MCB research in Australia shows promise for seawater atomizing from ships
Diana C. Hernandez-Jaramillo, Luke Harrison, Brendan Kelaher, Zoran Ristovski, and Daniel Harrison
November 29, 2023

The governments of Australia and Queensland are interested in deploying MCB locally around the Great Barrier Reef to reduce damage to the reef from extremely warm water exacerbated by global warming. A method of MCB has been developed using giant misting blowers on ships to generate microscopic seawater droplets that quickly evaporate to leave sub-microscopic salt particles (aerosols) suspended in the air. Such aerosols are known to be effective cloud condensation nuclei which cause marine clouds to form or become brighter at elevations of 1 to 9 hundred meters over oceans in certain weather conditions.

The primary focus of this research was to determine whether the salt particle aerosols would or would not rise to adequate height to form or brighten marine clouds because the air surrounding the aerosols would have been cooled as the seawater evaporates. The researchers found that, at one kilometer downwind, these aerosols had risen to 150 meters. The widely held expectation is that, as the plume further disperses downwind, an adequate percent of the aerosols will continue to rise up high enough to form or brighten marine clouds. An important remaining question is weather this will be adequately effective to be worth the costs including capital costs for the equipment, financial costs for labor and supplies, and energy costs to pump the air and seawater, which energy is presently generated with fossil fuels.

Learn More