by Dr. Jan Pokorny in his book, he describes profoundly different influences at work. So I have been studying the different quantities, phases, or qualities of water in relation to solar radiation. This selected extract hereunder caught my attention and shook my "educated" understanding at its very foundation and I did a 180 degree turn! The main stream concept is that the more heat absorbing molecules there are up in the atmosphere, the more incoming solar radiation heat these molecules would absorb and therefore the worse the situation. However it is not as simple as that.

From Fig 4, page 31, of Dr. Pokorny's book, study the bare dry soil example he describes there. This earth "bareness" pushes back 60 - 70% of the daily input of solar radiation in the form of "sensible" heat into the atmosphere. Basically, as we already know, water absorbs heat and this form of heat is known as latent heat. However sensible heat is warm air with a higher temperature than its surroundings and is in a state that we can sense, or feel it. This heat is essentially free heat unattached to moisture. Actually this "sensible" heat is a difficult concept to understand, I had to check the internet. With this earth "bareness" factor increasing as we speak, obviously the biomass of vegetation is diminishing. This in turn results in 70 - 80% LESS evapotranspiration from bare soil areas lacking vegetation. So MORE amounts of sensible heat is liberated back into the air. If this sensible heat is not absorbed by the water vapour, where does it go? How does this effect cloud formation and rainfall? What happens then? The global air conditioner is slowly but surely heading towards malfunction and collapse

The behaviour of water vapour can be different at different altitudes and under different circumstances and pressures. Not unsurprisingly at ground level, currently, we have ever increasing "dry bare soils" and heat generators . These are to be found in deserts, increasing areas of desertification, drought areas, bush fires, warfare, ag. cultivation, gross use of herbicides, building, commercial developments and industry, power generators, open cast mining and increasing deforestation, roads, vehicles, railway lines etc. (See in the book, Fig 9, 14 and 15.) All these sensible heat maximising agents ensure rising sensible heat levels. Naturally, if the intensity of solar radiation increases, so too must this contribute to the globe getting warmer.

However, if the intensity of sun and solar radiation goes quiet, which it can and frequently does, the intensity of solar radiation decreases. Then this particular situation also allows "star dust" to invade the atmosphere. The globe now has a period of cool down. There is another story here, and this includes nuclear testing and explosions and radio-active materials generated WITHIN our atmosphere.

Water vapour at earth surface level cools the earth, and at a modest altitude, forms cumulus clouds which also cools the earth (also reflecting solar rays to the higher atmospheric levels). But in the higher levels of the atmosphere, water vapour (cirrus clouds) warms the earth.

Meanwhile Carbon Dioxide being an 80% heavier molecule than air also has its own strange behaviour. First, most C02 molecules must remain fairly close to earth because of their weight. This factor could make the close to earth atmospheric zone warmer. Under pressures of about 870 pounds per square inch, and when ultra-cooled to reach minus 73 degrees C, then C02 becomes dry ice. Dry ice will freeze any water that is in its close vicinity. What occurs in the atmosphere when C02 molecules are undergoing the turbulence, changing pressures and temperatures within a thunder storm?

The natural water cycle system is intended A) to keep the planet cool (the evaporation and rain sector) and warm (heat absorbing and retaining in the stratosphere sector). B) thereby water is the basic natural engine for maintaining thermostatic controls and balance for the globe. In a nutshell Dr. Pokorny states that the more sensible heat that is encouraged or liberated back into the atmosphere, the more global warming there is. And these conditions inevitablly result in less vegetation. This means less evaporation and less cooling capacity. Less evaporation also means fewer clouds. Fewer clouds means less protection from solar radiation and less rain.

We now have what Dr. Pokorny terms the destruction of the small water cycle (figs 27 and 28). Generally speaking, now less rain falls in the dryer and lower altitudes and what rain there is, will fall on the hills and mountains (see Figs 20 and 21). In addition the drought periods will lengthen and the rainfall periods shorten (Fig. 22). This results in heavier precipitation runoff to cause floods which pick up and carry top soils artificial fertilisers, sewage. coal ash and other toxic pollutants. These polluted floods head to the lowest point, the oceans. The end result of all this activity is rising sea levels and pollution of the sea, as well as damage to corals and coastal habitats, etc. A good example is this report in the New York Times over Christmas 2008:

Coal Ash Spill Revives Issue of Its HazardsBy SHAILA DEWAN
Yesterday, 6:36 PM
The Tennessee Valley Authority has played down the risks of what may be the nation’s largest spill of coal ash, but there are questions about its potential toxicity.

