Scientists Want to Refreeze the Arctic

S. Talekar, Staff Writer, Special Topics Coordinator for Science, Tech Support Team

It’s widely known that the Arctic is shrinking. The Arctic has been shrinking since the 1970s and scientists have identified the reasons: rising air and water temperatures, ocean circulation changes, ocean acidification, and climate change. Many have proposed solutions to this problem but this one shows real promise. 

Indonesian designers have a bold plan. They want to refreeze the arctic using “a submersible vessel capable of producing 16-foot-thick, 82-foot wide hexagonal icebergs.” The vessel would first fill the inner cavity of the vessel with seawater. Then, the salt would be filtered and a hatch would move over the chamber to block the sunlight from the water. The iceberg would then form naturally inside of the vessel and then be released after a month. The hexagonal shape of the iceberg was designed to encourage the ice masses made from the vessel to interlock with each other.

However, this plan is not supported by everybody. Andrew Shepherd, an Earth Observation professor, questions how effective this plan would actually be. He thinks that replacing the polar ice caps that have melted would take around ten million machines. Shepherd also points out that the ice does not actually alter the sea levels. If reducing sea levels was the goal of this project then this solution would not meet the goal.

Whether people support this idea or not, scientists think this field and idea are worth looking into. 

This idea causes lots of controversy due to whether it is worth it or not. At the moment, all we know is that our sea levels are rising and our earth is warming up. We need to do something quick before it’s too late. The real question is whether this can be a long term solution to fix our environment before it gets out of hand.