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All life on Earth depends on water. Without it plants wither and die, and so do we. But with it, when the rivers run rich and full, the green world flourishes, and the human world becomes carefree and joyous with an abundance of food, and many things of comfort.
However, the time is now upon us in which all this is changing.
As the ice age transition that has begun, causes increasing drought conditions in many parts of the world, freshwater is becoming scarce while at the same time the need for water is increasing.
Increasing drought conditions are fast becoming a global phenomenon. They are especially hard hitting in the critical food-producing regions, such as the USA, India, and Russia.
In California, for example, water allocation for irrigation has been reduced by 80%. In some other areas, hundreds of farmers have been completely cut off from water for irrigation. As a result, evermore farmland lies now fallow and is drying out. All this is happening in times of an increasing food crisis.
Are we running out of water then?
Our cities have become large consumers of freshwater, and so have our industries, and of late the biofuels industry that is an enormous consumer of water. All of these 'needs,' of course, compete with the needs of the farmers in the battle for water allocation.
A modern human being requires 50 to 100 litres of water per day for all uses. Can you imagine a city without water?
But livestock too, requires water. A cow requires roughly the same amount as a human being, and a sheep one-tenth the amount. We require them as a part of our food. But where do we get the water from in the dynamics of drought that is now upon us and is increasing?
Of all the water in the world, only 3% exists as freshwater that is fit for human consumption, animal consumption, and farming. Of this 3%, only three-tenth of a percent is readily accessible on the surface of the Earth, in the form of lakes, swamps, and rivers. And still, a critical part is missing in this overview.
The critical part that is often omitted by looking at the world's water distribution, is the water that is contained in the world's atmosphere. It is the atmosphere that makes the water accessible, even in high mountain ranges.
The atmosphere is often omitted, because its portion of the total of the world's water is deemed too minuscule to be important. In the comparison with the total volume of water, the atmosphere contains only one one-thousands of a percent of all the water on earth.
However, it is this extremely minuscule portion of all the water on earth, located in the atmosphere, which is the most critical portion for land-based life to be possible. We wouldn't exist ourselves, without the water that is carried in the atmosphere. The water vapour in the atmosphere condenses into clouds that furnish the rain that waters the ground of the earth. It enables plants to grow. It enables food to be produced in agriculture. This dynamic quality makes water vapour the most critical component of the entire freshwater component of Earth.
Even in terms of volume, water vapour is not a small portion, in spite of popular belief. The volume of water existing as vapour in the atmosphere is five times greater than the combined volume of water that flows in all the rivers of the world.
Every form of freshwater that we find in the world, with few exceptions, has originated as vapour in the atmosphere that condensed into clouds and rain. This category includes all the ground water, the ice caps and glaciers, and all lakes and swamps in which freshwater is stored.
In the gigantic water cycle on Earth, two factors are critical for its dynamic functioning. One factor is the heat output of the Sun with which liquid water becomes transformed into water vapour. The second factor is the dynamic quality of the cloud forming process. Numerous elements come into play here. Both of these factors a variable factors.
Since these factors are critical to our living, let's explore these factors.
Also let us explore how we, as human beings, have the power with technological means to step beyond the natural dynamics, and thereby render ourselves independent of them for our freshwater supply.
Before we get there, however, let's explore the natural freshwater cycle first.
Rivers of Life - the freshwater cycle
Clouds are the transport media for all the freshwater on Earth. This means it is important to understand how clouds are formed and what factors are critical for the process of forming clouds and for the clouds remaining in the air long enough to affect wide-spread water distribution across the landmasses of the Earth.
As the solar energy bears down onto the sea and onto the land, liquid water evaporates by various types of injection of solar energy. By the injection of energy, liquid water typically becomes water vapour.
In the atmosphere, with a number of different conditions acting on the water vapour, such as cosmic-ray induced ionization, the water vapour becomes drawn together in a process called ion hydration.
Numerous other processes also contribute to aerosol nucleation, which altogether, eventually create cloud droplets.