Read more…

Dr Pokorny states that there is nothing new about this situation, it has been going on since Roman times. It has just got monumentally bigger as the result of increasing population, cultivation, mechanisation, industrialisation, etc. Add these to our increasing demands and this simply makes an exponential growth factor which disturbs and destroys the natural cycles to cause global devastation.

As they increase, these agents return sensible heat back to the atmosphere. Take a look at Figs 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15 and 16 (and others) in the book, to get the picture. Inevitably, there is a chain reaction: the more of these agents there are, the more global warming, the more variable and catastrophic the weather conditions are, and finally, the more uncomfortable life (all life) is and the more the financial load is to maintain ours and every other living entity's well being.

My conclusion is that when increasing solar radiation comes through the atmosphere and down to earth. Then the consequent reflected radiation as well as increasing sensible heat goes back up into the atmosphere and beyond, some of which must be mopped up by the green house gases.

Carbon emissions and Cap targets, in isolation. are highly unlikely to have any cooling and dampening effect on this ever expanding sensible heat production process.

The agenda that should claim our earnest attention must surely be:

. first reduce the number and scale of these sensible heating agents by whatever means possible.

. from the start we should reduce surface ground water run off, improve soil moisture levels and increase vegetative cover.

. the aforesaid actions and other inventive mechanical actions, plus a few intelligent actions would then reduce carbon dioxide and other green house gas emissions (Nitrous oxide, methane, carbon monoxide, etc.)

Quoting his book 2.2 Water and Thermal Energy (page 14):

The balancing of temperatures

Water balances the thermal extremes between day and night, between
the individual seasons and between individual regions while at the same
time tempering extremes in the weather. Water vapor is the most
widespread greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.(10) Its concentration in the
atmosphere is quite variable, but it typically fluctuates between 1-4% (by comparison, the
concentration of CO2 is 0.0383%). The more water there is in the atmosphere, the
stronger its moderating effect on temperatures and the fewer the deviations in the
weather. The less water there is in the atmosphere, the weaker its moderating effect on
temperatures and the more extreme the deviations in the weather. Where water is lacking
in the soil and in the atmosphere, extreme thermal conditions usually predominate. Water
and water vapor influence in the most significant way the climate on Earth. Despite this
fact, its role in the atmosphere is one of the least researched and rarely discussed

The cooling function of rain

Falling (in the sense of "coming down") solar radiation evaporates water from seas, lakes, rivers,
wetlands, soil and plants into the atmosphere. The evaporation of each
molecule of water consumes heat and thus cools the Earth's surface.
Evaporated water in the atmosphere condenses and forms clouds, fog,
water precipitation or ice crystals. Water vapor which rises higher into the atmosphere
condenses under the influence of the cold air and thus releases thermal energy. Cooled
high in the atmosphere, it returns back to the ground in the form of rain. The repetition of
this process represents the acting mechanism for the elimination of surplus thermal
energy and resembles an ingenious piece of cooling equipment. It is usually true that
roughly half of the Earth's surface is at any given time shadowed by cloud cover. Clouds
limit the entry of solar radiation into the atmosphere and onto the surface of the Earth.
The limiting of the solar radiation that falls on the surface of the Earth decreases
evaporation and thus the further formation of clouds.

The thermo-regulational function of clouds

Clouds play an important role in the regulation of the Earth's energy
balance in regards to solar radiation. They reflect part of the shortwave
solar radiation, thus limiting its entry into the atmosphere and to the
surface of the Earth and thus protecting the Earth from excessive
warming. However, they also capture part of the longwave (thermal)
radiation from the Earth which would otherwise escape into space; they
thus have a warming effect as well. The cooling or warming effect of
clouds depends on their type and their altitude. Low-altitude cumulus clouds cool the
Earth, while thin, high-altitude cirrus clouds have a warming effect.(12) Research on the
thermoregulatory effects of clouds and their equilibrium have been shown to be very
promising and very interesting with regard to the present problems of humanity.

I sent this email to a professional ecologist friend working in the US with the wild life parks there and she made this comment:
query. "What is the answer to stopping global warming in addition to besides/reducing green house gases?"

I replied - THIS

To answer your query, basically you would need to read the book to get the detail, but my message was to get on with the "agenda": This agenda was at the end of that email. At the beginning of the email I said:

"This email is a short version of the why and the rest of the book basically tells us how to take better care of what we do, what we can do and how to do it. Dr. Pokorny is an adviser to Peter Andrews an Australian farmer who has questioned the sustainabiity of the methods used by main stream farmers."

