Global warming and rising ocean levels were a problem the ancient Romans might have dealt with to a degree. They were a few shades closer to the last ice age and didn't build as frequently as the 'strip malls' which go up here in the modern US every day. I worry about water levels in Venice destroying great architecture and history whenever I go to Italy.
Modern handwringing about the loss of ice caps and glaciers prompted me to think about the situation.
People say 'global warming' but really the only observable phenomenon I see are less ice and some upper atmospheric changes. Since my 'junk science' thinking can't come up with anything at the moment for the upper atmosphere, indulge me my ramblings about ice today...
When fresh water is floating around in salt water, what is the actual mechanism for melting scientifically speaking? Well if you are like most people and said a rise in temperature, then you are partially correct, on the surface. But consider that the ice is floating in near freezing cold salt water, which is actually colder than freshwater ice (back in ancient times, they say the Romans made ice cream with salt water to make things even colder).
And, there is no shortage of volume of that colder-than-ice salt water compared to the thin ice crust. Even large glaciers are not nearly as tall as the depths of the Arctic Ocean, right?
So I understand the melting of freshwater ice in salt water to be related to the edges (of the ice that is). The salt particles contaminate the freshwater ice and lower its freezing point, which if the temperature is just under freshwater freezing, the freshwater ice melts away. The ice on the caps is replenished with weather systems (dropping fresh water rain, aka 'snow'), but maybe that's not enough? What if there are other particles (air delivered chemicals or residue) which lower the freezing point of the polar ice like salt does?
My half-baked solution to all this would be create enormous desalinization / filtration plants at the poles to remove contaminants; a kind of 'Santa's Workshop' of fresh water. The fresh water would then be pumped onto remaining polar ice where it could refreeze because it is still colder than freezing in those places.
To do this on such a large scale to affect ocean levels would require enormous power, and nuclear fission springs to mind. Of course, that generates large amounts of heat which could be counter productive unless it was used really really efficiently. Does anyone have a cheap limitless power source that operates at low temperatures to be used in this project? Will you give that to me for free?
The Week in Review
17 hours ago