During the condensation of water vapour into cloud droplets, latent heat is released that gives the resulting clouds the amazing buoyancy that enables them to flow with the airstreams across long distances.
Flooding and drought conditions result when the dynamics of the transport of the condensed water, in the form of clouds, is changing.
Climate Change - Droughts and Floods - Ice Age Precursors
Contrary to popular belief, droughts are not the result of global warming. If global warming was real, it would increase the water vapour density in the air, and increase the precipitation. Droughts result when clouds no longer reach the places where rain occurred in the past.
While numerous factors play a role here, two critical aspects play a major role in the cloud dynamics. One is the cloud-forming intensity. The other is the heat retention in the clouds.
It has been discovered that 48% of all the heat in the atmosphere is latent heat that is released by the cloud forming process.
Since the heat in the clouds does not remain there forever, one of the critical factors in the long-distance cloud movement appears to be the dynamic heat-loss from the clouds. For example, when the upper atmosphere gets colder, as is presently the case, the fine cloud droplets that flow with the air-streams condense into rain showers more quickly. The cooling of the clouds thereby shortens the distance of the movement of the clouds.
As the result of the shorter endurance of the clouds, less rain falls in the more distant places so that drought conditions result and increase. This dynamic interplay renders droughts and floods as the natural effect of the cooling of the Earth, which is presently happening as a part of the ongoing ice age transition.
At the same time as drought conditions increase, flooding increases in those areas where the clouds rain out more rapidly than they did historically. As the result of it, both floods and drought typically occur together as a single dynamic process, though widely separated geographically.
Increasing cloudiness also has a long-term feedback effect on itself that further increases the cooling of the Earth.
While the cooling in the upper atmosphere tends to reduce the distance that clouds travel, the cooling itself is affected by the intensity of cloud forming. The white surface of the clouds reflect a portion of the incoming solar energy back into space, so that less solar heat is absorbed on the Earth, whereby the Earth gets colder, especially in the higher levels of the atmosphere.
Ironically the increasingly colder air in the higher atmosphere causes increased warming in the arctic. The centrifugal force of the Earth pushes the polar jet streams further into the subtropics, which pulls up increasing flows of warm air into the arctic regions. Paradoxically, the warming of the Arctic is the result of the cooling of the Earth. The intensity of the cloud-forming process has a lot to do with the cooling of the earth.
The cloud-forming intensity, itself, is affected by the density of the cosmic-ray flux that is reaching the Earth.
NASA's Ulysses spacecraft has measured a 20% increase of the cosmic-ray flux received on the Earth over the time span of a decade. When the cosmic-ray flux is increasing, the cloud forming process is intensified.
The connection between cosmic-ray flux and cloud forming intensity has been experimentally verified with the CLOUD project at the CERN laboratory in Europe, where artificial cosmic rays were injected into a reaction chamber filled with water vapour.
In comparing the result with other known factors, the CERN experiment has shown that the aerosol nucleation rate increases sharply when cosmic rays affect the process. In the experiment, artificial cosmic-rays were turned on, to observe their effect. As was expected, a sharp increase in aerosol nucleation resulted. The result thus proves the principle.
The experiment proves rather strongly that the dynamics of cloudiness, and with it the resulting freshwater distribution around the Earth, is largely affected by cosmic factors over which we on Earth have absolutely no control.
The cloud forming intensity, as one would expect, also affects the water vapour density in the air.
When clouds are formed, water vapour is condensed. It is thereby removed from the atmosphere. When the leaning of the water vapour is increased, the resulting greenhouse effect of the atmosphere is reduced. This is so, because water vapour provides 97% of the greenhouse effect. If the moderating function of the greenhouse effect is thereby weakened, larger climate fluctuations do occur, such as hotter sunny days and colder nights.
The hotter sunny days naturally cause increased warming in the Arctic during the summer season when the Sun shines nearly 24 hours a day in the Arctic.
Of course the increasing climate fluctuations that result from the reduced moderation of the reduced greenhouse effect, have corresponding localized effects as one would expect. But those effects, no matter how unusual they may appear, and what one may assume about them, are definitely not manmade.
