Can artificial mist save the Great Barrier Reef?

Ecological modelling suggests that a large-scale intervention involving multiple strategies — including a fleet of mist machines — could prolong the life of the reef while governments work to eliminate greenhouse-gas emissions.

Australian scientists trying out ways to reduce sunlight to help preserve corals in the face of climate change, according to an article posted on Nature.

A huge machine is at the centre of an experiment that, if successful, could help to determine the future of the Great Barrier Reef.

The experiment wasn’t big enough to significantly alter the clouds. But preliminary results from the field tests — which were shared exclusively with Nature — suggest that the technology might perform even better than computer models suggested it would, says Daniel Harrison, an oceanographer and engineer at Southern Cross University in Coffs Harbour, Australia, who is heading up the research.

Harrison’s project is the world’s first field trial of marine cloud brightening, one of several controversial geoengineering technologies that scientists have studied in the laboratory for decades.

Harrison stresses that the cloud-brightening project is about local adaptation to climate change, not global geoengineering because its application would be limited in both space and time.