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Scientists try ‘cloud brightening’ to protect Great Barrier Reef

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Great Barrier Reef ( Handout JAMES COOK UNIVERSITY AUSTRALIA:AFP)

An ambitious “cloud brightening” experiment has been carried out over Australia’s Great Barrier Reef in an early-stage trial that scientists hope could become a futuristic way to protect coral from global warming.

In an attempt to cool waters around the reef by making clouds reflect more sunlight, researchers said they used a boat-mounted fan similar to a snow cannon to shoot salt crystals into the air.

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Results from the trial were “really, really encouraging”, the project’s lead scientist Daniel Harrison from Southern Cross University said on Friday.

“All the research is theoretical… so this an absolute world first to go out and actually try and take seawater and turn it into these cloud condensation nuclei,” he told AFP.

Harrison stressed that despite the success of the experiment, at least four years of further research would be needed to prove the theory.

Warmer seas caused by climate change have damaged the health of the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral system.

The experiment was carried out by the university and the Sydney Institute of Marine Science late last month, just before a comprehensive scientific survey found that the reef had suffered its most widespread coral bleaching on record.

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Bleaching occurs when healthy corals become stressed by changes in ocean temperatures — causing them to expel algae, which drains them of their vibrant colors.

It was the third mass bleaching event in the past five years, raising fears that much of the reef’s coral could be permanently damaged.

To have a significant impact on the reef, a full-scale experiment would need to be 10 times larger, involving the use of several big barge-mounted turbines, Harrison said.

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But, he added, “If it works as well as we hope then maybe we could reduce the bleaching stress by about 70 per cent… potentially nearly all of the mortality.”

He also said the effectiveness of the cloud-brightening technique would drop significantly as the ocean warms further.

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That means the process would be similar to putting the reef on life-support while the underlying challenge of climate change was addressed.

“If we keep going on business-as-usual-type emission scenarios, then at most this technology can just buy a couple of extra decades before we see the complete loss of the reef,” he warned.


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‘Trump brought a whole new meaning to white noise’: Colbert says president gave crackheads a bad name

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"They say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting Donald Trump to shut up," said Stephen Colbert as part of his debate wrap-up on Wednesday night.

"He brought a whole new meaning to white noise," the host quipped on "A Late Show."

"I don't know what Chris Wallace was supposed to do," said Colbert. "At the next debate, they should just give the moderator a button to bring on the slime. I'm not the only one who despised last night's debate, according to a CBS poll, of the people who watched it, 69 percent felt annoyed. Annoyed? Really, evidently, 'gouging out my eyes with a grapefruit spoon' was not an option."

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‘Classic projection’: Mary Trump says the president was triggered when Biden called a policy ‘not smart’

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President Donald Trump's niece Mary not only spent her life around the president and his family, but she also has the benefit of being a psychologist who could legitimately assess the life and mental health of her uncle.

Speaking to MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell, she explained that in one particular moment in the Tuesday evening debate, Trump seemed triggered by former Vice President Joe Biden's use of the phrase "not smart" in reference to a policy. Trump went off.

"Did you use the word 'smart?'" Trump asked after Biden insulted Trump's coronavirus plan as not being "smart."

"So you said you went to Delaware State but you forgot the name of your college," Trump continued, falsely claiming something Biden never said. "You didn't go to Delaware state. You graduated either the lowest or almost the lowest in your class. Don't ever use the word 'smart' with me. Don't ever use that word."

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Trump attacks NBC for covering a hurricane instead of his Nobel Prize nomination: ‘These people are sick’

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In a series of bizarre nonsequiturs in Duluth, Minnesota Wednesday evening, President Donald Trump unleashed on NBC News for covering a monster hurricane hitting Louisiana and Mississippi instead of talking about his friend nominating him for a Nobel Prize.

Former President Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize at the start of his presidency, and like the ever-illusive Emmy Trump also hasn't won, the Nobel Prize has never been within his grasp. The Obamas were nominated for seven Emmys for a series of things they produced with Netflix. They won an Emmy for outstanding directing for a documentary/nonfiction program for "American Factory."

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