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  • "Potential risks, especially to local ecosystems, need careful analysis," the scientists concluded. "In our view, however, the greatest risk is doing nothing."  | Photo: Reuters

Published 18 March 2018

The rising sea levels caused by these melting glaciers pose an imminent threat to the low-lying, densely populated regions. 

A group of scientists has proposed blueprints detailing the glacier engineering in polar regions to help slow down the melting process of the world's glaciers, which, they say would cost 10s of billions at a given time, according to the Guardian.   

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The rising sea levels caused by these melting glaciers pose an imminent threat to the low-lying, densely populated regions in the world, like parts of Bangladesh, Japan, and the Netherlands.

With the continued rate of global warming, flooding in these regions can cost trillions of dollars a year, and the proposed engineering projects could be a great asset in helping with the issue, John Moore, professor of climate change at the University of Lapland, told the Guardian. 

"We think that geoengineering of glaciers could delay much of Greenland and Antarctica’s grounded ice from reaching the sea for centuries, buying time to address global warming," the scientists wrote in the current issue of Nature.

"Geoengineering of glaciers has received little attention in journals. Most people assume that it is unfeasible and environmentally undesirable. We disagree."  

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Some of the key ideas proposed as part of the engineering plans include building a 100-metre high wall on the seabed across a 5 km-wide inlet at the end of the Jakobshavn glacier in western Greenland, the glacier is one of the fastest-moving ice masses on Earth and contributes more to sea-level rise than any other glacier in the Northern Hemisphere, according to Nature, and the extension could help reduce influxes of warming sea water that are eroding the glacier’s base.

The scientists also proposed building artificial islands in front of glaciers in Antarctica in order to reinforce them and limit their collapse as their ice melts due to global warming, and use of cooled brine circulation underneath glaciers like the Pine Island glacier in Antarctica to prevent their bases from melting and sliding towards the sea. 

"Potential risks, especially to local ecosystems, need careful analysis," the scientists concluded. "In our view, however, the greatest risk is doing nothing." 

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