March 2, 2024

Underwater protective curtains against melting ice? Researchers are divided!

What can be done about melting ocean glaciers? Researchers have an idea!
Leon Purer Leon Purer 4 minutes

The idea, pushed by glaciologists such as John Moore, involves installing massive curtains near glaciersTo protect them from the influence of warm ocean water. However, opinions on the feasibility and effectiveness of this geoengineering procedure are strongly divided.

The idea and its challenges

The vision of underwater curtains as a protective shield against melting polar ice sheets is fascinating because of their innovative power. John Moore, a glaciologist at the University of Lapland in Finland, is one of the main proponents of this idea. Given the alarming loss of ice in the polar regions, Moore suggests creating curtains to prevent warm ocean water from reaching the base of the ice shelves. Each curtain is about 100 meters high, and is fixed to the sea floor It is made from environmentally friendly materials such as natural fibers to reduce potential environmental impacts.

However, the idea has drawn criticism. The discussion revolves around two main points: Technical feasibility and financial feasibility. The harsh conditions in polar environments make implementing such large-scale projects extremely difficult. The cost is estimated at about 40-80 billion dollars to install a curtain 80 kilometers long and 600 meters deep, in addition to annual maintenance costs ranging between 1-2 billion dollars. These numbers are largely disproportionate to previous global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The debate about geoengineering and the fear of distraction

The curtain idea raises larger questions regarding geoengineering strategies. Some scientists see this as a possible short-term measure to slow the melting process. The Center for Climate Reform at the University of Cambridge is planning laboratory experiments to test mathematical models of the curtains. However, these researchers do not view the curtains as a final solution to the climate problem, but rather as a way to reduce pressure on the ice while taking parallel measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

However, critics argue that focusing on such technological solutions can distract from the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Concern about potential negative environmental impacts, especially regarding nutrient flow and local ecosystems, raises skepticism about the curtain idea. Some experts even doubt that the curtains will have a meaningful impact on sea levels, as many factors contribute to their rise.

Conclusion: Challenges and uncertainties remain

Overall, the debate over underwater canopies highlights the challenges and uncertainties associated with geoengineering strategies. While the idea is great and innovative, there are technical, financial and environmental hurdles to overcome. The uncertainty about whether this measure can make a significant contribution to tackling climate change highlights the need for further research and experimentation.

However, the discussion about geoengineering should not obscure the urgent importance of reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. The world faces the challenge of finding sustainable solutions that respect nature and have positive long-term climate impacts. Underwater canopies may be an interesting approach, but tackling the climate crisis ultimately requires a comprehensive approach that includes technological innovations and changes in behavior and policies.

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