A planetary scientist at Arizona State University is proposing a massive scheme to add more ice to the Arctic to help slow rising global temperature. But don’t worry, it’s only going to cost taxpayers $500 billion over 10 years.
In an article appearing in the May 2017 edition of Science News Magazine, author Sid Perkins explains the science behind ASU professor Steven Desch’s plan to save the world. According to Desch, thicker ice in the Arctic would trap more heat and help bring global temperature down.
Explaining Desch’s theory, Perkins wrote, “Ice is a good insulator, says Steven Desch, a planetary scientist at Arizona State University in Tempe. That’s why moons such as Jupiter’s Europa and Saturn’s Enceladus, among others, may be able to maintain liquid oceans beneath their thick icy surfaces. On Earth, sea ice is much thinner, but the physics is the same. Ice grows on the bottom surface of floating floes. As the water freezes, it releases heat that must make its way up through the ice before escaping into the air. The thicker the ice, the more heat gets trapped, which slows down ice formation. That’s bad news for the Arctic, where ice helps keep the planet cool but global warming is causing ice to melt faster than it can be replaced.”
How can humans make the ice thicker in the Arctic?
“Suck up near-freezing water from under the ice and pump it directly onto the ice’s surface during the long polar winter,” Perkins wrote, citing Desch. “There, the water would freeze more quickly than underneath the ice, where it usually forms.”
The machines used to suck the water up would work similar to windmills and cost about $50,000 each, according to Desch’s estimates.
Perkins notes, “Over a decade, covering 10 percent of the Arctic Ocean with buoys would cost about $50 billion per year.”
If Desch’s plan were to be put into effect, it would cost $500 billion over a decade, enough to pay the entire budgets for one year for the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Energy, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Justice, Labor, State and Transportation. For just several billion dollars more, the Environmental Protection Agency could be covered as well.
There were about 15.8 million households in the United States in 2015 identified as “food insecure.” The $50 billion per year used on making more ice in the Arctic would be enough to give each of these families more than $3,100 per year to buy additional food.
Does spending $500 billion to produce more ice in the Arctic sound like a good plan to you?
(H/T: Watts Up With That?)