Stephen Salter, a giant in combating climate change passes away

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   Stephen Salter (2012)

Stephen Hugh Salter, MBE, FRSE, Emeritus Professor of Engineering Design at the University of Edinburgh, was born December 7, 1938, and passed away peacefully on February 23, 2024, at the age of 85.

Stephen Salter was a giant who persisted to dedicate his life to combating climate change, and he did so in many ways until the very end. 

Stephen’s work on wave energy led to Salter’s Duck (1974), a device able to both generate energy and reduce wave strength. In 1977, Stephen built a multi-directional wave tank at the University of Edinburgh. 

In 2011, Stephen looked at ways to capture methane released in the Arctic, such as by covering lakes and parts of seas by sheets to collect the methane (drawing below).

Empty and filled extruded rubber trough cases with 4 times enlarged views of end and centre
Stephen was perhaps best known for his work on marine cloud brightening, i.e. deploying vessels to spray salt particles into the air in an effort to reduce sea surface temperatures, and thus also reducing sea ice loss and reducing the strength of extreme weather events including storms and hurricanes.

In the video below, Stephen discusses marine cloud brightening in a TEDx talk in 2016. 

Marine cloud brightening | Prof. Stephen Salter | TEDx Talks Published 15 Nov 2016
The image below is from the post Hurricane Moderation at

In the video below, by theedinburghreporter, Stephen Salter talks about marine cloud brightening.

In the video below, Stephen Salter is interviewed by Nick Breeze (2022). 
Below is a screenshot from the above video by Nick Breeze. 
Stephen Salter discusses sending solar energy back out to space by means of Marine Cloud Brightening.
Screenshot by Sam Carana from video by Nick Breeze.

Stephen Salter (2022): “A jolly small change in reflectivity of the clouds will be sending solar energy back out to space enough to balance what the excess is that’s being retained here by greenhouse gases (4:26-4:41). Maybe 10 cubic meters of water a second as sub micron drops sprayed in the right place would offset all the damage we’ve done since pre-industrial times (5:15-5:24).” 

Our hearts are saddened by this huge loss, and our thoughts are with Stephen’s family and his many friends. Stephen’s work will not be forgotten.

Added below is a video featuring Stephen Salter, Peter Wadhams, Paul Beckwith, Robert Tulip, Herb Simmens, Alaxandra Price and Win Rampen. 


• Futuristic fleet of ‘cloudseeders’ – by John Latham (2007)

• Sea-going hardware for the cloud albedo method of reversing global warming – by Stephen Salter, Graham Sortino and John Latham (2008)

• Can we capture methane from the Arctic seabed? (2011)

• Professor Stephen Salter receives top Academy Award (2012)

• Leading wave energy pioneer Prof Stephen Salter (2012)

• Coded modulation of computer climate models for the prediction of precipitation and other side-effects of marine cloud brightening (2013)

• Marine cloud brightening | Prof. Stephen Salter | TEDxHeriotWattUniversity |  TEDx talk (2016)

• Hurricane Moderation (2018)

• Talking to Professor Stephen Salter – TheEdinburghReporter (May 23, 2019)

• Speaking with Professor Stephen Salter – The Edinburgh Report (June 1, 2019)

• Professor Stephen Salter at Holyrood speaking about project to arrest climate change

• John Latham obituary (2021)

• Stephen Salter – Whole interview by Nick Breeze ClimateGenn (2022)