Refreezing The Melting Arctic Ice Sheet Will Cost Around $500B

First Posted: Feb 15, 2017 05:55 AM EST

Since all conventional methods of controlling global warming and its consequences on the polar ice caps do not seem to work fast, scientists have proposed a highly non-conventional method of preserving the ice cover in the Arctic. Climate science researchers at Arizona State University have proposed that refreezing the top layer of the Arctic can thicken the layer of ice and delay melting of polar ice caps.

At the outset, it may look an impossible task to accomplish. But scientists have given a lot of thought about it. They propose that building 10 million wind-powered pumps in the Arctic and using them to spread a layer of sea water on the Arctic ice shelf during the winter will help in increasing the thickness of the ice sheet within a few days. If left to nature alone, it may take months and years, reported.

The increasing ambient temperature in the Arctic is eroding the layer of ice, which on an average is 2 meters in thickness. This often causes breakage of large chunks of polar ice. By increasing the thickness of the ice layer, the rate of melting can be significantly deterred.

"Thicker ice would mean longer-lasting ice. In turn, that would mean the danger of all sea ice disappearing from the Arctic in summer would be reduced significantly," Stephen Desch, physicist from the Arizona State University said.

The "out of the box" solution to rapidly melting polar ice was proposed by Desch and his team and was published in the Earth's Future journal, published under the American Geophysical Union. The plan sounds incredible, but it is going to cost around $500 billion, which is a pretty big investment, Konbini reported.

However, Desch and his colleagues believe that although costly, it may be our only chance of saving the melting Arctic ice. He also said that, given the rate at which polar ice caps are melting, the plan should be implemented before 2030, because it is highly probable that the Arctic may become completely ice free in the summer of the years that follow after.

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