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Earth Science Technology

Scientists Propose Plan To Re-Freeze the Arctic (inhabitat.com) 401

Kristine Lofgren writes: In case you've been under a rock for the past 20 years, the Arctic is melting super fast. Certain *ahem* governments are dragging their feet doing anything about it, which means the planet could be in for a spectacular meltdown within the next 20 years. But a clever bunch of scientists have hatched a plan to re-freeze the Arctic using wind-powered pumps that will bring water to the surface, allowing it to freeze. This new layer of ice could last well into the summer, which is vital, because scientists think summer Arctic ice could be gone by 2030 -- and that causes a whole chain of terrible events that will only make our climate change problem much, much worse. The plan has a $500 billion price tag, but that's pocket change compared to the cost of dealing with an ice-free Arctic. The study has been published in The American Geophysical Union's journal Earth's Future. You can read more about the study via The Guardian.
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Scientists Propose Plan To Re-Freeze the Arctic

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  • When I get time, I'd like to use satellite photos of the arctic into a time lapse video, play it, then ask "Now, what was it you were saying about climate change being a scam?"

    • by Layzej ( 1976930 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2017 @10:33PM (#53870517)
      Here ya go: https://scratch.mit.edu/projec... [mit.edu]
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      When I get time, I'd like to use satellite photos of the arctic into a time lapse video, play it, then ask "Now, what was it you were saying about climate change being a scam?"

      The argument is that it's cyclical and happens regardless of human action. Anyone straight "denying" is just an idiot polarized by the current state of entertainment/politics. The intelligent argument against crazy ideas like this is that companies/people are making a lot of money selling what could very well be snake oil on a process we have very little data on and therefore have very little understanding.

    • Already been done ->https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vj1G9gqhkYA

    • When I get time, I'd like to use satellite photos of the arctic into a time lapse video, play it, then ask "Now, what was it you were saying about climate change being a scam?"

      And presumably the other side simply pulls out this 2008 Al Gore video where he predicts that the arctic would be ice-free in 5 years:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

      Al Gore is God's gift to "deniers".

      • When I get time, I'd like to use satellite photos of the arctic into a time lapse video, play it, then ask "Now, what was it you were saying about climate change being a scam?"

        And presumably the other side simply pulls out this 2008 Al Gore video where he predicts that the arctic would be ice-free in 5 years:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

        And if someone actually listens to your video of Gore, he or she will hopefully notice that Gore does not predict anything like that at all - he cites two different researchers, one who says "by 2030", and the other who says "75% chance for the next 5-7 years". The first one is still very much on track. The second one lost his bet - if via the 25% chance or because his modelling was wrong is anyones guess.

  • by Ecuador ( 740021 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2017 @10:25PM (#53870455) Homepage

    Without even reading the $500 billion plan, I can tell that there is no way they have though of all the consequences of using 10 million wind powered pumps to bring water to the top for it to freeze.

  • Not gonna happen (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LTIfox ( 4701003 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2017 @10:29PM (#53870485)
    Russia needs ice free Arctic. For shipping and future oil rigs.
    • I think more accurately: Russia needs oil revenue to balance its budget. If the world stops using oil, Russia stops being a superpower. So they have to fight environmental movements at all costs.

      • by Maritz ( 1829006 )

        If the world stops using oil, Russia stops being a superpower.

        I guess that's Trump's attitude to climate change neatly explained then isn't it?

  • Not going to happen (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Baron_Yam ( 643147 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2017 @10:32PM (#53870507)

    Here's the chronology:

    1) You're being alarmist, there's no issue.

    2) You're being alarmist, this isn't worth spending 500 billion on.

    3) The environmental impact of attempting this could be worse than allowing things to progress naturally.

    4) Too expensive, nobody goes there anyway, and we don't need polar bears to survive. Shame, though.

    5) Well, now it's too late anyway.

    I'm actually kind of on board with #3, but I think we really ought to be getting our asses in gear and looking at the impact of mitigation strategies at the 'global environmental engineering' scale, and maybe doing a few local-scale tests to help build better models to aid in the assessments.

    • by dbIII ( 701233 )

      1) You're being alarmist, there's no issue.

      Indeed, there were so many people on this very web site that ranted that the Arctic would never melt.

      When did all this weird science denialism on climate start? I first noticed it around 1996 and filed it with crystal healing pyramid power, but the shit really spread.

      • People resent being asked to pay more for fuel for their monster trucks.

        • by dbIII ( 701233 )

          People resent being asked to pay more for fuel for their monster trucks.

          There was not science denial during the oil shock. Back then the Republican Party was a Party that respected science instead of tea bagging.
          The anti-science weirdness today can't be explained as rationally as blaming it on the price of oil especially since we've just come through a recent Saudi driven oil price war designed to put our shale oil producers out of business.

    • by jandersen ( 462034 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2017 @04:50AM (#53871889)

      ...we really ought to be getting our asses in gear and looking at the impact of mitigation strategies at the 'global environmental engineering' scale, and maybe doing a few local-scale tests to help build better models to aid in the assessments.

