Refreeze The Arctic


Back in February 2017, Arizona State physicist Steven Desch published a detailed report on refreezing the Arctic. In a nutshell, millions of wind driven turbines would pump sea water spray directed at surface ice. In a single year pumped sea spray could add a metre thick layer of Arctic ice. With average Arctic temperature 20 degrees Celsius warmer than average, adding a metre of ice is equivalent to rolling back time 17 years.  All well and good until the math kicks in. From http://www.sciencealert.com/that-crazy-plan-to-refreeze-the-arctic-is-actually-getting-a-trial-run-in-switzerland

“The team calculated that covering just 10 percent of the Arctic would involve erecting millions of pumps, which together would have to spray 7.5 kg per of water (16.5 pounds) every second to achieve 1 extra metre in a year.

“The area of the Arctic Ocean is about 10km2 [3.8 million miles2],” the report stated.

“If the wind-powered pumps are to be distributed across 10 percent of that area, this would necessitate about 10 million wind-powered pumps; if distributed across the entire Arctic, about 100 million would be needed.”

In order to build a fleet of 100 million pumps to save the entire Arctic, you’d need more steel than the US produces in a entire year. ”

Resist dismissive guffaws long enough to ponder this – scientists in Switzerland will spend this summer blowing artificial snow at the Diavolezzafirn glacier, a trial run that if successful will green light a project to preserve Monteratsch, Swiss Alps largest glacier.

“Glacier expert Johannes Oerlemans of Utrecht University in the Netherlands calculated that around 4,000 snow machines could help the Morteratsch glacier not only stop retreating, but actually grow in the coming decades.

The basic idea is that the ice on the glacier is now being exposed to sunlight, but if they could cover the ice in thick, artificial snow, it could reflect the light away before it ever gets to the vulnerable ice layers below.

Oerlemans presented his plan at the recent annual meeting of the European Geosciences Union in Vienna, Austria.

“Looking at previous work showing that natural snow can help glaciers grow, he concluded that the glacier could regain up to 800 metres of length within 20 years if it had a covering,” Andy Coghlan reports for New Scientist.

“He worked out that just a few centimetres of artificial snow blown onto a 0.5-square-kilometre plateau high up the glacier each summer could be enough to protect the ice beneath.”

Of course, the plan isn’t as colossal as the Arctic one, but it’s still huge, and would require a lot of funding, but Oerlemans and his team are quietly confident.

For the past decade, the Diavolezzafirn glacier has been having artificial snow added to it over the winter months to improve the ski season. Locals in the area have seen as this extra snow helped the small glacier grow by up to 8 metres in the past 10 years, and they actually raised the US$100,000 needed to launch the trial run this summer.

If the trial successfully maintains the test section at the Diavolezzafirn glacier’s foot through the summer months – the artificial snow usually melts down, only to be rebuilt for the return of the ski season later in the year – the team will need millions of euros to launch the actual Morteratsch rescue plan.

But the result could be revolutionary – it would be the first large-scale attempt to do something like this anywhere in the world.” – http://www.sciencealert.com/that-crazy-plan-to-refreeze-the-arctic-is-actually-getting-a-trial-run-in-switzerland

 

 

Advertisements