Of course, to spell out each detail would take a lot of books, libraries and libraries of them and much training, much education, etc. ! It is such a complicated feed back loop type subject, dealing as it does with natural cycles, that it is hard to keep on track!

But it is interesting that I assumed you particularly, (but implicitly everyone) would know what I meant by the broad agenda (repeated but amended) again at the bottom of this email). Are you saying that you think that I should spell this out in much more detail, as follows ? I appreciate I know so much with regard to this subject, and my own experiences have been so different to the ordinary city person such that my mind set is unusual. So perhaps to millions of people I appear to be talking gibberish.

So, for example the biggest sensible heat agent - bare soil - needs covering. Covering with mulch, covering with vegetation, even weeds - any plant would do any plant mulch would do! But the deeper rooted the plant, the better. Weeds, in fact are deep rooted (they make good mulch). This comment includes agricultural fields. Ag. crops only cover the earth for about 5 months of the year, and these crops are usually shallow rooted. Ag soil is heavily abused and vulnerable. Bare ag. soil bombarded by irrigation systems or heavy rain automatically means increased surface run off. Protect the ground as stated above, but level contour ditches can also slow down the erosive damage. So mixed cropping, under cropping, no till farming, mulching, all would give a helping hand. All these moves would ensure "improve soil moisture levels".

Slow down streams and water courses, by allowing the existence all those rivers tracing snake like tracks across the land, rather than making smart straight channels to get the water moving fast. SLOW DOWN. Hold as much rain as falls on the land, on the land. Also block up the stream route with trees and rubbish! Doing whatever was natural to that particular river system. All this brings the ground water level up and therefore "adds moisture to the soil" and helps improve viguour in vegetative growth. Also the book explains how to improve the small rain cycle and "grow it" to move into the dryer areas to allow more vigorous growth of vegetation. The more vegetation there is, the greater the rate of photosynthesis, the greater the evapo transpiration rates, the cooler the ambient temperature, the less carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide (nitrogen fixing bacteria) in the air, the more, but gentle is the rain, the more moist the soil, the less the run off .....

Then reduce that long list of other sensible heating agents.... ie the fewer coal power stations the better! Or at worst, build far better designed coal power stations. Make better designed vehicles. Find ways to reduce the heat given out by lighting systems in cities. Find someway to reduce exposure of the soil to the sun in the process of those giant open cast mines. Have smaller houses (in Australia we have grown from the ordinary house, to MAC Mansions. Now we are seeing MAC Palaces. Design houses that allow for more vegetation around them (Tall buildings are a pain in this respect, because they block the sun out and plants have a tough time in a city). Have a garden on the roof, etc. Grow more trees (have urban forests) and gardens in the cities (i.e. have more parks), and get all that massive run off water to find a home in the earth, rather than drained off in concrete channels or tunnels to the sea. 15% of trees have died in Melbourne for lack of water. Lots more ideas to explore and these are urgently needed in the city areas which are HUGE heat creators. e.g.,. No end to the possiblities, given the basic "agenda". (where I repeated the above agenda)

With highest regard, best wishes and sincerely, Joffa

Joffa Powys
Last edited by duane on Fri Feb 06, 2009 10:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by duane » Wed Jan 14, 2009 8:11 pm

Jean-Marc and Peter had an International phone hook up the other day.

The outcome was to find common ground and to work collaboratively together.

If you have not read the free pdf of Pokorny et al's work I again implore everyone with an interest in climate change and global warming to download and read the English version of the book, Water for the Recovery of Climate, A New Water Paradigm, is available to download in Zip files at http://www.vodnaparadigma.sk/?indexen.p ... omean.html

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Post by duane » Fri Feb 06, 2009 10:32 am

Dig Dunford
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Location: South Australia

Post by Dig Dunford » Mon Mar 02, 2009 2:01 pm

Having recently read the Dr. Jan Pokorny Water for the Recovery of the Climate, A New Water Paradigm I am constantly amazed at some of the crazy technology based ideas that are being proposed as an alternative to fix the climate. I'm sure some of these are more about the technological challenges and funding than actually about seriously addressing the issue. We appear to have become obsessed with using technology to patch up and fix all our global problems. When all we we really need is more water held on the land by plants, which increases the uptake of CO2, increases water vapour in the atmosphere cooling the earth and restablishes the small water cycle. Here are a few articles from the recent media.
Can geo-engineering rebuild the planet?
As global warming worsens, the idea of vast projects to alter the Earth's environment is moving from fantasy to necessity.

