By Brij Khandelwal
Agra, March 17 (IANS) To prevent the impending doom that awaits Earth through global warming, three young geo-engineering enthusiasts have offered a simple and cost-effective solution — freeze sea water to rebuild polar ice caps.
Of the three, while Shivendra Pratap Singh Chauhan is a Bengaluru-based engineer, Shruti Chauhan and Ajay Singh are doctors based in Delhi.
In their new book “Novel Geo-engineering Measures for Mitigating Global Warming” published by Lambert, they say, “unregulated industrialisation, environmental degradation and modernisation of agriculture in the last 50 years has prevented trapped heat from escaping into the atmosphere leading a buildup of green house gases”.
“The world is getting warmer each day, and there is no way to contain or reverse this geo-climatic change. The crux of the problem remains the melting of glaciers and the polar ice caps,” Shivendra told the IANS.
What the authors suggest to control the impending disaster is rebuilding the polar ice caps. Their idea is to desalinate sea water through reverse osmosis, and then pump it to a height of around 150-200 feet for sprinkling in the polar region.
“Through this exercise, the sea water will freeze and consolidate the ice caps, and gradually enlarge the size of the snow-covered areas,” he said.
According to Shivendra, “Deep inside the sea, the water temperature is 4 degrees Celsius. If this water is somehow brought 200 feet above the surface of the earth through sprinklers, it will generate a cooling effect. If this process is sustained and expanded throughout the oceans and large water bodies across the globe, a swift reversal of global warming can be achieved.”
“It would cost the world much less if oil producers are incorporated in the exercise. They would have to install water geysers, which would go just about one fourth the distance of their drills that go deep into the sea beds,” he said.
The engineer said fountains at Burj Khalifa in the UAE were already making water sprays through their systems to such a height. With some ingenuity, something similar can be repeated in the polar region every 500 metres apart, especially during winter.
These jets — placed all around the polar ice caps, maybe 3-5 km away from the edges — can spray on them ice cold deep sea water from a height. Precipitation of this ice will help build deeper ice extending the base as well.
According to Shivendra, the exercise would require a network of siphons over several thousand square kilometres to bring up near freezing water from deep water bodies, sea and oceans.
Working only during the winter season, when the environmental temperatures are very low in and around the polar regions, maybe many degrees below zero, would aid in rapid conversion of water to snow/ice.
Once installed, these systems would work 24×7, and we anticipate an experimental area of 1,000 square kms to start with, will be covered with fresh layers of 6-10 feet of snow/ice during just one winter season, said Shivendra.
The only precaution needed would be to prevent conduit pipe clogs and bursts. The best way to ensure that would be using the right material and seeing that the water being siphoned does not freeze before it is expelled from the sprinklers.
Saline sea water lifted out from thermocline zone at 4-11 degree Celsius may not freeze even when exposed to sub-zero winter. Therefore, incorporation of desalination plants may become necessary, he said.
Desalination to near potable levels may be required for best conversion of this siphoned up sea water into snow and ice, he added.
The long-term aim should be to cover the polar regions once again with sufficient snow that can last and withstand at least a few years without melting away. After a point, nature will take care and help extend the freeze-cover, which would in the course of time hold back the melting of ice, to retain the existing sea level.
(Brij Khandelwal can be contacted at [email protected])