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Scientists believe ice caps could be refrozen to prevent further melting


Injecting a type of reflective particle into the high atmosphere could refreeze the arctic (Courtesy NOAA)
Injecting a type of reflective particle into the high atmosphere could refreeze the arctic (Courtesy NOAA)

Kevan Karanjia, Staff Writer

December 13, 2012 — The increasingly serious problem of the melting polar ice caps has led one scientist to come up with a ground breaking idea that wouldn't be costly to nations.

Scientists predict that the Arctic Ocean could be ice-free in summer months within 20 years (Courtesy NOAA)
Scientists predict that the Arctic Ocean could be ice-free in summer months within 20 years (Courtesy NOAA)

According to a paper in the Nature journal, injecting a type of reflective particle into the high atmosphere could reduce the amount of sunlight reaching the Earth’s surface. 

The resulting reduction in the amount of sunlight that reaches the surface will cause an immediate temperature drop in the affected region. 

David Keith, a professor from Calgary who teaches applied physics at Harvard University has lead the controversial study which could have major ramifications on flood projections in low-lying cities. 

The paper states, "Long-established estimates show that Solar-radiation management could offset this century's global average temperature rise at least 100 times more cheaply than emissions cuts." 

A separate paper mentions that the whole process could be done with modified Gulfstream jets. Annually, the cost could be around $8 billion.

The prospect of Geo-engineering has scientists excited, but cautious (Courtesy NOAA)
The prospect of Geo-engineering has scientists excited, but cautious (Courtesy NOAA)

While the plan is feasible, many scientists don't believe Geo-engineering is the answer just yet. 

The refreezing proposal, has been argued, should be used only in a climate emergency, as the potential climate surprises that could arise are yet to be determined.

The problem of melting ice caps has progressively gotten worse with researchers estimating that since 1992, melting ice caps have contributed 11 millimetres, or one-fifth of the total global sea-level rise.

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