In the light of the rising level of the oceans, researchers are attempting to find solutions to this situation caused by global warming. In this respect, they are now investigating whether pumping ocean water over Antarctica would make the ice sheet thicker.
The geoengineering solution involves substantially influencing a very important aspect of our planet, which has quite possibly arrived at the current situation because of us humans. The main idea is to pump water from the ocean onto the surface of Antarctica and thus replenish the ice sheet. Scientists are expecting this to either slow or completely stop the current trend of the rising sea levels.
Geoengineering also involves other measures, such as reducing the levels of carbon monoxide in the atmosphere or reflecting sunlight back into space and away from Earth. However, many have voiced their concern for this type of intervention.
Incoming chair Karn Pinkus at the Faculty Advisory Board of Cornell University’s Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future believes that geoengineering must be further investigated, since even climate change can be considered one of its projects.
Therefore, a study was conducted in order to determine whether pumping water over Antarctica would actually make a change. The results were published last Wednesday in the Earth System Dynamics journal.
Researchers made use of computer simulations in order to assess both the benefits and the costs of such a procedure. As co-author Anders Levermann has pointed out, Antarctica is the only continent that humans have not interfered with, and it would be a pity to ruin it with careless actions. However, something must be done to prevent the consequences of the rising sea levels.
While the phenomenon will not be disastrous for humans, it will definitely leave a mark on our cultural heritage. According to Levermann, places such as New York, Toronto, New Orleans or Hamburg are in peril. The sea levels are expected to rise by four meters across the future hundreds of years.
The researchers modeled Antarctica by using ice-flow models and determined that if they loaded extra snow on its eastern section, an ice wave would appear which would push coastal ice towards the ocean. After further research, they determined that the effect was the same no matter where they placed the snow.
The costs are even more problematic than the process itself: it appears that the necessary volume of water that would have to be pumped would cost about seven percent of the total energy supply of our planet each year.
Levermann believes that the endeavor has too many issues to be worth the trouble. However, the final call will be made by the society.
Image Source: Earth & World
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