The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
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    Default To refreeze the arctic

    CNN Link

    Quote Originally Posted by CNN
    If planting more trees can replenish forests and remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, then could we also repopulate the Arctic with ice?

    That's a question posed by a team of Indonesian designers with an eye-catching response to the climate crisis: iceberg-making submarines.

    The idea, recently named runner-up in an international design competition appealing for radical approaches to sustainability, is the latest in a series of new proposals for "refreezing" the Earth's poles -- from sprinkling them with artificial sand to blasting seawater into the sky to brighten the clouds.
    Details at the link. I'm not at all convinced this idea has merit. It's the equivalent of dropping an icemaker into the sea. All very well, but if the overall climate is melting arctic ice, won't these newly created icebergs be like a few extra grains of sand on a very, very, large beach? I just don't see how it could help the underlying heat problem in the first place.

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    Default Re: To refreeze the arctic

    Especially since producing ice uses a lot of energy and therefore produces a lot of heat, yeah.

    Seems a weird idea. I'm a much bigger fan of albedo-changing projects and ocean fertilizing.
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    Default Re: To refreeze the arctic

    This isn't so much an ice maker as it's removing salt from the water which allows it to freeze easier naturally. That ice could then be used as a base for more ice to form. This is't supposed ot del with the main problem of climate change, but help the planet recover.
    Last edited by HandofShadows; 2019-09-03 at 08:56 AM.
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    Default Re: To refreeze the arctic

    I saw a documentary on this like 15 years ago.

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    Default Re: To refreeze the arctic

    Quote Originally Posted by HandofShadows View Post
    This isn't so much an ice maker as it's removing salt from the water which allows it to freeze easier naturally. That ice could then be used as a base for more ice to form. This is't supposed ot del with the main problem of climate change, but help the planet recover.
    Because ice has a higher albedo than either open water or rock, coating areas with ice actually does help fight climate change (and the loss of ice contributes to a feedback loop that spurs additional warming), so producing more ice cover is a method to fight climate change, if a somewhat inefficient one.

    These submarines though, aren't really an effective method. They just aren't something you could easily scale (and even if they're powered by renewables, there would almost certainly be a massive carbon footprint to producing millions of them). Removing salt to create ice might be a useful geoengineering technology, but to make it work you probably need membrances that coat whole square kilometers or something equally massive.
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    Default Re: To refreeze the arctic

    I think this comes under the heading of "things that may be interesting and cool, no pun intended, once we've solved the whole carbon emissions problem".

    At present it's like bailing water out of a boat that's already sunk. If we can get the boat afloat again, then it may be helpful - but right now, not so much.
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    Default Re: To refreeze the arctic

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    I saw a documentary on this like 15 years ago.

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    Send out balls of garbage, take in ice. Seems legit.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
    Send out balls of garbage, take in ice. Seems legit.
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    Default Re: To refreeze the arctic

    Releasing large amounts of sulfur dioxide should counter greenhouse gasses, but pretty much nobody wants to mess with the chemistry of the atmosphere even more at this point.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    Releasing large amounts of sulfur dioxide should counter greenhouse gasses, but pretty much nobody wants to mess with the chemistry of the atmosphere even more at this point.
    Not to mention it's toxic and if you did release a lot you would have a lot more acid rain. Sounds like that cure might be worse than the disease.
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    Quote Originally Posted by HandofShadows View Post
    Not to mention it's toxic and if you did release a lot you would have a lot more acid rain. Sounds like that cure might be worse than the disease.
    Sounds like an "I don't know why she swallowed that fly" scenario.
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    Default Re: To refreeze the arctic

    Well, Florida Man says we should drop ice in front of Hurricane Dorian to deprive it of fuel and thus divert its course or mitigate its impact.

    The ridicule this is being met with suggests the OP is a non-starter. If we can't cool the ocean with ice enough to divert a hurricane, I don't think we'll be able to refreeze the arctic either.

    The sulphur dioxide solution sounds suspiciously like Matrix-style Scorching the Sky. I wonder if there are other ideas not discussed?

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    Default Re: To refreeze the arctic

    I haven't heard much about breeding or making GMOs of plants so they absorb more carbon, like Kelp which grow at amazing rates redesigned to sequester as much as possible.

    Deacidifying the oceans would help as well, a lot of carbon sequestering is done by organisms that are fragile to acidification like Sea Butterflies.
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    Default Re: To refreeze the arctic

    This seems like a pretty standard SRM project. It's a bit of a desperate gambit which will have weird side effects, and it's a strictly worse option than getting GHGs under control, but seeing as we're doing terribly at that and carbon capture is in its infancy it's looking like a desperate measures for desperate times situation.