By Sanjida O'Connell
Last Updated: 3:12PM GMT 18 Feb 2009 from the telegraph.co.uk

In the 1960s, two Russian scientists set out ambitious plans to reshape the world around us: to reverse the flow of rivers, shoot tiny white particles into space to illuminate the night sky, and melt the Arctic to water fields of Soviet wheat. "If we want to improve our planet and make it more suitable for life," wrote NP Rusin and L Flit, "we must alter its climate."
Four decades later, we have done plenty to alter the climate, but not for the better. And as we grapple with the problems of global warming, the standard prescription – cutting greenhouse gas emissions – is proving problematic. "I cannot see that we will be able to keep carbon levels low enough to prevent catastrophe," says Professor Brian Launder, of the University of Manchester. "Over the past five years, emissions have gone up, not down."
Which means that "geo-engineering" – using technology on an almost unimaginable scale to tinker with the environment and correct our mistakes – could move from fantasy to necessity. Professor James Lovelock, who came up with the "Gaia" hypothesis, in which the Earth is thought to behave rather like a living, self-regulating organism, thinks we have exceeded the planet's natural capacity to counteract the changes we have made, and are rapidly heading towards a situation that will be calamitous for our species.
"Whatever we do is likely to lead to death on a scale that makes all previous wars, famines and disasters small," he says. "To continue business as usual will probably kill most of us during the century."
Even those of a less alarmist bent are worried enough to be taking geo-engineering seriously. Last September, Prof Launder co-edited a special edition of a Royal Society journal which examined various proposals, such as injecting sulphur into the stratosphere to reflect sunlight back into space.
Most of the schemes suggested, there and elsewhere, involve dramatic alterations to the Earth's weather systems, whether by deflecting the Sun's rays, removing carbon from the atmosphere or cooling the oceans. Prof Lovelock has come up with one of the most ambitious: he and Professor Chris Rapley, from the Science Museum, would like a system of pipes to be held vertically below the ocean's surface. These tubes, each 100 metres long, would draw cold water from below; wave action would then mix four tons of cooler water per second into the ocean at the surface. Cooler oceans mean a cooler planet, while the nutrient-rich water brought up from the bottom could encourage algal blooms, which use carbon to grow and thereby remove it from the atmosphere.
Supporters of another approach, known as Oceanic Iron Fertilisation, believe that promoting the growth of algae should be our main objective, rather than just a side effect. According to Dr Victor Smetacek, of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, Germany, the theory is that adding iron to the oceans will encourage algal blooms. When the algae die, they sink to the bottom of the ocean, locking away their cargo of carbon.
There are plans to test this proposal off the island of South Georgia in the Atlantic. At the very least, Dr Smetacek hopes that large blooms of algae will act as food for krill, helping resurrect declining populations of squid and even some whales.
A third oceanic idea has been suggested by Professor Stephen Salter, from Edinburgh University's School of Engineering: a wind-driven fleet of Flettner ships. Originally designed by German engineer Anton Flettner, these vessels have no sails and are powered by rotors; the first one sailed across the Atlantic in 1926.
The ships would drag propeller-like turbines behind them to generate electricity, and pump out a very fine spray of seawater into the air. These tiny drops would join low clouds, with the salt making them whiter and better at reflecting sunlight back into the atmosphere, thus cooling the oceans. The beauty of this system is that it uses natural materials – seawater – and is powered by a renewable source of energy.
Finally, instead of reflecting sunlight using sea-level contraptions, some scientists have suggested shading the Earth from space. The most recent idea was put forward by Dr Roger Angel at the University of Arizona: to launch into space trillions of thin transparent discs, each about 60cm across. This cloud of 100,000 lenses would reflect sunlight back into space, shielding us from 1.8 per cent of the Sun's radiation.
But as intoxicating as such ideas are – and as tempting as a "quick fix" to the climate would be – they are not the finished article. Not only would the costs be enormous, but in a recent paper in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions, Dr Tim Lenton of the University of East Anglia compared the possible effectiveness of 17 different geo-engineering techniques, and found severe problems with many of them. The Lovelock/Rapley plan to cool the oceans would, he says, be ineffective at reducing carbon on a global scale, and he is similarly sceptical about the algal blooms.
"There's huge disagreement in the scientific community about ocean fertilisation," agrees Prof Launder. "The ocean is very complex – elsewhere, perhaps thousands of miles away, you might be causing an adverse effect." Scientists from Britain's National Oceanography Centre, writing in the journal Nature, have demonstrated that adding iron to the ocean does boost algae growth rates by up to three times, and lock away carbon on the sea floor. But they added that geo-engineers overestimated the amount of carbon removed by between 15 and 50 times.
Prof Salter's Flettner ships have also sailed into stormy waters. Dr Lenton has calculated that they could cope with half the projected carbon emissions during the coming century, but Professor Stephen Schneider, from Stanford University, says that oceanic currents and winds might distribute the cooling effect unevenly, resulting in even greater climatic change.

