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Arctic Refreezing Plan Coming From Arizona Scientists

16 February 2017, 7:40 am EST By Kalyan Kumar Tech Times
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To stem the erosion of sea ice cap scientists from the Arizona University have proposed a refreezing of the Arctic by installing 10 million wind powered pumps to spray sea water over the ice during winter to thicken the ice.   ( Wikimedia )

Amidst soaring concerns over the rising temperatures at unheard levels in the range of 20°C plus (36°F) at the North Pole, the Arctic area is hogging greater scientific attention with many plans floating on how to stem the erosion of sea ice.

The latest contingency plan seeks to 'refreeze' the Arctic by installing 10 million wind-powered pumps that will spray sea water to the surface of the sea ice for replenishing and reinforcing thickness during winter.

"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," said Steven Desch who is the lead researcher and Arizona State University physicist.

Calling for proactive action to restore ice than preaching restraint to stop emission, the scientist noted that by merely telling people not to burn fossil fuels will not work.

"Our only strategy at present seems to be to tell people to stop burning fossil fuels," added Desch.

The project has been published in Earth's Future.

Refreezing Project Cost $500 Billion

The cost of adding 10 million pumps has been worked out to be $500 billion. The scientists argue that the current loss of ice is twice the rate predicted a few years ago and the 2015 Paris climate agreement is inadequate in checking the region's sea ice from total vanishing by 2030.

According to environmentalists, if Arctic sea ice cover is lost completely, then the consequences would be far-reaching and may affect many species — including Arctic cod and polar bears — and finish its rare habitat.

The removal of ice will also take away the buffer that deflects solar radiation and hasten the melting of permafrost and push many greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere.

More Options

Other projects to stem sea-ice loss include whitening of Arctic by spraying light-colored aerosol particles to reflect solar radiation and pumping of seawater into the atmosphere to make clouds reflect sunlight away from the surface.

Despite the costly nature of these imaginative projects, the fact that they are being considered shows the level of anxiety prevailing among scientists on the Arctic's ice loss.

"The situation is causing grave concern," said Professor Julienne Stroeve from the University College London.

According to the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, the coverage of Arctic's sea ice in January at 13.38 million square km has been the lowest ever in four decades after the satellite tracking of the polar region started.

Scientists are expecting the complete loss of sea ice in Arctic by 2030 if the current rate of emission persists.

Arctic Pollution Up

Meanwhile, Arctic pollution is also hogging the limelight. A team of researchers from Germany wrote in Deep Sea Research about the scale of polar pollution.

In the paper, Mine K. Tekman of the Alfred Wegener Institute expressed surprise at the bulging garbage washed up in the Arctic despite its far-flung location.

Their study tracked garbage growth from 2002 to 2014, especially the menace of growth in small plastic waste.

The team watched litter at two stations between Greenland and Svalbard under the AWI deep-sea observatory network and noticed how receding Arctic sea has been augmenting the influx of tourism and shipping into the area.

After imaging 2,500 meters of depth, the team observed that 3,485 pieces of litter per square kilometer had grown to 6,333 by 2014.

The report noted the "current waste management frameworks are inadequate" in handling the problem of marine litter pollution.

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