In yet another effort to use geothermal engineering techniques to reverse the effects of global warming, an engineering company in Mongolia's capitol is set to make its own glaciers to "help to cool and water the city as it slowly melts during the summer," according to The Guardian.
The Guardian reports that the engineering firm ECOS & EMI will drill holes in forming ice in the Tuul river this winter and create "layers of ice rinks" from water that springs up to the surface as a result and freezes. The firm will do this several times this winter in the hopes that they will be able to "store" freezing winter temperatures in Ulan Bator for warmer summer months.
The Guardian has more on the technique that the firm hopes will decrease reliance on air conditioners and provide more supply for drinking and irrigation water:
The project aims to artificially create "naleds" - ultra-thick slabs of ice that occur naturally in far northern climes when rivers or springs push through cracks in the surface to seep outwards during the day and then add an extra layer of ice during the night. Unlike regular ice formation on lakes -- which only gets to a metre in thickness before it insulates the water below -- naleds continue expanding for as long as there is enough water pressure to penetrate the surface. Many are more than seven metres thick, which means they melt much later than regular ice.
The qualities of naleds (also known as Aufeis, German for "ice on top")have been known for hundreds of years. The North Korean military used them to build river crossings for tanks during the winter and Russia has used them as drilling platforms. But engineers usually see them in negative terms as a threat to railways and bridges.
The Anglo-Mongolian company believe their proposed use in Ulan Bator could set a positive example that allows northern cities around the world to save on summer air conditioning costs, regulate drinking supplies, and create cool microclimates.
The $750,000 "ice shield" project, if proven to actually work, could be adopted in areas with sufficiently code winters and hot, dry summers.