      The idiocy in this is not only in engaging in dubious and expensive schemes that will either not work, may exacerbates the instability of the climate, could be irreversible, might lead to run-away effects etc etc - but we are doing this to avoid having to simply make a few, easy adjustments to our lifestyles, like cut back on brainless consumerism and the myth that the economy must - or even can - grow forever. We are already living on borrowed time; we are using up limited resources and we still resist even thinking about renewable energy - we are only able to feed the 7+ billion people on the planet by spending lots of energy on producing artificial fetilizers (something like 40% of the nitrogen in our bodies now comes from artificial fertilizer - check for yourself). We are already at the point where it would take just 1 year or so of disruption in our chemical industries to produce a worldwide hunger catastrophe, just to put it into a bit of perspective.

      All in all, we really do need to be willing to accept changes - wasting effort on hare-brained shemes is stupid. Climate is only one of the big threats we face, and we can to some extent simply adjust to it, but unless we learn to curb overconsumption in a serious way, it won't matter all that much. Call me alarmist if you will, but I'd much rather be ridiculed by morons today, than have my children and grand-children live through the alternatives.

  • They'd have to find how much GHG, etc, they'd emit manufacturing, shipping, and installing all of those wells and pumps. Then compare that with installing $500 billion of wind turbines, solar PV, etc.
  • And that water isn't frozen when it is below the surface, so it contains some heat. I guess that heat will just radiate into the atmosphere, with no ill effects. Just what the Arctic needs, a giant heat pump!
  • There are long-standing speculations about decrease of ice in the Arctic possibly causing more evaporation from this ocean, hence more precipitation around it. Before we go about refreezing the area, let's see if this effect occurs.

    • There are long-standing speculations about decrease of ice in the Arctic possibly causing more evaporation from this ocean, hence more precipitation around it.

      The big problem with that idea is that water vapor is a GHG. We don't want more evaporation.

      • "The big problem with that idea is that water vapor is a GHG. We don't want more evaporation."

        Significant evaporation, enough to form clouds, would increase the area's albedo, just as if it were still an ice sheet. Let's see if this effect overpowers the greenhouse effect of water.

  • You know what creationism and climate change denial have in common? Nobody outside the US takes them serious.

    Maybe it is time to simply cut the loss and leave them behind. Yeah, it's sad but you can't save 'em all.

  • As I understand it, the problem is that X joules of energy enter the earth from sunlight. Y amount of energy leaves. Energy balance is X-Y. Thanks to greenhouse gasses, Y is now smaller. So net energy is being gained by the earth and it is warming up. This is why the ice is melting.

    If the wind powered pumps don't affect Y, I don't see how this does anything.

    • by z3alot ( 1999894 )
      Arctic ice affects Y by the albedo [wikipedia.org] effect.

      It sucks because warming removes arctic ice, which no longer reflects sunlight, which causes more warming. The summary suggests that when (in the future) arctic ice goes away completely during the summer, this will be very bad.
      • Ah. That's bad. Though I've heard quoted price tags of a mere 10 billion a year or so to inject particles in the upper atmosphere to reflect light away - that sounds like a better idea. The injection stations also don't have to be in the arctic.

  • With a b?
  • The plan has a $500 billion price tag, but that's pocket change compared to the cost of dealing with an ice-free Arctic.

    Wouldn't billions be saved in shipping and transportation expenses if the Arctic was ice-free? That shortens the distance to Asia right?

    • That shortens the distance to Asia right?

      Nope. The distance between Asia to every other places still remains exactly the same.

      • That shortens the distance to Asia right?

        Nope. The distance between Asia to every other places still remains exactly the same.

        In a pedantic sense, yes.

        In a practical sense (per the distance of shipping lanes) perhaps not. But I hardly think ice-free poles, and the accompanying global rise in temperatures and sea-levels, are worth the other consequences. And those include war, mass migration of refugees, shifting of zones of arable land, uncertain survivability of plants moved to different latitudes, and so on.

  • Oh geesh (Score:4, Informative)

    by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2017 @12:06AM (#53871055)
    The Ice level in the arctic is a symptom, not the cause. Otherwise, is this story from the Onion or something?
  • Scientists have missed every prediction on global warming since then whole craze started.
  • nice, nice, very nice.
  • The local effect might be cooling, but overall...

  • Last I heard there were four volcanos in Iceland about to blow us into the next ash-cloud ice age. Can we re-purpose these ice fans as volcanic ash blowers?

  • The problem is that it releases more greenhouse gasses than it traps. All we can really do is stop using carbon based fuels and wait it out. Or find a new place to live.

    • The problem is that it releases more greenhouse gasses than it traps.

      This has nothing to do with GHGs. This is about Albedo, and maintenance of ice that partly drives the weather systems upon which we depend.

  • So if the United States took this up alone and paid for it; it is a better use of money than:

    - the F35.
    - paying other countries to buy military equipment from us to prop up jobs.
    - Mass Surviellance: this is 1/3rd the cost of JUST the Utah Datacenter

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