The ‘insane’ plan to save the Arctic’s sea-ice: BBC

By Andrew Blackman - March 18, 2024
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Map showing extent of the Arctic's sea-ice in September 1979 versus September 2023. Much less sea-ice is present in 2023, especially to the north-east of Russia.

On Canada’s northern coast, scientists are pumping saltwater into the ocean in an effort to slow global warming. As the BBC reports, they are deliberately intervening in the Earth’s climate system to try to counteract the damage we have done to it.

– In Cambridge Bay, a tiny Canadian village in the Arctic Circle, researchers drilled a hole in the sea-ice and are pumping around 1,000 litres of seawater per minute across the surface. Exposed to the cold winter air, the water quickly freezes, helping to thicken the ice on top.

– “The idea is that the thicker the ice [at the end of winter], the longer it will survive when we go into the melt season,” says Andrea Ceccolini of Real Ice, a British company leading the trip. The researchers have already seen the ice thicken by a few tens of centimetres across their small study area.

– It’s still far too early to say whether this approach can actually make a difference. One issue is that the saltier ice may melt more quickly in the summer. And then there’s the huge logistical challenge of scaling the project up to a meaningful level.

– The researchers acknowledge that geoengineering is no silver bullet to tackling climate change, and that steep cuts to fossil fuels and carbon emissions are most important to avoid the worst consequences of warming.

 
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