Ocean 'fertilisation' team ordered to halt global warming experiment
An expedition including British scientists that hoped to "fertilise" the ocean to combat global warming was last night ordered to stop because of concerns that the experiment could breach international law.

By Matthew Moore
Last Updated: 7:50PM GMT 25 Jan 2009 from the telegraph.co.uk
The team planned to drop 20 tons of iron sulphate into waters around the Antarctic to stimulate the growth of plankton, which would take in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Environmentalists had claimed that the experiment – aimed at creating a 186-square-mile bloom of plankton between Cape Horn and the Cape of Good Hope so big that it will be visible from outer space – could have a devastating impact on the oceans and may even speed up global warming.
The German government last night ordered scientists on the German polar research ship RV Polarstern to halt their work in the Southern Ocean, amid concerns that it may be banned under the UN's Convention on Biological Diversity.
The ship set off earlier this month, but the scientists had held off starting the experiment pending legal and environmental reviews.
Supporters of the expedition claim that the method could one day slow global warming by removing carbon from the atmosphere for centuries. The plankton fall to the bottom of the ocean when they die, taking the carbon dioxide they have absorbed with them.
Two scientists from the University of Southampton's National Oceanography Centre are on board the RV Polarstern, although the expedition is a joint Indian-German project.

Scientists to stop global warming with 100,000 square mile sun shade
Scientists claim they can fight global warming by firing trillions of mirrors into space to deflect the sun's rays forming a 100,000 square mile "sun shade".

Last Updated: 8:12AM GMT 27 Feb 2009 from the telegraph.co.uk

According to astronomer Dr Roger Angel, at the University of Arizona, the trillions of mirrors would have to be fired one million miles above the earth using a huge cannon with a barrel of 0.6 miles across.
The gun would pack 100 times the power of conventional weapons and need an exclusion zone of several miles before being fired.
Despite the obvious obstacles - including an estimated $350 trillion (£244trn) price tag for the project - Dr Angel is confident of getting the project off the ground.
He said: "What we have developed is certainly effective and a method guaranteed to work.
"Tests are ongoing but we expect to be ready to launch within 20 or 30 years time. Things that take a few decades are not that futuristic."
Dr Angel has already secured NASA funding for a pilot project and British inventor Tod Todeschini, 38, was commissioned to build a scaled-down version of the gun.
He constructed the four-metre long cannon in his workshop in Sandlake, Oxfordshire, for a TV documentary investigating the sun shield theory.
He said: "The gun was horrendously dangerous. This was the first gun I'd ever built.
"I knew I could put it together safely but at the end of it all I didn't know what I was going to get.
"It was immensely dangerous. I was attempting to build a gun to produce 1,500G of force but it ended up creating about 10,000G and we had to turn the power down.
"Most weapons used by the army produce 100Gs of force so our gun was about 100 times more powerful.
"The main danger was electrocution because it used enough power to boil 44,000 kettles.
"If you were working with normal levels of electricity you could get a shock and be fine, but if you got a shock off this you would be dead - no question.
"We've proved it's possible to build a scaled-down version of the gun needed to get these lenses into the air so it's just a matter of scaling up the designs for the real thing."
If Dr Angel's sun shield is successful he says the mirrors will last 50 years before needing to be replaced.
"What you are talking about is a project which will stop global warming for centuries to come," he said.
"At the moment the sums involved sound huge but in the greater scheme of things it's a price worth paying.
"Over 50 years the mirrors will become damaged and therefore fresh lenses will need to be fired into space to ensure the shield is constant."
Dr Angel, who pioneers solar energy, is developing cheaper methods of making the lenses to bring the cost of the project down.
In the meantime researchers at the University of Victoria, Canada, are testing the sun shield theory by using computer simulations of the project.
Dr Angel's sun shield theory will feature on Ways to Save the Planet on the Discovery Channel at 7pm on Sunday.

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