    There are some heavy disadvantages here though. Put simply, equilibrium changes are better than direct energy/mass inputs. At the highest level we see this in how we got into this situation in the first place; total human energy output does approximately nothing to global temperature directly, bumping up a concentration that affects radiation output rates clearly does. This also applies to changes though, if at all possible you don't want to fight the LeChatellier Principle. Changing self correcting systems sucks, and so you want to implement your own to push to the levels you need if you can.

    SRM is almost always on the wrong side of that, and this is no exception. Stuff like painting roofs white will fade eventually, but the ice melts relatively quickly. On top of that desalination is pretty energetically expensive, especially mobile desalination. This would also take an enormous amount of ice, which is far denser than clouds for a comparable albedo effect, and that's before getting into the matter of how cloud seeding adds a pretty tiny amount of material to get a lot of cloud in terms of mass fraction, while desalination involves processing a comparable amount of water. There's not a good system for messing with equilibriums at a distance here, and that really hurts.

    There are also some really big advantages though, starting with how this is about as good as SRM can feasibly get in terms of side effect avoidance. Ice is going back where it was originally, which means that you'll be dealing with none of the weather disruption common to other SRM techniques. Those tend to play merry havoc with rainfall levels all throughout the tropics, both in terms of the total amount and in terms of when it falls. This doesn't do good things with crop production, whether that's drought or flooding caused, and certain places tend to get hit especially hard. One is Bangladesh, which pretty much inevitably ends up taking the brunt of weather effects from just about any SRM technique. Another is Indonesia, which is probably part of why scientists are working on this there.

    Hopefully this turns out to be useful, and it can definitely become a usable technique if renewables get significantly better or if we ever crack energy efficient fusion. The scale is still a concern even there though, but it could be an area where every bit helps.
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    Default Re: To refreeze the arctic

    Simple solution, Launch many many large rockets into space, with tethers welded to the earths crust. Have them drag us ever so slightly further away from the sun. Boom, earth cools down and we are saved. I accept my nobel prize money in small non-sequential bills please.
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    Default Re: To refreeze the arctic

    Quote Originally Posted by Traab View Post
    Simple solution, Launch many many large rockets into space, with tethers welded to the earths crust. Have them drag us ever so slightly further away from the sun. Boom, earth cools down and we are saved. I accept my nobel prize money in small non-sequential bills please.
    Do you take bitcoin?

    Here's my contender: move all the heavy industry to Mars. If it warms up Mars, it becomes more livable and not less. So we get TWO livable planets for the price of one.


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    Quote Originally Posted by pendell View Post
    Do you take bitcoin?

    Here's my contender: move all the heavy industry to Mars. If it warms up Mars, it becomes more livable and not less. So we get TWO livable planets for the price of one.


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    We need to get a space elevator on each planet and railguns to launch things between them up first. Since we aren't even building one elevator yet, seems like a distant solution.
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    Default Re: To refreeze the arctic

    Quote Originally Posted by Traab View Post
    Simple solution, Launch many many large rockets into space, with tethers welded to the earths crust. Have them drag us ever so slightly further away from the sun.
    Someone never played Kerbal Space Program.
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    Default Re: To refreeze the arctic

    Quote Originally Posted by Traab View Post
    Simple solution, Launch many many large rockets into space, with tethers welded to the earths crust. Have them drag us ever so slightly further away from the sun. Boom, earth cools down and we are saved.
    As an added benefit, this would make years longer. Thus - assuming we can calibrate correctly - letting us finally rationalise the calendar, and of course letting us all live longer. Make it so!
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    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    As an added benefit, this would make years longer. Thus - assuming we can calibrate correctly - letting us finally rationalise the calendar, and of course letting us all live longer. Make it so!
    Wouldn't longer years mean we die sooner?
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    Default Re: To refreeze the arctic

    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    As an added benefit, this would make years longer. Thus - assuming we can calibrate correctly - letting us finally rationalise the calendar, and of course letting us all live longer. Make it so!
    Spoiler: We can do that already with the International Fixed Calendar. It's been around for more than a hundred years now, we just need to start using it.
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    Default Re: To refreeze the arctic

    Quote Originally Posted by Traab View Post
    Simple solution, Launch many many large rockets into space, with tethers welded to the earths crust. Have them drag us ever so slightly further away from the sun. Boom, earth cools down and we are saved. I accept my nobel prize money in small non-sequential bills please.
    I assume all launched rockets already push the earth ever so slightly (since they push off against the earth). If we simply make it mandatory for all rocket launches to happen at mid-day (facing the sun, and thus pushing the earth away from the sun) instead of also at other times (which might push the earth back), we don't even need the tethers!
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    Quote Originally Posted by pendell View Post
    Do you take bitcoin?

