Study Proposes Crazy Plan To 'Prop Up' Antarctica And Save The Planet


In a new research, a couple of scientists has proposed a crazy idea to build a wall around the ice sheets of Antarctica.

Michael J. Wolovick and John C. Moore have published a paper that explores geoengineering options to slow down the collapse of ice sheets. This will buy the human race some time to figure out a way to reverse the effects of global warming.

The study was published this week in The Cryosphere.

Global Flooding

Global warming, which has been causing the rapid collapse of ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland, has been causing the sea level to rise at an alarming rate. According to NASA, since 1993, the global sea level has been rising at an average of 3 millimeters every year caused by melting ice sheets and mountain glaciers.

Scientists predict that several states in the United States, especially the ones near the coast, will be plunged underwater if the sea level continues to rise.

To prevent this from happening, Wolovick and Moore proposed that a wall should be built under the ice sheets. The study focused on Thwaites Glacier in Antarctica, an unstable glacier the size of Florida that would greatly contribute to the rise of the global sea level.

"Thwaites could easily trigger a runaway [West Antarctic] ice sheet collapse that would ultimately raise global sea level by about 3 meters," said Wolovick of Princeton University's Department of Geosciences.

Glacier Engineering

The researchers used 2-D ice-ocean simulation to explore two ideas: one is to build a wall underwater to block warm water and the other is constructing artificial columns on the sea floor. They found that artificial sill or artificial pinning points could stop ice sheets to collapse.

The study also claims that a smaller intervention (size of "existing civil engineering projects) would have a 30 percent success rate. However, bigger and more dramatic structures could be a lot more successful in keeping ice sheets out of the water.

The authors of the study also wrote that if geoengineering Thwaites Glacier works, the same idea can be adapted to smaller glaciers. The most sophisticated design, which could become biggest civil engineering project that the human race has ever attempted, could prevent ice sheet collapse for the next 1,000 years.

This, of course, would not be the final solution to prevent the sea level to rise any further. The world still needs to find a way to dramatically decrease the volume of greenhouse gases emitted to the atmosphere daily.

"The more carbon we emit, the less likely it becomes that the ice sheets will survive in the long term at anything close to their present volume," Wolovick added.

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