Scientists in the U.K have just determined that an increase in sunshine in the past 20 years is having an effect on the ice melt in Greenland. This could literally affect millions of people worldwide. If the Greenland ice sheet melted we could see global sea levels rise by 6 meters.
It has been estimated that 25 per cent of global sea level rise can be attributed to the melting of the ice sheet on Greenland. Since 1995 Greenland has lost about 4.000 gigatons of ice.
Scientists believe that as the Arctic is warming faster, it is affecting the weather over Greenland. There are less clouds and more clear skies in now. This increase in sunlight explains about two-thirds of the ice melt in Greenland since the 1990’s. Since 2003 ice loss has nearly doubled.
No doubt that things could simply go on towards the day when the ice sheet in Greenland is no more, and millions of people who live by the shore will be severely affected. Just slowing the rate of melt will be difficult. Perhaps we should prepare people for what seems inevitable, a global rise in sea levels in the next 25 years that could be catastrophic.
If there is one good thing about a crisis, it is that it will spur people to think outside the box in a quest for novel solutions. The problem is in selecting the ones that make economic sense and won’t harm more in the long run if they are adopted. Due to the concern that the Arctic may be free of ice by 2030 some scientists have begun to advocate the refreezing of the Arctic using wind-powered pumps. It would involve 10 million devices deployed over ten percent of the Arctic costing at least 500 billion dollars.
With less ice in the Arctic to reflect the sun heat continues to be concentrated which in turn causes further warming. In other words, a negative feedback loop harmful to the planet.
In theory the pumps would work as the ice thickness could be increased by one meter per decade. But, would the pumps work in the harsh conditions of the Arctic? And what about the impact of these pumps on the environment? A lot of questions but no real answers.
Most people agree that something must be done, but these technological solutions are really good for last-ditch efforts, if all fails. The biggest question of all is of course who would pay for such a solution? But it is better now to start thinking about these outlandish solutions so that a real cost can be estimated and better solutions can be found. I am glad to see that some people are thinking about the problem.