Deep Ocean Reverse Osmosis Desalination
The critical freshwater supply challenge, where the natural world fails us, can be easily met with advanced technologies. We can make ourselves independent from the natural freshwater sources by extracting freshwater from the oceans with a process called reverse osmosis desalination. We can cause rivers of freshwater to flow out of the oceans at any volume we desire, with the appropriate scale of the infrastructures for the process.
Desalination is not a new concept. It is routinely applied commercially, though at great cost due to the large energy requirements. Massive energy is required to force seawater through dense filters that allow the freshwater molecules to pass through, but which block the slightly larger salt molecules. For the process to function efficiently, the water is applied at great pressure against the filter membrane in commercial desalination plants, typically in the range of 300 to 600 pounds per square inch.
However, when the reverse-osmosis separation process is submerged into deep oceans, in the range of 5000 meters deep, the average 2% weight differential between saltwater and freshwater is sufficient to enable reverse osmosis. The pressure differential at 2% would be in the range of 150 pounds per square inch. In practice slightly greater pressures may be achieved. The resulting pressure is sufficient to enable the reverse-osmosis desalination process to power itself.
The deep-ocean pressure-differential would be less than the pressure that is currently applied in commercial operations. The resulting lower efficiency is easily compensated for by increasing the size of the operation, since space is not a factor on the ocean floor.
We could literally have rivers of high-quality freshwater flowing out of the oceans at any quantity that our needs would require. The technological basis for this to happen already exists. It could be implemented today.
The required deep oceans are in many places near to where the need exists, as close as a few hundred miles. Floating arteries of light material, such as woven fibreglass or woven basalt fibres, impregnated to be water-tight, can transport the freshwater to shore.
Deep-ocean desalination will likely soon become the universal freshwater source of the world as new types of filters promise to increase the desalination efficiency a hundred-fold, even ten-thousand fold. The improvements have already been demonstrated in principle, though the manufacturing technology for their implementation remains yet to be developed. The proven principles will make the already utilized reverse-
osmosis desalination vastly more efficient, and easily possible in much shallower oceans.
One of the promising new types of semi permeable membrane for desalination would utilize the recent advances in the manufacturing of graphene sheets. A graphene sheet is a sheet of graphite atoms linked together into a tight lattice one atom thick. If the technology can be worked out that cuts the right size of holes through the sheet of graphene, a more than 100-fold increase of the desalination efficiency is deemed to be theoretically possible, according to research done at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
A second type of filter that has also been proven in principle, would utilize carbon nanotubes as membrane. Water molecules passing through the carbon nanotubes, with nanotubes of about 7 nanometers in diameter, as nanotubes have long slip-planes, enables flow rates that were found to be four to five orders of magnitude faster than those for conventional fluid flow predictions.
It was further demonstrated that the flow of water through carbon nanotube membranes can be controlled through the application of electrical current which gives the nanotube membranes an extremely high probability that they might one day be implemented for the desalination of water with a ten-thousand times greater efficiency than the current processes.
On the presently utilized technological platform, deep-ocean desalination is already possible worldwide. There are plenty of deep oceans in excess of 5000 meters near the dry areas of the world. Deep ocean reverse osmosis desalination could be implemented at the present time to supply all the world's freshwater needs, provided that the political platform for it could be created..
With advanced technologies becoming applied, as the worldwide system becomes built up, no other form of freshwater production will likely ever be used again. And best of all, the resulting desalination process is totally independent of climate conditions. It would not be effected by ice age conditions. No matter how dry or cold the climate will get on earth, the water from this system will flow in abundance, driven by the intelligence of humanity and the force of gravity. For this readily available resource, no resource depletion is possible.
At the present time, the limiting factor is nothing greater than society's unwillingness to produce the infrastructure on the scale required. Since this unwillingness is not inherent in human nature, it will be overcome, and the water-shortages that are already genocidal in some areas, will simply become an item of the tragic history of small-minded thinking, and will in time become forgotten.