    Here's my contender: move all the heavy industry to Mars. If it warms up Mars, it becomes more livable and not less. So we get TWO livable planets for the price of one.


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    This sounds suspicious...

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    Default Re: To refreeze the arctic

    Quote Originally Posted by Traab View Post
    Simple solution, Launch many many large rockets into space, with tethers welded to the earths crust. Have them drag us ever so slightly further away from the sun. Boom, earth cools down and we are saved. I accept my nobel prize money in small non-sequential bills please.
    This cannot work due to earth's spin. Space elevators theoretically manage to stay up because they link to a point in geostationary orbit.

    This requires lines to link to a point outside of earth's orbit of the sun, under which the earth is turning (or we would not have day and night), so even assuming we could make a cable tough enough to use as a tow-line and find a way of anchoring it that wouldn't simply rip off, the earth's spin would coil the tethers back down onto the surface.

    The only points where this isn't true are the poles, there's nothing to anchor to at the north pole unless we melt a hole in the icecap to get through to the sea floor, which just makes the problem worse.
    At the south pole you might be able to do it, but there's only room for one rocket (more than one means the spin of the earth coils the cables together.

    In short, your idea doesn't even come close. Take a ticket for the queue to submit your next idea.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Khedrac View Post
    This cannot work due to earth's spin. Space elevators theoretically manage to stay up because they link to a point in geostationary orbit.

    This requires lines to link to a point outside of earth's orbit of the sun, under which the earth is turning (or we would not have day and night), so even assuming we could make a cable tough enough to use as a tow-line and find a way of anchoring it that wouldn't simply rip off, the earth's spin would coil the tethers back down onto the surface.

    The only points where this isn't true are the poles, there's nothing to anchor to at the north pole unless we melt a hole in the icecap to get through to the sea floor, which just makes the problem worse.
    At the south pole you might be able to do it, but there's only room for one rocket (more than one means the spin of the earth coils the cables together.

    In short, your idea doesn't even come close. Take a ticket for the queue to submit your next idea.
    This can easily be salvaged: have the thrusters at the geostationary orbit all around the equator and simply fire them up, when they are in the right position. Now we just need strong enough cables, thrusters and wallets to pay for this. Also to be a bit crazier then we are.
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    That and every SRM concern about increased GHG emissions as a byproduct are multiplied a thousandfold for this rocket plan. In terms of the earth being big causing engineering problems it's hard to do more than compete with its actual total mass. The atmosphere and ocean are bad enough.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    I saw a documentary on this like 15 years ago.

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    Default Re: To refreeze the arctic

    Quote Originally Posted by Traab View Post
    Simple solution, Launch many many large rockets into space, with tethers welded to the earths crust. Have them drag us ever so slightly further away from the sun. Boom, earth cools down and we are saved. I accept my nobel prize money in small non-sequential bills please.
    Did you watch that ridiculous Chinese blockbuster about moving the earth out of the solar system with enormous macguffin engines? It’s actually pretty nifty if you can check your rationality at the door, and admire the communistic storytelling approach. It’s all about humanity coming together, lots of individual heroes making the impossible come to pass.

    Don’t think that this implies anything about my view of the modern communistic Chinese government-mandated philosophy, just noting how it shaped the story. And the idea is basically equivalent to the quote above, albeit executed far differently
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    Bah, petty concerns like the earths rotation are MEANINGLESS! Simply launch in such a way the rockets stay in stable rotational orbit as they pull the earth. Its so simple a caveman could figure it out! I will admit the idea of launching from the same spot at once to push the planet is a good addition, then as the planet rotates, ENGAGE THRUSTERS AND KEEP PULLING!

    Secondary solution, we use worldwide geothermal HVAC to cool the planets surface like an oversized house. Boom, that lets the earth cool itself off. There is no flaw to my logic, any attempts to prove otherwise are merely the action of ignorant haters who fail to recognize brilliance.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    Vibranium: If it was on the periodic table, its chemical symbol would be "Bs".

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