Could painting a mountain have any effect on our climate?

The inventor Eduardo Gold was one of the 29 winners in the contest “100 ideas to save the world”. His idea was invented for bringing back the glacier “Chalon Sombrero” in the Andes-Mountains of Peru. The local society was very dependent of glaciers that are now melting. Peru is home of 70% of the world’s tropic glaciers, and has in the past 30 years, already lost 22% of their glaciers because of the climate changes. The rest of the glaciers can disappear in just a few decades.

Back to Gold’s plan, he is attempting to sink the temperature of the rocks from 68 Fahrenheit to about 40 Fahrenheit. To do this he has started to paint the rocks white, with a mix of limestone, egg white and water. The purpose is that when the temperature sinks, the snow will gather in bigger areas and not just appear in smaller areas that disappear in a short amount of time. Eduardo believes that it will create sort of a “micro-climate” and that some cold will create more, just as heat gives you more heat.  He also says that by increasing the amount of light that reflects from the ground, fewer beams from the sun will absorb. Another point he makes is that a white surface reflects the beams back through the atmosphere and into space, which will make the area around much colder.

His project has met a lot of criticism, and scientist has none or little faith in his attempt to get the glacier back. A Norwegian scientist points out that when a glacier is gone it is very hard to get it back. And a very important detail is the rain. For a glacier to stay, it is important that it gets more snow in the winter than then sun is able to melt in the summer. A French scientist does agree with this, but is also positive to the effort. He means that it could have a little effect locally, but that it is going to be very hard to get a big glacier back on a mountain, and when we’re talking about a mountain that is the size of Andes, it is going to be extremely difficult.

Gold says that he understands the skepticism, but that he thinks that it deserves a shot. The local society needs water to survive and that Charlon Sombrero used to provide a big valley and a lot of rivers with water. He also says that this will not hurt the environment if the project ends up as a failure.

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4 Responses to Could painting a mountain have any effect on our climate?

  1. maxkaczynski says:

    Wow this is actually really interesting. I would have never thought about painting the rocks a light color and using other materials to help cool down the rock. I hope this works. I wonder how many people support him? If 1 man can bring back a glacier, a bunch of people could work together and try to bring back others! I hope everything goes well and that Peru gets it back!

  2. Wendy Foster says:

    Very interesting blog. “I haven’t ever heard of such nonsense”, is what the scientist are probably thinking and saying….but the greatest inventors and discoverers met with much skepticism. Eduardo Gold just might be on to something…I can’t wait to see what happens this winter.

  3. Jessica Wiley says:

    Very mind boggling! I love this, though. I would love to visit that climate if it infact worked. It would definitely be a fun and chilly way to practice my hobby (skiing)! :), not to mention how bad I would want to exlpore and take one of the rocks home with me!

  4. willdogg10 says:

    I think it’s definitely a reassuring feeling to realize that there are ordinary people here in our world that aren’t scientists that are wanting to make a positive impact on the environment. In its concept, I feel that Gold’s idea is an optimistic one: his logic is rational and practical, which I think gives him credence to deserve a shot at preserving the glacier. Although his plan will not be the end-all savior against climate change and, more specifically, the melting of glaciers, it’s a quality start. So I say “Let the man paint! Let him cover that glacier in his artistic theory and see what happens. In the end, what don’t we have to lose?”

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