At the present time worldwide desalination is minuscule. According to the International Desalination Association, 14,451 desalination plants operated worldwide in 2009, producing 59.9 million cubic meters per day. This means that the entire world production amounted to roughly 700 cubic meters per second. This output is rather minuscule in comparison. It's less than 10% of the average discharge of the Columbia River into the ocean, which flows at an average rate of 7,500 cubic meters per second.. In other words, the entire worldwide desalination effort is presently so minuscule that it is insignificant in comparison with the natural system.
Desalination becomes significant only when it becomes expanded in scale, several-hundred-thousand-fold, to match the natural system.
This is the kind of expansion that the deep-ocean desalination concept makes possible in principle without any energy input into the system, except for control purposes.
In the 1960s, a giant river diversion project was proposed that would divert a portion of the north-western rivers of Canada over land to the water-starved regions of the U.S. Southwest and northern Mexico. The giant multinational project, named the 'North American Water and Power Alliance' would deliver roughly 3,870 cubic meters of freshwater per second to improve agriculture in the South. It would require a construction period of up to 50 years to implement the project, and when completed, it would deliver more than 5 times the volume of water than all the desalination plants in the world, combined.
The comparison of desalination with the river diversion project illustrates to some degree the scale of infrastructure that is required to make desalination a significant component of the freshwater supply of the world.
Deep ocean reverse osmosis may require larger filter membranes to operate at lower pressures, the resulting scale of the required system wouldn't pose a problem. A deep-ocean desalination system with an output equal to the river diversion project, would have to be several thousand times larger than a modern large desalination plant. The building of such a large system wouldn't pose a problem. The size of a construction isn't a factor on the ocean floor. Also, with the deep-ocean desalination being self-powering, a large-scale system of this type would be far more economical to implement and to operate than the equivalent giant river diversion project.
While the giant North-South river diversion project will not be built for reasons that the source water for the diversion would most likely be disabled at the time when the Next Ice Age begins in roughly 30 years. This means that its more efficient equivalent, the deep-ocean reverse-osmosis desalination project, will be built instead.
The 30-years timeframe is critical. It is potentially very real.
The dramatic start of the next Ice Age when the Sun goes inactive one day, almost without warning, could be upon us in 30 years. The time estimate is based on the leading edge discoveries in plasma physics, astrophysics, and the dynamics of the currently unfolding processes. Of course the dynamics can change, but if they remain as they are, the start of the next Ice Age is much more immanent than anyone cares, or dares, to acknowledge. Most likely a decade will pass before the needed acknowledgement will happen. This leaves us roughly two decades remaining to prepare our world for the vast changes ahead before they happen. Two decades might be sufficient. The worldwide implementation of deep-ocean reverse osmosis desalination is one of the necessary preparations for meeting the challenges before us.
I have explored the processes involved for the potential great transformation of our planet, and the principles for these processes, in my recent video: "Ice Age of the dimming Sun in 30 years." The challenge is worldwide. No one, anywhere on the planet, is not affected by the physical transformation of our world that awaits us.
Large-scale deep-ocean desalination facilities will be built, because an ample flow of water is critical for all life. To implement such systems on the global scale will almost demand that the facilities be constructed modular in design and be mass produced in automated, high-temperature, industrial processes, to become available globally in all critical areas as fast as possible.
Large-scale deep-ocean desalination is actually already needed. It is required now, to be produced in a crash program as an emergency measure to offset the effects of the ever-increasing worldwide drought that is already a part of the ongoing ice age transition dynamics. India requires massive amounts of fresh water now.
Fortunately, India has the means to supply its freshwater needs. It has deep waters in excess of 5,000 meters available nearby in the Indian Ocean.
While India has large rivers that dump enormous quantities of discharge into the oceans. The Indus River, for example, discharges on average 6,600 cubic meters per second into the Arabian Sea. That's a bit less than the Columbia River. And the Ganges discharges twice that volume into the Bay of Bengal.
