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$500 Billion Plan to Refreeze the Arctic Revealed by Scientists

Feb 16, 2017 10:08 AM EST
Antarctica
A group of 14 scientists has submitted a $500-worth proposal to use gigantic machines to save the Arctic from the harsh effects of climate change.
(Photo : Mario Tama/Getty Images)

A group of 14 scientists has submitted a $500-worth proposal to use gigantic machines to save the Arctic from the harsh effects of climate change.

The group, led by astrophysicist Steven Desch, suggested using massive devices that would pump 1.3 meters of water to the surface during the winter. The water would come from beneath the ice.

The idea comes from the theory that the cold temperature would freeze the water and thicken the ice cap. Based on their computation, this would increase the ice's thickness by one meter per decade.

The wind-powered pumps are to be deployed across the 10 percent of the area. Their estimate suggests that a total of 10 million pumps which would require 10 million tons of steel per year are needed.

While it may seem ambitious, the paper argues that the 2015 Paris Agreement would not be enough to solve the Arctic crisis. In addition, the current administration's lack of support for climate change initiatives is also adding more pressure on the scientists to think of an urgent solution for the dilemma.

"Our only strategy at present seems to be to tell people to stop burning fossil fuels," Desch told The Guardian. "It's a good idea but it is going to need a lot more than that to stop the Arctic's sea ice from disappearing."

Science Alert noted that this is not the first proposal that involved "geoengineering" the Arctic to address the rapid melting of the sea ice. Other proposals include scattering bright aerosol particles over the ice to deflect solar radiation and creating artificial clouds to prevent heat from reaching the surface.

Meanwhile, an expert who was not involved in the study thinks that the proposal of Desch's team would not work.

"Global warming in response to rising CO2 concentrations would continue despite efforts to grow ice in the Arctic," Julienne Stroeve of University College London told CNN. "Thus, the excess heat at lower latitudes would still be transported towards the Arctic via atmospheric and oceanic circulation and this would counter efforts to grow ice in the Arctic."

Recent estimate suggests that if no measures are taken to curb CO2 emissions, summer Arctic sea ice would be gone by 2030.

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