4 Mar 2017

Chilling out: making ice in the Arctic

From This Way Up, 12:25 pm on 4 March 2017
Arctic Ocean

Arctic Ocean Photo: (Public Domain)

With predictions that the Arctic could be ice-free by 2030, an ambitious geoengineering project aims to create more ice by circulating water using no less than 10 million wind turbines.

The man with the plan is Professor Steve Desch, an astrophysicist at Arizona State University.

Geoengineering is the deliberate and large-scale intervention in the earth's climate system to combat climate change.

Attempts to block or reflect the sun's rays so far include giant space mirrors, releasing millions of tonnes of sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere, even pouring cereal and ping-pong balls into the sea.

Professor Steve Desch plans to combat the melting of polar ice caps by covering 10 percent of the Arctic Ocean with wind turbines that will pump water on to the ice during winter to promote more freezing.

To do this on such a scale will take 10 million turbines each costing US$50,000 - a total bill of US$500 billion.

Arctic Turbine Diagram

Arctic Turbine Diagram Photo: (Credit Sue Selkirk and John Morgan Cristoph)