The Ganges River drains a million square kilometers of land in India and carries with it silt and pollution. It is deemed a mighty river, but in real terms it is no larger in discharge volume than the Mississippi River, which will likely not have its discharge waters be re-used either,
The outflow from all of these rivers could be diverted and used for irrigation. But why would one divert the waters from already overstressed rivers? In addition to this question, the outflow from all of these deemed 'large' rivers appears suddenly rather 'small' in comparison with the potential capability of large-scale deep ocean reverse osmosis desalination systems.
Also, if we consider that the Indus River originates almost entirely in the Himalayas, much of the flow of this mighty river will likely be lost in the year when the Ice Age begins. When the snow no longer melts in the Himalayas, the mighty river will stop flowing, or slow to a trickle, as will most of the world's rivers .
With all of these factors considered the potential for implementing deep ocean reverse osmosis desalination stands like the golden opportunity for India.
The same can be said about China's great rivers. The rivers carry large volumes of water, especially the Yangtze River that supplies much of China's hydroelectric power and irrigation water.
Much of China's hydro-electric power will be lost within a year when the next Ice Age begins. Most of it comes from the Yangtze River system. Although only 20% of China's electricity is generated by hydro power, the loss of this capacity over the course of a single year, would be devastating if nuclear power, or cosmic electric power, had not made hydro power obsolete by this time.
When water gets laid up on land in the form of ice, and this to such an extreme extent that ice sheets form up to 12,000 feet deep so that the ocean levels drop by nearly 400 feet, one can assume that there won't be much water flowing down any river, anywhere.
Before this happens, and this may mean in 30 years, before the Yangtze dries up to a mere puddle, a brand-new water infrastructure needs to be built and be in operation for the requirements of cities, industries, and farming. The freshwater supply for this has to come from the oceans
The potential exists for every water-starved region in the world to develop large-scale deep ocean reverse osmosis desalination. This needs to be built even before the high-efficiency membranes made of carbon nanotubes become available. A city without a secure water-supply infrastructure cannot survive.
The challenge to supply this city with water is aggravated by its location. It is deep inland, some 1,500 Km distant from the Oceans. Desalinated freshwater will have to be pumped to it from the oceans, and 778 feet uphill.
Right now, the city receives is water from the Yangtze flowing through it to the sea. In an ice age environment the flow of water will likely have to be reversed. Without cosmic energy utilization, the feat may prove to be impossible, by which the city, which is presently one of the largest municipalities in the world with a larger population than all of the country of Peru, for example, is doomed.
However, with deep-ocean reverse-osmosis desalination, and cosmic electric energy for the distribution system, the immense task of supplying all of southern China with freshwater from the Philippine Sea is within the range of what can be achieved.
Ultimately, no other options really exist than to develop deep-ocean reverse-osmosis desalination to augment the freshwater supply in the already drought stricken world, and later in the dry world of the ice-
age environment, when the natural supply system is diminishing or stops operating.
Of course the economics for meeting the freshwater challenge are fully on the side of the desalination system, as ultimately no other large scale supply system really exists that takes us beyond the current natural system.
High-volume automated industrial production of the modular units for the desalination, and for the in-ocean transport system, enables extreme efficiencies that make the mass-implementation of deep ocean reverse osmosis desalination possible, and this in such a powerful manner that the end result surpasses all forms of river diversion.
High volume desalination has the potential to be more efficient than even the largest-scale water diversion projects, like the proposed project for bringing water from Alaska the the southern USA and northern Mexico.
Once the automated mass-production of desalination infrastructures has begun, the efficient option, will also be applied to produce the required pipeline distribution system, together with modular units for the nuclear powered pumping stations that will be needed for the long-distance distribution networks.
Damming rivers for water extraction will then be a thing of the past, or river diversions for irrigation, or legal wars over water-rights, water rationing and water withholding, and so on, including the increasing political battles that are waged over access to water from the diminishing natural supply system. Ultimately advanced technological water desalination will be the lifeline for humanity when the Sun becomes inactive, which may happen in possibly 30 years, with which the next Ice Age begins. At this point the natural water supply system likely becomes reduced to less than 30% of what it is today. With it the world will change. We'd better be ready for it, then.