Scientists sprinkle millions of small glass beads on glaciers to prevent them from melting by reflecting the sun's rays
- Ice911 wants to use silica granules to prevent rapid glacier melting
- The glassy sand would help to reflect the sun and prevent warming
- Researchers say the silica substance is safe for natural environments
- Beads are already being tested in Alaska, where they increase reflectivity
- Critics mention the $ 5 billion price tag and the potential impact on the environment
A new type of silica bead can help save melting glaciers from the attack of climate change, scientists say.
The innovative new approach, developed by a company called Ice911, uses miniscule glass beads that are scattered across the surface layer of glaciers.
There they help to reflect light that falls on them and to slow it down, which has become a huge melting rate in recent years.
& # 39; I just asked myself a very simple question: is there a safe material that can help replace that lost reflectivity? & # 39; Found from Ice911, Leslie Field told mom Jones.
Leslie Fields (pictured above) wants to cover glaciers with a sandy mixture of silica granules that can reflect the sun's rays and slow the rapid ice melt.
The Ice911 mixture consists of small spheres of silica – a material that is often found in rocks – which they say is environmentally friendly
What they ended up with was a silica-based substance – silicon is a widely used ingredient in many rocks – capable of safely replenishing thinner ice and helping to strengthen its resilience against the sun and warmer weather.
So far it has been demonstrated that the new new method, which is being tested in Alaska, is surprisingly effective.
In a paper published by the American Geophysical Union, a field test reported an increase in reflectivity of 15 to 20 percent due to the beads.
In the Arctic, according to a report by Mother Jones, this can translate into a reduction in the temperature reduction of 1.5 degrees Celsius, a reduction in sea temperature by 3 degrees and an increase in ice thickness to 20 inches.
For a controversial climate, the Ice911 solution for melt restriction has not come a moment too soon.
Earlier this summer, around 90 percent of Greenland's ice sheet melted between July 30 and August 2, during which time an estimated 55 billion tons of ice flowed from the island and into the ocean, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center.
Greenland lost in just one five-day heat wave this summer 55 billion tons of ice cream.
The melting of the Greenland ice sheet is one of the more visible signs of man-made climate change due to the burning of fossil fuels and has contributed to a rapid rise in sea levels that endanger many coastal areas.
The North Pole is testing the ground for the Ice911 solution which, according to them, has increased reflectivity by 15 to 20 percent
Despite the apparent effectiveness of the Ice911 silica-based solution, there are still major obstacles that prevent its widespread application.
First, not everyone is convinced that coating glacial landscapes with glass beads will have a mild impact on natural environments – one of the most involved on this front is the indigenous population in areas such as Alaska, Mother Jones reports.
Secondly, despite the Ice911 idea, the implementation would be relatively inexpensive compared to other, larger geo-engineering projects, still costing an estimated $ 5 billion.
Scientists have also long been frustrated with technical solutions to climate change such as those proposed by Ice911, citing their potential to divert from addressing the underlying problems that climate change is causing.
& # 39; It has never been the intention or can we replace the need to do emissions reduction and get renewable energy sources in place & # 39 ;, Field told mother Jones.
& # 39; This is part of a much larger picture that needs to be done, but it is an essential part. As far as we can see, this is the single largest lever that one could now safely tackle in climate change. & # 39;
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